By Dedrick Dunton, Rising Senior at Pasquotank County High School
Dedrick was a student speaker at this year’s Summer Institute in Orlando. Below is his speech.
Who would have ever thought that a child by the name of Dedrick Javonté Jermaine Dunton from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, would be standing strong twelve years after having been hit by a passing automobile at an early age and whose parents were told by doctors that he did not have long to live? Who would have ever thought that an average student who once did not believe in himself would ever make the A Honor Roll? Who would have ever thought that a student who once did not consider the fact that making good grades mattered, would ever be competing to rank number one in the class he proudly represents, the class of 2013? I know for a fact that it was not by chance nor by luck that I arrived to where I am today, but it was with the loving support, constant outreach, and compassionate assistance of AVID!
Before I was introduced to AVID, I was academically stressed; frankly, I was in a mess. I dare not say that I was a complete failure, I simply wasn’t the best. Between math and social studies, I don’t know which one I struggled with the most. I wasn’t number-oriented and I certainly wasn’t capable of recalling facts from previous centuries. The worst time of the school day for me, the period I was scheduled to report to math class. “Uhhhh! Another day of this mess,” was my daily mindset and perceived mentality. I dreaded going to math class, I had an unfortunate case of math anxiety. No matter how late into the midnight hour I stayed up studying formulas at the dinner table, I always performed below average on “Formula Quiz Wednesday.” Math was indeed a weakness of mine. My poor studying skills, mundane excuses, and repeated cycles of playing the “blame game” turned my Cs in math to Ds, and downhill from there!
I was placed in AVID while I was in the eighth grade, when my teacher noticed that I had potential to make decent grades and potential to be a future business leader. She knew that I possessed the key to unlock the door of endless possibilities; I just needed to find it. She emphatically introduced me and my parents to AVID, and since that day, my life has not been the same; I am a true AVID student!
AVID has established a foundation for my life that I can continuously build upon, and that foundation is steadfast and deeply rooted! AVID has made a major impact in my life and I am honored to share my story with the world!
When I noticed that my typical sloppy format of taking notes was not helping me pass my pop quizzes and weekly tests, my AVID teacher, Mrs. Michelle Ingram, introduced me to a new way of taking notes, “Cornell” style. Taking Cornell notes has helped me study more effectively. When my AVID teacher realized that carrying around multiple binders with hundreds of papers being tossed here and there was just another burden on me, she introduced me to the AVID format of the three-inch three-ring binder. Proudly maintaining my binder has helped me stay more organized in all of my classes, and it has even helped me improve my organizational skills at home. Staying on top of my AVID Grade/Grade Point Average Tracking Sheet helped me pull up my Cs to high Bs and A's and it has even enabled me to be inducted into the National Honor Society during my sophomore year. In class, AVID tutorial sessions with my AVID teacher, tutors and peers helped me enhance my higher order thinking skills. The weekly tutorial sessions taught me a valuable lesson that I continuously use today - to independently think for myself. When I was faced with life’s circumstances and it appeared as though they were getting the best of me, my AVID teacher Ms. Jennifer Wiggins and my fellow AVID peers of my freshman year were like a safe haven for me; they were a shoulder to lean on in the time of need. AVID taught me that I did not have to face any situation alone; I always have true friends that I can count on. AVID taught me how to strive for excellence in scholarship, leadership, service, and character, and to rely on my inner determination and perseverance skills to create opportunities; with this in mind I was able to successfully complete my very first merit-based research apprenticeship during the summer of 2011 at North Carolina A&T State University, in Greensboro, North Carolina.
With the support of my 8th grade AVID Pre-Algebra Teacher, Mrs. Michelle Ingram, I learned that math can be mesmerizing when a positive, fun, and engaging math environment is promoted. With the loving support of an amazing Honors U.S. History teacher, Mrs. Jennifer Lee, I now have a deeper appreciation for history. I learned that history is what you make it; it doesn’t have to be dull or boring. I have the power of Christopher Columbus - I can discover a new world.
AVID took me out of my comfort zone of taking what I thought of as the “easy” classes (regular/standard classes) and has helped me become an extraordinary Honor/Advanced Placement student with a grade point average that will knock you off your feet! AVID has been a reliable support system for me and my life and I am forever appreciative. I am looking forward to next school year, my senior year (class of 2013) when I will finally walk across the stage as an honor graduate of Pasquotank County High School, with many titles under my belt, on my way to my dream college, North Carolina State University, to go on to accept the next challenge and earn a degree! Go AVID! Look at what you have made out of me!