AVID: Successes in Our School

By Mia Johnson, Reporter



The AVID program celebrated 11 graduating seniors May 15 at a ceremony to honor them for their successes at Cleveland and future plans.

Of the 11 students, 10 are going to a four year university and one is taking a gap year. In addition, eight of the students attending college received some sort of scholarship, and all 11 are eligible for merit scholarships.

This time of year is especially exciting for AVID seniors and teachers, as everything is falling into place. AVID teacher Claire Millon says of the night, “It’s amazing to see students take pride in what they’ve done over the past four years and move on to college and get scholarships and watch opportunities open.”

AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, is now in its seventh year at Cleveland. According to counselor and AVID coordinator Nicholas Yoder, the program was first implemented in 2011 with about 40 students enrolled at the time, but has since grown to over 100 students in grades 9-12 and two classes of freshmen. The class is comprised of students who choose to be there on their own terms.

“A big part of AVID is that students who are in the program are students who want to be there and feel like they are excited about going to college and advancing their thinking, but may not be 100 percent sure how to do that on their own. It’s pretty amazing seeing AVID students progress through high school and watching their growth,” Millon said.

Students are able to enter the program any year of high school, but it is typically a four year program that allows kids to make goals and follow through with them over time.

Additionally, AVID teacher Eric Mirsepassi said, “At its core, I think the main intention of AVID is to prepare kids for college through providing study skills and study habits and support around testing and applications. Since it is now provided K-12 in some schools, I think it is putting college in the minds of students from a young age and providing the tools to get there.”

While the main focus of AVID is college based, the program helps students with daily issues in school such as staying organized or giving them the time to collaborate with peers and get questions answered. Millon elaborates on the way the course teaches students to think and use their available resources. “AVID is to support students with their academics as well, so helping them find critical questions they have in their courses and trouble shooting those questions with their peers. It’s not necessarily finding the answer, but finding the path to the answer and finding the lines of questioning that help us become better thinkers and better students,” she said.

For many students, AVID is a space they become comfortable in during high school and form relationships. “It is extremely helpful for students when AVID functions as a homeroom of sorts and when students can feel like they are part of a community. The relationship aspect of the program is really important, past students often explain that AVID is like a family. There’s high expectations, but there’s a lot of love as well,” Mirsepassi said.

Pocket Patino is a senior who has been apart of AVID for the past three years. He said, “AVID has helped me immensely, I was never really an organized person and going into AVID I thought it would be a lot about writing scholarships all the time. It turns out it’s a lot more about thinking about why and how we learn and the particulars of why we want to learn, it’s more philosophical than you would think.” For Patino the skills he has learned centered around organization have aided him in his plans for college and his future. He added, “I’m going to OSU next year. I think what I will take away from this class is to chase every opportunity you can get, next year I will do everything I can for all the opportunities that present themselves.”

Senior Peter Za has also been in the program for three years and said of his experience, “I wasn’t really an organized person in the beginning, so being in AVID has taught me to use my planner daily and keeps me on track of what’s going on so I can meet deadlines. I’ve also become more advanced in notetaking skills which has been really helpful in classes over the years. The third thing I would take away is working with other people because we have tutorials where we have to work with peers which has forced me to go outside of my comfort zone and get to know others better.” Za received a scholarship this year and will be going to Ted Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts in the fall.

Freshman Patrick Sweet said AVID is already very helpful and that he will likely continue throughout high school. “This is my first year in AVID and I have Ms. Millon who’s great. I had a lot of troubles in middle school with staying on task and being organized, but AVID gives me time to cool down and focus on the things that I need help with,” he said.

The AVID experience at Cleveland is one that is available to any student who chooses to seek it out and is committed to making positive impacts on individuals. Millon sums it up by saying, “It’s not really about the teachers helping students, it’s about them taking the initiative and then having that support there if they need it.”

Last year the graduation rate of students in the program was 100 percent; these students definitely deserve some recognition.