At the School Board meeting on February 15, Rim of the World Educational Foundation awarded $10,000 to ROP/CTE programs and $10,000 to AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination). These funds will be used for ROP supplies and technology as well as the Pathways program. The AVID check will be used to help fund the upcoming March 2018 college campus field trip for 17 junior students.
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We are still waiting for the final number, but we anticipate over $5,000 raised on behalf of the foundation this year. Thanks to Rim USD Superintendent, Michelle Murphy, with some of her staff, as well as other supporters, who joined with the Rim Educational Foundation boards members, to brave the cold February waters of Lake Arrowhead to raised much needed funds for student programs.
For Rim High students like Natalie Garcia-Perez and her sister, Anahi, the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) class has made the difference in the choices they make as they graduate from high school.
“I would not be where I am without AVID.” That is what Natalie, a Rim High graduate and current junior at UC Berkeley, told the Rim of the World Educational Foundation board at their annual meeting last August.
AVID teaches the students how to take better notes, how to study and introduces many to the idea of attending a four-year college.
Natalie’s parents, she told the Foundation board, did not have the educational opportunities she is enjoying. “My Dad went to the first year of middle school. My Mom didn’t finish elementary school. They came here from Mexico with little grasp of the language.”
She added that, while her parents were as helpful as they could be, “when it came to college I was lost.”
In middle school Natalie’s aspirations were to be a stay-at-home mom. She is now majoring in molecular and cellular biology with the intention of going to medical school. Without her AVID college field trip, she said she would not even have applied to Berkeley.
“Now I have so many dreams,” she said.
Natalie was joined at the Foundation meeting by her sister Anahi, a senior at Rim. She started in the AVID program when in 8th grade. “It has changed my life,” Anahi said. “I was clueless about college and what it would do for me.”
Last year Anahi went on the college field trip, which opened her eyes to new campuses. “It gives us the opportunity to experience these schools,” she said. “It made me realize the opportunities out there.”
In March, 20 AVID juniors will be going on that same college field trip. They will be visiting CSU Channel Islands, UCSB, Cal Poly SLO, UCSC, Cal State Monterey, San Francisco State, San Jose State, CSU East Bay, UCD, Sacramento State, CSU Stanislaus and UCM.
This is an opportunity many of these students would not have without the AVID program. In the past, students have returned from the trip excited about new campuses they have discovered. One student, who had been set on attending one school, discovered she did not care for that campus at all. Instead she turned her attention to a school she had not even considered.
We can all look forward to hearing from these students when they return from their tours. What were their expectations? And what were the realities?
To look at Maria Manon – mother, student, teacher, board member of the Rim of the World Educational Foundation – is to look at a woman who exudes confidence and success.
But, as she told freshmen in the Scots Encounter class at Rim of the World High School, she – like just about everyone – has faced challenges and adversity. “Today,” she explained, “we are going to take a look at how we view adversity.”
Manon asked the students to write one or two sentences about a challenge they have faced and then one or two sentences about how they feel about that challenge.
A lot of people, Manon said, think of adversity as a mountain, as something they have to climb over. “I prefer to think of adversity as a river,” she said. “Something we go through, travel through, and can look back from.”
She showed the students a portion of a Ted Talk by Paralympian Aimee Mullins, whose advice included to embrace adversity, grapple with it, even dance with it. Quoting Darwin, Mullins noted the one most adaptable to change is the survivor.
Adversity, Manon told the students, is change we haven’t adapted ourselves to yet. “You have the power to reimagine a new beginning,” she said.
Manon shared a bit of her story, telling the students she had been born in the Dominican Republic. She went on to become an immigration attorney and then turned to her real passion: teaching. While teaching in Washington, D.C., Manon was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She told the students she has had two surgeries and radiation, all of which affected her vision.
“This difficult experience,” Manon said, “taught me more than anything else about myself and other people.” She was touched by the generosity of other people.
“I’ve developed empathy for other people,” Manon said, “and developed clarity about the things that matter.”
She added that she used to think of adversity as a setback. “Now I ask how I can learn from it, grow from it.”
She cautioned the students that she is not saying anyone should create adversity. “It just happens in life,” Manon said. “I’m not here to tell you how to think. I’m here to give you a different perspective.”
When asked about her prognosis, Manon said she is stable. This experience, she concluded, has made her think about who she spends her time with and what she spends her time doing.
“I used to be a worrier,” she said. “I’m less so now.”
Thanks to the support of our generous donors the Rim of the World Educational Foundation raised a total of $25,311.96 during this year’s Give BIG campaign. This amount included online and offline contributions, matching donors and prize dollars. The Foundation received BIG congratulations from Supervisor Janice Rutherford for having collected the most donations in her 2nd District. That honor garnered the Foundation a bonus of $1,000.
In addition, the Foundation was awarded two countywide prizes: $700 for coming in fourth in total donations and $1,500 for coming in fifth for the number of unique donors.
The Foundation’s board members are grateful to each and every donor. Their support helped us increase our donations from $11,275 in 2016 and exceed our 2017 goal of $15,000. And more of you made contributions: 280 as compared to 197 last year.
These donations will help the Foundation continue its support of three programs in the Rim of the World Unified School District: individual grants to each of the five schools, the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program and the ROP (Regional Occupation Program) classes.