Feb 04

Setting Off on a College Tour

Jared Powell, Natalie Garcia-Perez and Anahi Garcia-Perez shared their ROP and AVID success stories with the Rim of the World Educational Foundation board at their annual meeting.

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?

   —Mary-Justine Lanyon



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