“I would not be where I am without AVID.” That is what Natalie Garcia-Perez, a Rim High graduate and current junior at UC Berkeley told the Rim of the World Educational Foundation board at their annual meeting on Aug. 13.
AVID – Advancement Via Individual Determination – 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.”
Like her sister, Anahi plans to go into the sciences but is not sure exactly what her focus will be.
FROM ROP STUDENT TO TEACHER
Representing the Regional Occupational Program (ROP) at the Foundation Board meeting was Jared Powell, a Rim High graduate who particularly enjoyed the TV and Video Production ROP class when he was a student on the mountain.
Since he was always interested in art, he majored in Fine Arts and Illustration at Cal State Fullerton. He used that education as a graphic designer for a trade show company and also did some 3D modeling.
Jared kept in touch with his Rim teachers, turning to them for guidance and mentoring. He got a call last year from his former teacher Mr. Urbz, telling him he was moving to Arizona and urging Jared to apply for the TV and Video Production teaching job.
Not only is he teaching that class, Jared is also teaching the 3D Animation course – putting his education and industry experience to good use.
“I’m glad I got that job experience,” he said. “I can teach the students how to conduct an interview, write a. Resume, how to conduct themselves in a real job – things not covered in the standard curriculum in school.”
In addition, Jared said, because he is close to the students in age, “I can keep those teenage feelings fresh to motivate the students. I use my first-hand information now as a teacher.”
The Rim of the World Educational Foundation, whose mission is to “engage parents, business and community partners in the support of Rim of the World public schools and the academic achievements of all its students,” supports both the ROP classes and the AVID program, donating $35,000 to the two programs in the 2016-2017 school year. The Foundation also donated more than $26,000 in Partnership with Schools grants to the six schools in the district.