Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

AVID Students Celebrate College Acceptance

Mar. 20, 2020 -- Senior Alexis Payne got into her top three college choices; She’s going to Eastern Michigan, third on her list, because they gave her a full ride. Jadrian Gantt got into his top choice, University of North Carolina. Yassine Bounit got into his top three choices, and Jaylen Benson has been accepted at more than 15 universities.

Ronelle Drakeford is choosing between Georgia State and Fisk University, who gave her a full ride. Christian Dillard is choosing between Morehouse, UNC, and the University of Connecticut, where he was awarded $96,000 over four years. Corrin Flowers, a member of National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, and Leading Ladies, will head to the University of Findley in the fall. And Herschel Hill is waiting for final word from Harvard, who flew someone to Cleveland for his admissions interview.

What do all these young people have in common, besides bright futures? They’re all AVID students.

Advancement Via Individual Determination is a national program offered as an elective course at Monticello, Roxboro Middle, and Heights High. With a focus on college readiness, AVID classes provide strategies and skills around organization, time management, studying, and how to advocate and communicate effectively with adults. As student Jaylen Benson says, “AVID didn’t just teach me how to be a better student, it taught me how to be a better person.”

While students feel prepared for their future, they are also deeply saddened to leave their beloved teachers. Four classes of AVID seniors are all taught by Claudene McCoy, who’s been with students throughout their entire high school careers. “I don’t think I’m gonna leave her,” said senior Ronelle Drakeford, “She said I can text or call her whenever I want.”

Jadrian Gantt doesn’t think he’ll necessarily call his teacher but still said, “I’m not really leaving her because I’ll carry everything she taught me with me when I go to college.” 

The students describe AVID like a family where successes are celebrated by all, and support is provided to all. Senior Alexis Payne said she’s always been a strong student but “AVID pushed me to take harder courses, more AP and Honors classes. Now I see the benefit of that because I’ve placed out of a lot of courses in college.”

The intense and individualized help students have received while researching, visiting, and applying to colleges has proven invaluable. They all commented on how far ahead of the game they felt compared to their non-AVID peers, noting that they were done with their essays when their friends were just starting.

The networking and connections available to them made a huge difference as well. “I would’ve lost out on lots of opportunities like scholarships,” said Yassine Bounit. 

When asked if they would recommend AVID courses to students just starting high school, they unanimously and enthusiastically said they would. “Take it,” said Ronelle. “It’ll change your whole high school career.”
To view more photos related to this article, click here.

AVID Students

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