AVID program prepares minority kids for college
WHAT: Yuba City High School AVID student field-trip fundraiser — Share the Love dinner and dance.
WHEN: 6 p.m-11 p.m. Friday.
WHERE: The Five Rivers Tandoori restaurant, 885 Richland Road, Yuba City.
TICKETS: $15 singles, $25 couples. RSVP preferred. Call 415-1606 or 923-6119.
As the oldest of four children raised by a single mother, Reyes Segura might have had a difficult time believing he could attend college.
But while in middle school, the Yuba City High School student discovered a program called Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID.
Now approaching the end of his junior year, Segura, 17, has a higher-than-average academic load, good grades and plans to pursue a university degree and a career in art photography.
The AVID program, he said, "gives us high expectations for where we want to go in life."
The program, which started in 1980, targets average students — particularly minorities — who have a strong desire to work hard academically but have no history of college attendance in their families.
Special AVID classes prepare students for college and help them apply for tuition funding. The program began at Clairemont High School in San Diego, but now operates in elementary, middle and high schools in 46 states, the District of Columbia and 16 other countries and US territories.
During the past several years, Segura and his AVID classmates have taken tours of several college campuses, including UC Davis, UC Berkeley and Chico State.
This year, state funding cuts left Yuba City High's 200 AVID students without enough money to visit a college campus.
Lupe Moreno, 44, Segura's mother, hopes a fundraising dinner and dance she has organized will remedy the situation.
"Parents don't have time or money to take these trips," she said. "And when you visit a campus, it gives you a much better idea of what college really is."
"Everybody raises funds for football players and other athletes," said Angel Diaz, past president of the North Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a supporter of the AVID program. "They don't do that enough for academics."
Segura starts his classes at 7 a.m. each morning — one class period before school officially starts for most students.
He took an extra science class last year by attending school early; and at the end of this school year, he will have an extra US history course under his belt.
In AVID classes, students are drilled in note-taking and test-taking skills.
But the hard work he is putting in at school, Segura said, is nothing compared with the uphill battle of some of his classmates.
"Some people's parents only speak Spanish or Punjabi," he said. The language barrier means that those students receive very little, if any, academic support or guidance from their parents.
"We've known each other since eighth or ninth grade," he said of the AVID group. "We help one another with our academic problems."
He credits the AVID programs with helping him stay focused on what he wants to do after school.
"It helps with real-world stuff we need to get us to achieve our goals," he said.
CONTACT Nancy Pasternack at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4781. Find her on Facebook at /ADnpasternack or on Twitter at @ADnpasternack.