lee ese artículo en español aquí
All my life, I have been seen as dumb. Since kindergarten, I felt like my peers were always ahead of me. They all somehow had connections throughout the school, like they got a head start in life. My parents didn’t go to college. My mom didn’t even finish high school. Although my parents were lucky enough to get my brother and me into good schools, we were still behind. I often missed out on bonding events with classmates because my parents didn’t know English and couldn’t connect with the other parents.
I began AVID my second year of high school. In freshman year, everyone in my old friend group made fun of my closest friend for being in AVID. They called her stupid and slow for needing an extra course to help her with classes. She put up with the bullying and didn’t bother to correct them, because to us, they were the smarter ones. We were women of color arguing with white boys with big egos. They felt that their privilege made them better than us. I don’t think they even acknowledged how fortunate they were to have parents who knew how to preset and organize their lives. It took me a while to realize that they weren’t born with hardwired racism and hatred: it was taught by their parents, who also had their lives set.
I previously thought that AVID was just a class to help students who were falling behind, but now I feel so much more confident in all of my classes. I have a class that helps me be organized through binder checks, group presentations on homework problems we don’t understand, and work with others with similar questions.
What I love most about AVID is the people. Before AVID, I was ashamed of my culture and background because I went to predominantly white elementary and middle schools. My old friends teased me for not being white, which made them think that I was inferior to them. I suppressed my cultural heritage which made it hard for me to truly be happy because I didn’t accept myself. Although AVID is not just for people of color, there are a lot of Hispanic students in the class because many of us have parents that did not go to college. When I joined AVID, I saw people like me that shared a lot of the same interests in food and music, so I didn’t have to hide that part of me around them. The students are so accepting of each other. It’s more like a family than a class.
During a big, three-day AVID field trip, all classes—freshman through senior—went to a hotel pool, played Spanish music, and splashed around in the pool as it rained. It was an amazing bonding experience because I found myself talking to people from different grades in Spanish and laughing with new people. It was such a therapeutic experience being able to be myself: the same comfort I feel with my family.
Another great thing that AVID has to offer are connections. Before AVID, I would have never imagined myself touring colleges. Now, I have an idea of the colleges I want to go to like UC Davis, Fresno State, UC Santa Barbara, UC Merced, and Cal Poly. My former AVID teacher, Mr. Gerth, connected me to Mr. Giambruno to borrow a camera for an English project, and now I hope to one day go into broadcasting. Mr. Gerth encouraged me to take journalism and AS English III—things I would not have done if I doubted myself.
A lot of AVID students complain that it’s too much work, but it just gives us a peek into what college is actually going to look like. The reality of AVID is that it helps students who worry about their future get a sense of stability. It makes sure they’re on the right track,are signed up for the right classes, and maintain a strong GPA.
AVID truly changed my life for the better. I love all the different people I’ve met, and I’m so incredibly grateful for all the experiences and opportunities I wouldn’t have had without it.