Senior Data and Celebrations
AVID Seniors Are Making Things Happen
AVID Class of 2021 Update
This year's AVID Senior class is made up of 39 exceptional students! These dedicated scholars have committed to AVID for an average of 5 years, 95% of whom have taken at least 1 AP or DE course. This class boasts 1 School Board Rep, numerous club presidents, student-athletes, honor rolls students, and our program's first AP Capstone Scholar. To date, our students have been accepted to 98% of the schools they have heard back from and have been offered over $900,000 in scholarship with more offers anticipated throughout the spring. We are incredibly proud of them! Stay tuned for a Spring 2021 update for college commitments and scholarship updates.
Senior Celebration, Breakfast for Dinner Event
Our AVID Seniors are going places! Over the past years, we have had a majority of students accepted to a variety of in-state and out-of-state, two and four-year colleges and universities. We are proud to say AVID Seniors are required to apply to four or more colleges and must apply monthly to scholarships as part of their participation in AVID. AVID over time prepares them through early exploration of college applications, financial aid requirements, and personal essay development. On average, 80% of our AVID seniors have taken part in the AVID elective for three or more years. Over the past several years have had student collect scholarships ranging from $500 to $40,000 with more than ten receiving full scholarships to institutions. With an ivy league engineering student at Cornell, a pre-med student at Georgetown, and many NOVA Pathway to Baccalaureate scholars starting their journey locally, we are excited to have a 78% persistence rate in year two of higher education.
Celebrating Our AVID Class of 2020
AVID Class of 2020 seniors has accomplished amazing things this year. As the seventh graduating cohort, this group of thirty-four (34) students had an average GPA of 3.1 and amassed more than $3.3 mil in scholarships alone. These seniors have a collective total of 140 college acceptances at more than eighty-five colleges and universities. To date, no less than five students have received full tuition/ room and board to a higher education institution, equivalent to a “full ride.” Approximately 80% of these seniors have been enrolled in AVID since their freshman year and have embodied the “AVID way.” Additionally, this cohort earned on average of 10 dual enrollment college credits. Sixty-eight percent of these students took both the ACT and SAT and 94% completed four-year college entrance requirements and the FAFSA (if eligible). Twenty of the thirty-four nabbed the local Scholarship Fund of Alexandria award.
Students will be attending a variety of universities in the fall such as George Mason, Georgetown, Hampton, James Madison, Marymount, Northern Virginia Community College, Old Dominion, Randolph, Virginia Commonwealth, Univ. of Virginia, and Virginia State to name a few. Sixty-five percent plan to attend a four-year college or university and 29% plan to attend a 2-year college. With 94% enrollment in college and one choosing to take a gap year, our goal has been met, which was to ensure all students have a plan that includes post-high school advanced learning and educational training. For more information regarding AVID Seniors nationally, please see AVID.org
Check out this feature that celebrates our very own AVID 12 and ACPS School Board Student Representative, Wilmer Carranza, who was named as a 2020 Posse Scholarship winner.
Partnerships are Valuable: Annual engagement with local community partners such groups such as Beta Nu Boule Young Scholars Program, a local two-year non-profit mentoring program for young men starting during the Junior year is one example. Upon completion, over the past three years, ACPS AVID Seniors have been awarded more than $50,000 towards college with renewal options.
ACPS Celebrates Two Posse Scholars
Maria Stakem and Leonora Rodriguez
When Titan senior Maria Stakem opened her laptop one day last year to begin the lengthy application process for the prestigious Posse scholarship, she quickly got disheartened and walked away.
"I just didn't think I stood a chance when I read about the type of person they were looking for. I just didn't think I would stand out," she said. "I gave up and forgot about it."
Two weeks later a phone call from Oceanography teacher Trisha Christopher put her back on track and with Christopher's encouragement, Maria began a process that ended last month with a life-changing call to say, "Congratulations, you made it."
Now, the 17-year-old, along with fellow Titan Leonora Rodriguez, can look forward to a $250,000 scholarship to attend college later this year. The pair celebrated with a virtual ceremony last week.
The Posse Scholarship is a highly sought after award which seeks out students with leadership skills from across the nation. The seniors who are selected go on to form tight-knit cohorts at select colleges, the idea being that they form a support system that lasts throughout their education and beyond.
Maria, who is one of eight siblings, will be attending the University of Wisconsin in Madison where she will major in social work, following in the footsteps of her older sister. Leonora, who grew up in Puerto Rico and was 15 years old and a sophomore when she enrolled at T.C., will be attending Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. She plans to major in biomedical sciences with an eye on a career in aerospace engineering.
"It's truly a bit difficult to describe the feeling of joy and relief I had when they told me I had been accepted," explained Leonora.
Maria added, "I didn't see myself as having leadership promise and it wasn't until I learned that leadership comes in many forms, that's when I started to really take my chances seriously. As I passed through each selection stage I grew more confident," Maria said.
"What really appealed to me was the fact that when you went away to college you would already have a group of people that you knew, so you wouldn't feel alone. I was worried about being so far away and making friends."
But still, when the news came over a Zoom call later one December night, she was left speechless.
"They asked me one final question and that was why I wanted to pursue social work."
"I can't really remember how I answered, I thought I rambled but at the end, they told me I had been successful."
"I cried, my mom cried, my younger sister thought I was upset and I had to explain they were happy tears."
For both students, having all college expenses paid is a huge relief. Maria had been working a weekend job to try and save up.
Leonora said that as a child she watched her mother cry over bills and that having money was always regarded as a privilege in her home.
"Having everything paid for college is indescribable. It's a great relief to my parents to have had this all paid off," she added.
Both thanked T.C. College & Career Center School Counselor Stacy Morris and the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria for the guidance they received during the process.
T.C. principal Peter Balas paid tribute to his students.
"I am so proud of Leonora and Maria for earning this life-changing recognition. They both have put in years of hard work and dedication to all areas of student life. I know they will take full advantage of this opportunity and go on to do great things."