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Posted April 2, 2013

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Manzano AVID Students Visit Texas Tech Campus

Students get financial support from Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson.

Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson and Manzano AVID students

As Abby Ponce prepared to join her classmates on a bus to Texas Tech University, she admitted to not being a very good student when she started high school. Now the Manzano junior is earning As and checking out college nursing programs.

She credits AVID for her turnaround, as did several other MHS students who were heading to Lubbock for their first out-of-state college visit.

“I used to be a D student and I wasn’t thinking about college,” Ponce said. “Now I know I have opportunities that I didn’t know about before.”

About 30 juniors and a handful of seniors took the trip to Texas Tech last week where they toured the campus and learned about admissions, course offerings and programs, housing, financial aid, extracurricular activities, athletics and more. They also sat through a presentation specifically for first-generation college attendees.

It was the first out-of-state college tour for an APS AVID program, and it was made possible in large part by Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson, who provided $5,000 in county discretionary funds to help pay for the bus and the students’ overnight stay. Students also had to participate in fundraising activities and maintain a 2.4 grade point average to take the trip.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this,” Commissioner Johnson told the students just before they boarded the bus on Wednesday, March 27. “I believe it’s important to support education and work toward closing the achievement gap.”

AVID is a program that endeavors to do just that. AVID – Advancement via Individual Determination – is an elective class for students who are capable of completing a college-prep path but need extra support. The classes offered at two dozen APS middle and high schools helps students prepare for college and pushes them to take  more rigorous classes in high school.

Like Abby Ponce, several Manzano students heading to Lubbock credited their AVID class for helping them do better in school and plan for post-secondary education.

“At first, college was something I thought about but it seemed like such a big step. I struggled in school, my parents didn’t go to college, my brothers struggled in school,” said junior Carlos Perez. “AVID helped get me back on track and gave me all the support I needed.”

Junior Todd Countee, a Monarchs football player, said he appreciates the tutoring offered by the AVID program. “Whenever you have difficult questions, you can bring them in and they’ll help you solve them.”

Junior Katie Gallegos enjoys the camaraderie of the class that students can take each year in high school. “You grow with them and they become a support group. It’s like a family on campus.”

Manzano AVID teachers Camille Gonzales and Christine Glover, a proud Texas Tech Red Raider, organized the trip to Lubbock. Students through the years also have visited other college campuses including UNM, CNM, New Mexico Tech and NMSU. The AVID course description, the teachers explained, includes “college-bound activities, methodologies, and tasks that should be undertaken to support students as they apply to four-year universities and confirm their post-secondary plans."

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