by ANNA MINASYAN
To acknowledge the achievements of seniors in Advancement Via Individual Determination (A.V.I.D.), the eighth annual Senior Awards assembly was held yesterday in Byers Gymnasium.
Carlos Avila, A.V.I.D. coordinator, served as master of ceremonies, presenting the seniors with stoles, medals of commitment and pins. Teresa Grijalva, president of A.V.I.D., welcomed the attendees. Josue Gutierrez Balderas, senior, delivered a speech, along with Grijalva and A.V.I.D. teacher, Jenafer Hansen.
“The assembly is meant to inspire underclassmen. I want all of them to imagine themselves on the stage with their names being read,” said Avila. “Our goal is to create a sense of family that supports and motivates each other to succeed, so it is important for the younger brothers and sisters to see the older brothers and sisters reach their goals.”
One hundred and one seniors were presented at the ceremony, 87 percent of whom were admitted to a four-year college, a record number. The colleges represented include Cal State L.A., UC Santa Cruz, Whittier College, Grand Canyon University, UC Davis, Mt. St. Mary’s and Cal Poly Pomona.
To receive a stole, seniors must have completed the A.V.I.D. contract, A-G requirements, community service, exit presentation and interview, maintained a “C” average in the senior elective and applied to a college. A medal of commitment requires that a senior be in the program for four or more years, including middle school participation.
“It is surreal that high school is coming to an end, and it is exciting to see where all your friends are going and which path they are taking,” said Darlena Robinson, recipient of the Scholar Athlete of the Year Award, along with Natalie Perez. “Throughout our high school career, we give our all to get into good schools and having someone acknowledge that is very rewarding.”
Ten scholarships worth a total of $5,000 were awarded from the A.V.I.D. program, and a total of almost $1 million in financial aid was given to the seniors from both their respective colleges and other scholarships. The recipients of the two $500 A.V.I.D. scholarships were Anthony Richarte and Jaimie Figueroa. Sixteen seniors also received scholarships of $300 each.
“Being recognized for all of our hard work throughout the past four years is really important because it gives us more motivation to do well in our four-year schools,” said senior Gabriela Garcia.
All 400 of the program’s students attended the assembly, along with the Macy Intermediate and Eastmont Intermediate eighth graders.