AVID Seniors Rank Above National Average

Smithfield-Selma High AVID seniors in the Class of 2019 pose together for a photo at their graduation. Photographed on the front row (from left) are Makayla Towns, Karla Silva, Tionna Burt, Hayley Powell, Jesenia Saucedo-Contreras, Melissa Paniagua, Astrid Baide-Perdomo, Yesenia Lopez-Monterosa, Vanesa Sanchez-Torres, Amy Marquez-Padilla, Dulce Rodriguez-Vega, and Alexia Bojorquez-Armenta. Photographed on the second row (from left) are Daphne Ortiz-Botello, Areli Garcia-Melchor, Celeste Bonilla, Esmerelda Martinez-Trejo, Adriana Veloz, Kenia Perez-Melchor, and Shalaya Singletary. Photographed on the back row (from left) are Promise McNeil and Edgar Blanco.

Seniors in the AVID program at Smithfield-Selma High outperformed their peers across North Carolina and the nation.

Newly released college-readiness data shows the success of the 2019 graduating class of students participating in the district’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program.

AVID is a nationally-recognized program that helps students navigate the college application process, and build the academic and social skills needed to succeed in college and the workforce of the future.

“We are very proud of our AVID Class of 2019 and their accomplishments, as well as the Smithfield-Selma High AVID classes who came before them, and those AVID students who continue to work hard at our school daily.” said AVID Coordinator Kaye Menjivar. “This class is representative of a body of students who have chosen to make sacrifices, to travel the path of greater difficulty, to sometimes do things that initially do not always make sense to them, all in the name of fulfilling their goals to attend college.”

According to the AVID Center, last year 96 percent of Smithfield-Selma High seniors participating in AVID completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application, compared to the national rate of 61 percent. Likewise, 100 percent of AVID students applied to a four-year college, and 96 percent were accepted. Nationally, 81 percent of high school students aspire to earn a bachelor’s degree, yet less than 50 percent actually enroll at a four-year university.

“We are extremely proud of our students’ accomplishments. These statistics represent powerful opportunities for students to succeed in post-secondary education and life,” said Smithfield-Selma High Principal David Allen. “I am equally proud of our teachers, counselors, tutors, district staff, and many others who support AVID. We do not do this alone, but together we are making a lifelong impact. We are very proud of this distinction, and it will propel us to the next level where even more students learn and can do anything they set their minds to do.”

According to Menjivar, the Smithfield-Selma High AVID program is like a family. The program offers a support system that allows students to feel confident in taking risks that will help them develop critical skills in the areas of Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading (WICOR).

Smithfield-Selma High AVID seniors in the Class of 2019 pose together for a photo at a senior night event. Photographed on the front row (from left) are Karla Silva, Diana Martinez, Alexia Bojorquez-Armenta, and Jesenia Saucedo-Contreras. Photographed on the second row (from left) are Melissa Paniagua, Tionna Burt, Areli Garcia-Melchor, Esmerelda Martinez-Trejo, Edgar Blanco, Astrid Baide-Perdomo, and Haley Powell. Photographed on the third row (from left) are Adriana Veloz, Daphne Ortiz-Botello, Celeste Bonilla, and Makayla Towns. Photographed on the back row is Aniya Atkinson.

“These students are a pretty inspiring bunch,” said Menjivar. “There are also many faculty members, counselors, administrators, and support staff who have a hand in helping these young people walk across the graduation stage with a greater sense of purpose and confidence, and I celebrate those professionals as well. It is a blessing to work with them. AVID works. We have seen it work for students at Smithfield-Selma High for over a decade. It is my hope that this data will lead others to see for themselves the power of this program to transform teaching and learning in their own schools.”

Research shows that applying for financial aid is one of the best predictors of whether a student will enroll in college. Through the AVID program, the district hosts regular FAFSA application nights and provides dedicated in-school time for students to work with teachers and staff to complete their applications, providing them with better insight into the financial resources available to them.

“We congratulate Johnston County Public Schools for its demonstrated commitment to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to pursue a postsecondary education. The milestones announced today reflect the district’s holistic approach to college readiness — starting with building a culture of high expectations among teachers and students, and including the delivery of rigorous, student-centric instruction that prepares them for college-level work,” said Dr. Sandy Husk, former school superintendent and CEO of AVID. “We are proud to be part of Johnston County Public Schools work to ensure all students can reach their full potential.”

JCPS joins over 7,000 K-12 schools and districts across 47 states that partner with AVID to build a safe and open culture, high expectations for teachers and students, and collaboration in all classrooms. To learn more visit www.avid.org.