Advancement Via Individual Determination is a nationwide program that prepares college-bound high schoolers, usually those who will be first generation college students and/or are members of underserved groups — for the road ahead. AVID was first implemented at Inglemoor in 2019. Now, the 22 students who joined in ninth grade are graduating and will be walking right after the valedictorians at graduation. Ideally, students join in ninth grade and continue throughout high school, but it’s possible for students to join any year. For one class period, students are given the social, emotional and academic support to help them through their rigorous classes.
Senior Maggie Erickson (she/her) joined AVID because her mom encouraged her to. Along with gaining helpful academic skills, AVID helped Erickson understand what she wanted out of college and whether she wanted to go to a larger or smaller school. AVID also gave her the opportunity to earn the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship, which is worth $22,500 in tuition in total for her intended career path.
“I’m going to UW Bothell next year and I’m going to do biology, and then I want to become a dentist,” said Erickson.
When senior Becky Mulvihill (she/her) first joined AVID, she didn’t like to think about her post-high school plans. Over time, AVID helped her discover what she wants to do.
“I’m going to Seattle U, and I got accepted into marine and conservation biology,” said Mulvihill.
AVID has provided new avenues for student success, and some students, such as senior Alexia Perez (she/her), first heard about the program in middle school. Perez’s school counselor first introduced her to AVID during her freshman year, and even though she had limited knowledge of what it was, she decided to join.
“I was at Kenmore Middle School, and my counselor actually sent me a note to go to this meeting about AVID. She didn’t really say what it was about; it was just like a class in high school,” said Perez. “They offered pizza, too, and said we’re gonna have lunch together and speak, so I just went.”
Mulvihill said that AVID is an important class to her because it’s helped her cultivate skills like self-advocacy. Erickson agreed, and felt that she and her peers started to value the class when they realized AVID provides resources that she wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
According to Briahna Attebery (she/her), the AVID teacher for this year’s seniors, the average day in an AVID class varies. Some days, the lessons focus on building note-taking, writing and public speaking skills or researching different pathways outside of school. Other days are spent checking in on each other and reflecting.
“Ms. Attebery is really good at listening to us and what we need. If collectively we’re all really struggling with finals or something, we do a lot of homework days. Or, if we all are really interested in touring a school or something, we go and we do that. Recently, we’ve been talking about how to prepare for how difficult college is going to be,” said Mulvihill.
Along with learning valuable skill sets and helping students prepare for college, AVID also provides students with a space where they can learn collaboratively. Senior Jasmine Romero (she/her) said that this helps her with developing problem-solving skills.
“We have these tutorials where we learned how to help each other out,” said Romero. “You break down problems that you think are confusing, and then kind of navigate and figure out how to solve it.”
During AVID students’ senior year, the program provides assistance with college preparation, including FAFSA application help and field trips to colleges. Through AVID, Perez has visited Central Washington University, University of Washington Seattle, Shoreline Community College, Lake Washington Institute of Technology and Eastern Washington University.
“The field trips are really an eye opener. Usually, Ms. Attebery would tell us, ‘Go to college visits,’ but we would never go. So, I guess the field trips really helped with visiting schools and knowing that there’s people there helping you out,” said Perez.
Apart from the academic resources the trips provide, the overnight college visit to Eastern Washington University forged a lot of memories for the AVID senior class.
“We ended up sneaking into their hockey game, and we connected my laptop to the dorm lobby area’s TV, and we watched ‘Barbarian’,” said Mulvihill. “It was just really fun, and it definitely made us all closer.”
Senior Jenny Espejo Orozco (she/her) said that she would recommend joining. “You’re just not gonna regret it. You’re just gonna go through it and you’re like, ‘oh, I’m so glad I joined,” said Espejo. “And there’s no other class like AVID because it has you all four years with the same students.”
Outside of academic benefits, AVID helps students meet new people. Espejo said that most of the friends she has at Inglemoor are in the AVID program.
“We probably wouldn’t be as close or know each other if it wasn’t for AVID,” said Espejo. “Also, just being part of a community with people who are similar to me and have similar backgrounds and experience is really helpful.”