The 2015 BE BOLD 5K Race & Fun Run/Walk is set to benefit the Tempe High AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program.
AVID benefits students who are not traditionally represented on university campuses to achieve their college dreams. Students who are in this program are normally minority, of lower socioeconomic background, whom will be a first generation college student. Our BOLD task is assisting these students in overcoming their hurdles and attaining their college dream! To learn more about how AVID works click here.
We will also periodically highlight student success stories from the AVID program, as examples of who your support and participation directly benefits.
AVID SPOTLIGHT STUDENT: Ximena Carrera
My name is Ximena Carrera and I am a 2014 AVID graduate of Tempe High School. I am now full-time student at Benedictine University majoring in Communications and Art. I spent the first seven years of my life in Mexico, living with my grandmother as well as my mother and her siblings. I have always known since I was very young that I want to be a success story. Now, I am grateful to live in Arizona and to be attending a private, four-year university thanks to the help of the AVID program at Tempe High School.
During my childhood, my family and I frequently traveled. As a result, I didn’t really have a solid academic foundation nor did I have many conversations about college. When it was time to choose a high school, I chose to attend Tempe High School because of its AVID program. AVID was unique to Tempe High School and I was thoroughly impressed with the presentations given about the program at my middle school. Because of my immigration status, the AVID Director/Coordinator, Brandon Thompson, made me a promise that he would try his best to help me be accepted into a four-year university with financial support. I had to promise him that in exchange for his help and the AVID program’s help that I would work harder than I ever had and that I would take more difficult classes than I had ever taken. Most importantly, though, I had to promise never to give up.
Throughout my four years at THS, I took Honors and IB (International Baccalaureate) courses. Although I had not taken classes that rigorous before, I worked hard and earned college credit by doing well on the exams. Not only did I take rigorous courses, but I was also heavily involved in different clubs and sports on-campus. I did not get involved to be in the “in crowd.” I got involved because I knew it would make me a better-rounded student and open many doors for me. What I discovered was that I loved every minute of volunteering, working with others, and learning about leadership. My extracurricular activities buoyed my desire to succeed and stay focused.
AVID helps students attain admission into a four-year university, but it also creates a family within the class itself as well as with all the AVID mentors and teachers. If it were not for AVID, I would not have been able to accomplish and overcome obstacles in my life. AVID motivates students to stay involved, to take and succeed in rigorous courses, and to stay out of trouble. It provides an environment in-school where strangers become practically family and your biggest motivators. It is amazing program filled with students and teachers who make and keep their promises all working for a brighter future. I know that I am a success story. I hope you will BE BOLD and help make the future brighter for other students like me. Thank you.
AVID SPOTLIGHT STUDENT: Bahran Abraham
My name is Bahran Abraham. I am currently finishing my sophomore year at Arizona State University. I am studying Mechanical Engineering at the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering. My plan is to design and build efficient engines for vehicles and aircrafts. A little bit about my background, I am originally from Ethiopia. My family and I moved to the U.S. when I was in 8th grade, which was a major cultural shift. However, it also had advantages. The school system in Ethiopia was far more rigorous than the schools here in the U.S., and as a result, I excelled in math.
Throughout high school, I was involved in various clubs and summer programs. After my sophomore year in high school, I was selected to attend the Joaquin Bustoz Math-Sciences Honors Program. This program gave me my first taste of college life and put me ahead of my peers because I was able to earn college math credits. It was not until junior year at Tempe High School that I heard about AVID. At first, I was not sure I needed it since I was doing well in school. However, my American Studies teachers, Mr. Thompson and Ms. Antonson-Milanovich, as well as one of my peers convinced me it was a good idea.
I am really glad I did get accepted to AVID. I had a lot on my plate senior year. I was elected president of the Robotics Club and was taking honors/IB classes, which left me no time to apply for colleges and scholarships. This is where AVID helped me the most. In the AVID class, I was a required to apply for colleges and scholarships as a part of my grade. AVID forced me to make time for it. Because of AVID I received four scholarships, which covered all my college expenses and allowed me to focus on my education. Furthermore, at the end of my senior year, I attended two summer programs: a Biotechnology Research course at South Mountain Community college and Calculus II at University of Arizona. I believe these summer programs prepared me of what to expect in college and made the transition from high school to college bearable.
All in all I am always very thankful for individuals, peers and mentors that pushed to achieve my goals. Because of my gratitude, I have been volunteering as a tutor in the AVID classes. It has given me the opportunity to give back to the program that gave so much to me. I am glad to be a role model for them and to be able to help them see how important the program is for them.
AVID SPOTLIGHT STUDENT: Crystal Cordova
My name is Crystal Cordova. I am finishing up my sophomore year at Arizona State University. Currently, I am studying to complete concurrent degrees through the College of Health Solutions and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. My major(s) are Health Sciences with a concentration in Health Policy and Trans-Border Studies with a concentration in the Trans-Border Community Development and Health. I plan to work with underserved communities, specifically the Latino community in Phoenix, to eliminate biases and disparities faced by the community which prevent us from being as healthy as possible. I hope to educate the community about the resources that are available, to help make healthcare more accessible to all communities, and to develop an outreach and assistance program that benefits all.
I am a first-generation Latina and the daughter of two Mexican migrants. I grew up in South Phoenix and my family never really had a stable financial income. When I was eleven, my mother was diagnosed with advanced-stage melanoma. From that point on, I became my mother’s personal caregiver. Because of my mother’s illness – the costs associated with her care and the fact that she could no longer work – my family lost two homes and struggled to eat. At one point, my dad worked three jobs. My brother and I started working by the age of fifteen to help out at home. I found an escape and some solace by immersing myself in my schooling and books as much as I could. Even though all odds were against my brother and me, my parents let it be known to us that college was not an option but a requirement for us to have a successful future.
My journey with AVID began when I was a freshman at Tempe High School when my English teacher, Mr. Thompson, recommended the program to me. I did not exactly understand what the program was, so I did not apply to the program. Mr. Thompson saw potential in me that no one else had before. It was a full year before I was in AVID, but in the interim, Mr. T. made me challenge myself by placing me in Honors and Pre-IB courses that helped hone my intellectual skills in and outside of class. By the end of the fall semester of my sophomore year, Mr. T. refused to let me register for classes unless I applied to AVID for the following semester. I applied and was accepted into the program. It was the best decision that I made throughout my high school career.
It took some adjustment to become comfortable with the tenacious and rigorous curricular program that is AVID, but it made me a better organized and disciplined student. Before AVID, I did not know how to be organized, how to effectively communicate my thoughts or ideas with my peers, or how to be what I now consider to be a successful and skilled scholar. The program made me grow tremendously not only a student, but as a person as well. AVID has made a great impact on my life and I am absolutely grateful to have been a part of it. Through AVID, I found a family as well as friends. I know many of these people will be in my life for a very long time because they have been there for me in and out of the classroom when I needed them. In April of 2012 which was my junior year of high school, my mother’s battle with cancer came to an end. I did not go to school for two weeks so I could be with her at the end and mourn her passing. My AVID classmates and AVID teacher, Mrs. Antonson-Milanovich, were there for me every step of the way and helped me and continue to help me pick myself up whenever I fell down.
As a result of AVID, I ended my high school career with a 3.9 GPA taking honors, IB, and dual-enrollment courses as well as being involved in many extra-curricular activities on campus. Because of the courses I took, I ended up receiving over a semester-and-a-half worth of college credit at ASU. I earned many scholarships including the DELL Scholarship. I was accepted to several universities across the country, but ended up staying near home in Tempe at Arizona State University because I earned a full-ride. AVID helped me make my dream of attending a university a reality. I will forever be grateful for the instructors, students, and program that pushed me to be the very best student and person that I did not know I could be. I know without a doubt in my mind that without AVID I would not be who or where I am and know that this program will continue to be life changing for all students who actively participate in AVID.
AVID SPOTLIGHT STUDENT: Taylor Rainey
My name is Taylor Rainey and I am currently a senior AVID student at Tempe High School. I have been raised by a single-mother with some help from my grandmother, but I was homeless on and off from the time I was 3 years old until 7th grade when my mom started to turned our lives around. I applied for and was accepted into the AVID Program my sophomore year after many of my friends and teachers told me it would change my life. Before AVID I felt lost and lonely because I have had to be so tough all my life. However, as soon as I walked into the room my sophomore year, I knew I was right where I belonged. I gained acceptance and love within my AVID family and I found my two best friends. My AVID family and my best friends have changed my life and have made me a better, more trusting person.
As a result of AVID, my course work has been challenging and really tested me academically, but my GPA has remained a steady 3.8. I have become really involved on-campus with NHS, Key Club, Paw Printz, Best Buddies, as well as AVID. Because I need a way to pay for my extracurricular activities and anything I really need, I also took a job at Sonic over year ago working from 20-40 hours per week. I was recently promoted to a management position.
Without AVID I would have never thought all this was possible nor would college have been a reality for me. In the fall, I will start my studies at Northern Arizona University majoring in Biomedical Science. I have earned a full ride scholarship and have also been accepted to the Honors College. The reason why I am studying Biomed is because I want to become a veterinarian and to open my own non-profit animal shelter. Without AVID, I would have never accomplished what I have. Because of AVID, I know my dreams will come true if I work hard enough.