AVID students from Actis Jr. High purchased and wrapped gifts to benefit a local family in need this holiday season
A colorful mass of college pennants graces the southern wall in Mrs. Taff’s 8th grade classroom at Actis Jr. High School. It’s a constant reminder of the ultimate goal for the students in her 8th period AVID class.
“AVID is an elective college-readiness program that helps students from families without a college-going tradition be successful in school and prepare for college,” said Gena Lieske, county AVID manager, who services 28 school sites within 11 Kern County school districts.
Lieske explained that the AVID system is based on a standard instructional method known as WICOR, which focuses on writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading.
“The system caters to those students in the middle who have academic potential,” Lieske said. “They are bright kids. They just need a little extra attention to help them rise above their obstacles.”
AVID is more than about academics alone, however. It also teaches important life skills like teamwork, leadership and budgeting. The system’s multidimensional approach was on full display on a recent Tuesday at Actis when students of the program wrapped Christmas presents for a family in need. Students in Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Putnam’s AVID classes also participated.
The group raised more than $400 and purchased gifts for the family’s four children who would have otherwise gone without this holiday season.
AVID student Izzy Mohamed was among the students who gave up her evening last Friday to go shopping at Target.
“It is nice to be able to give back,” she said. “I picked out a soccer ball for two-year-old boy.
The activity incorporates AVID essentials of collaboration, community service, and writing (students write a reflection essay after the project is complete), said Taff. Students also learn about budgeting, calculating percentages, and leaving room in a budget for sales tax.
“The students worked together to plan a shopping list, chose the best gifts for the children while at Target, and stuck carefully to their budgets,” Taff said. “Community involvement is an important factor in college preparation, and students are learning to be involved at a young age.”
In addition to the Adopt-a-Family program, Actis students are also each writing and designing a holiday card for residents of Rosewood Retirement Home.
Like Actis, Lieske said that many of the AVID programs throughout Kern County are also engaged in important service projects. These including Taft High School, Delano High School, Haven Drive Middle School, Independence High School, West High and Pond School.
“I really am excited about these projects,” said Lieske. “It’s an opportunity for students to make a difference in their own community.”