Junior AVID trip looks to inspire


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When spring break comes rolling around, everyone looks forward to having a week off from school and going on trips, especially when it’s with their friends. The AVID juniors got the great opportunity to go to Southern California after spring break on the AVID junior trip to visit UCSB, USC, UCLA, UCI, and CSULB.

The advisor of the AVID Program, Diana Huerta, has organized this trip for the past three years. Fundraising was an essential part of making the trip a reality, since the total cost was $12,000.The teachers and students did different fundraisers, such as selling lollipops and serving breakfast at Applebee’s.

However, the most successful fundraiser was the Annual Crab Feed. “It was good. The Crab Feed brought in the most money for the trip- approximately $7,000. So in the end, we had an overall profit regardless,” said Huerta. It was hectic trying to get everything together as the event date approached. During AVID class, the students made decorations that were to be used on the day of the event. Also, students made phone calls to companies in hopes of getting a donation. Thanks to several donors – Ocean Mist, Taylor Farms, Costco, Mi Pueblo – enough money was raised to meet their goal.

The fundraising helped take 56 students to visit five schools in Southern California- UCSB, USC, UCLA, UCI, and CSULB- with the intent to educate their young minds on college requirements, as well as exposing them to different environments.  “I hope it gave the students the perspective that there’s more to life than what’s in Salinas if they go to college,” said Alex Lanctot, the junior AVID teacher.

Every student who was going on the trip had to give an initial deposit of $50 and fundraise to pay the rest. In the end, their money was given back to them to spend only on food, depending on how much the students participated in the fundraisers. “The fundraisers were stressful but it helped teach us how to talk to people and how to plan out events. In the end, they were successful and it gave me an idea of how real life situations have to be handled,” said Montserrat Soto.

After all the fundraising, they were finally off to Southern California. After a long drive, the group arrived at UCSB for a self-guided tour. They were sent off to have lunch and explore. While they were there, some students felt at home and loved the campus. “The campus was really pretty. I like how it was next to the ocean and I really pictured myself going there because it seemed like a nice environment to be a student in,“ said Jackie Quintero.

After the stop at UCSB, the group headed down to Los Angeles where they attended a Dodgers Game. Since it was USC night, the group got free USC/Dodgers hats, which were useful since it was sunny at first. Before sitting down, the students grabbed their lunch and headed towards their seats to watch the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies, 4-2. It was a new experience for many and the environment made it exciting. “It was my first time actually going to a baseball game. I’ve been to a lot of professional games, but not to a professional baseball game. I really enjoyed it because I truly enjoyed it with my friends,” said Gustavo Flores.

Since they had to visit three universities on day two, the students got up and left at 9 AM to head to USC for another self-guided tour. They split up into groups and met after an hour and a half to head to UCLA. “We didn’t have available college students to give us a tour there, so the students got to see and explore what they wanted to at the campus,” said Huerta. The second university they saw that day was UCLA, in which they actually got a tour from an Alisal High Alumni who graduated in 2016, Briana Aguilar. Nayelli Ocampo said, “It was such a beautiful campus and I definitely saw myself going there. Getting shown around by an Alisal alum made me realize that people from Salinas can actually make it out and have a shot at something bigger.” Then, they left for UCI, where they received a tour from Alisal Alum Kevin Nolasco, who graduated last year. “It was so quiet, peaceful, and it was easy to not get lost. I liked it and picture myself coming here,” said Paola Espinoza. After that, they headed to the hotel, checked into the rooms, and went outside where they ate pizza and bonded. On top of that, it was Sergio Sandoval’s birthday, which they celebrated with a cake. “Knowing that Mr. Lanctot went out of his way to get me a birthday cake gave me a heartwarming feeling,” said Sandoval.

On the last day, the group got together their things and headed for CSULB, where they heard from Professor Som, a history teacher at CSULB, talk about college life. “The speaker seemed like a great teacher to have. He seemed genuine and I already saw him as a mentor even though I don’t go to Long Beach,” said Daisy Donato. With a long drive ahead of them, the group left for Salinas. “It was inspirational to see the the students get to experience what life is like outside of Salinas and to see them interact in a way that gets them out of their comfort zone. I get inspired seeing them inspired,” said Lanctot.

This April, the AVID program sent 68 juniors on a 3-day tour of Southern California campuses. The purpose of the trip is to inspire the students and get them out of their comfort zone, which according to chaperon Alex Lanctot, was accomplished.

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