Junior Avid Trip 2015

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Junior Avid Trip 2015

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Every year the juniors in AVID, a program designed to help prepare students for college and university applications, visit colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area. This is known as the AVID Junior Trip. Compared to previous trips, this year’s was significantly different. In addition to getting exposure to college campuses, they also visited Santa Monica Beach and watched a Laker game. Three teachers chaperoned the 60 juniors, Lanctot, Beussen, and Huerta. Huerta said, “Seeing the students’ excitement was very awesome! Since this was also my first year on the trip, I was also very excited for my students, they’re the reason why I enjoy my job.”

Organization and planning for the fundraisers was headed by Diana Huerta, a junior AVID teacher. This is her first year teaching at Alisal, but she has been working with AVID since 2005. She was an AVID teacher at El Sausal Middle School before coming to Alisal. She said, “Compared to AVID in middle school, there’s a higher stake now because the students are actually starting to apply for college. While before, AVID just gave them more exposure to different campuses. Overall, the trip was very successful.” The trip was important because it gave the students an extra set of encouragement and helped them know what a college environment is like.

Adding events to the trip did not change the cost, but in the years before, students had to pay out of their own pockets. Each student had to pay $250 for the three day trip. A majority of the cost was fundraised and as a result many of the juniors in AVID were able to go. The juniors had several fundraisers, but the most memorable was the Crab Feed. It took three months to plan and raised the most money. Through the Crab Feed, the group raised about $75,000. This event had a great impact on the juniors because most of them never attended a Crab Feed but those who worked the event said the hard work was worth it. Nancy Lara said, “It was kind of stressful because we wanted the event to go smoothly but after we served all the food, we got to enjoy ourselves until it was time to clean up. It was a really great experience.” The crab dinner was the only fundraiser they did, but it raised enough for each student to pay a minimal amount. The most a student had to pay was around $100 and over half went for free. Huerta said, “The fundraiser was extremely helpful, especially, for the students who couldn’t pay out of pocket. In addition to the fundraiser, we had businesses and individuals donate. The outpouring support from the community was awesome.”

Each day was jam packed with activities. The first two days, the students visited two campuses a day and visited one on the last day of the trip. They went to five campuses – USC, UCLA, UCSB, CSU Long Beach, and CSU Channel Islands. Huerta said,” Out of the five campuses we visited, we were able to get three Alisal alumni as our tour guides. The fact that alumni were our guides kind of gave them a sense that they could go to these amazing schools too. The students also handled themselves very well and had many positive comments. They felt that all the campuses had safe environments and the people were welcoming. They were able to go up to random students and ask them questions without it being weird.”

All the students enjoyed the trip overall, some even wishing it lasted longer than three days. Jazmin Ruiz said, “All the campuses were very nice but USC was my favorite – mostly because USC is my dream school. The basketball game was also very fun, it gave us a chance to bond.” For Jennifer Zamora, her favorite campus was UCLA. “The environment there was very lively and the people gave off a good vibe. I want to go there in the future because the school has a good medical program.”

From the success of this year’s Junior Trip, the AVID program hopes to make the following year even better. Huerta hopes that by holding more fundraisers, future students will not have to pay for the trip at all.

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