A program that provides graduates with skills and confidence for college success has gone one step farther.
For the first year, every graduate who is part of the district's Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) has earned a college scholarship.
"It has been a goal of ours since the program was started to have every AVID student earn a college scholarship," said Stevenson Principal Steve Pfannes. "This year we accomplished our goal."
At a special celebration for this year's 19 AVID graduates, students received more than $180,000 in scholarships through colleges, local scholarship funds and the Superintendent's AVID Excellence and Spirit of AVID scholarship funds.
It was an extra boost through a program that prepares students for college success by promoting rigorous high school options. Utica Community Schools is the only Macomb County school district offering the program.
"We believe in you," superintendent Dr. Christine Johns told students at the celebration. "We believe you are going to do tremendous things."
AVID is a national program initiated approximately thirty years ago as a research-based college readiness system. By being placed into rigorous courses alongside high achieving students and provided with support from the AVID elective class, students are able to make significant gains in their academic achievement.
The students receive support for such areas as organization, study skills, and critical thinking, and participate in motivational activities that promote the importance of continuing education after their high school diploma.
Students said the program has made the difference in helping them reach their college and career goals.
"AVID has set the foundation for me to succeed in college and life," said 2016 graduate Luis Ramirez.
The program was first introduced in 2012 and is now offered at Jeannette, Davis and Eppler Junior high schools and Stevenson and Utica high schools.
UCS alumni who participated in AVID said the program will give them skills they will use beyond high school.
"AVID is the reason I got into college," said 2014 graduate Chynna Potts, who is attending North Illinois University for acting. "AVID has forever changed my life."