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AVID Helps Senior Become a Leader

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© VCOE
© VCOE
Even at an early age, Daniel Espinoza knew he was college material.“When I was 5, I was telling my grand-mother that I was going to find a cure for cancer,” the 17-year-old Daniel recounted with a smile.

But Daniel came from a Mexican immigrant family with no college history, and he and his mom, Alejandra, readily admitted he needed a little extra help and direction in order to achieve his goal of reaching a four-year college. So Alejandra enrolled her son in Haydock Intermediate School’s Advancement Via Individual Determination – AVID –program when he was in sixth grade.

Daniel remained in the AVID program for six years, the last four at Oxnard High School,and he graduates with a 3.4 grade-point aver-age. He will attend San Jose State University in the fall and plans to major in psychology.

In AVID, students follow a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that was developed by middle school and high schoolteachers in collaboration with college professors. Students also participate in collaborative study groups or tutorials led by tutors who use questioning to bring students to a higher level of understanding.

Along the way, AVID teachers make sure that students like Daniel keep their grades up and prepare them for important tests, like the California High School Exit Exam and the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Seniors in the AVID program also learn how to apply to college as well as how to apply for scholarships and financial aid.

“It’s been a very good experience,”Daniel said. “I’m not good with deadlines, so AVID helped put me on the right path. It almost forces you to get into college.”

Daniel’s success comes as no surprise to Kathleen Beckham, coordinator of Oxnard High’s AVID program. In addition to being one of her best AVID students, Beckman said Daniel also is a top AVID tutor for the program’s underclassmen, many of them English language learners.

“He works very hard and is very empathetic with other students,” Beckham said.“He’s not selfish or arrogant, so the kids lookup to him.”

Beckham added: “Daniel is a solutions-oriented person who excels in everything he does. He’s a leader and that’s a quality that’s going to become stronger and stronger as he gets older.

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