Most seniors know the familiar flutter of anxiety and anticipation that comes in the spring, the time when scholarships are a possibility and every email inbox sees constant page refreshes. Many apply, but not many hit the lottery when it comes to scholarships. However, four AVID seniors — Bao Pham, Estefania Gutierrez, Lizbeth Manzo, and Perla Flores — received the highest possible AVID scholarship: the Kingston Technology Scholarship, comprised of $20,000 dollars over a total of four years.
“When they apply to the AVID scholarship, there’s a bunch of different scholarships that they’re applying to, ranging from $500 all the way to the Kingston which is $20,000. They give away fifty of these scholarships across Orange County.” Ms. Hathaway, the senior AVID teacher here at Grove, explains. “When I got the notice that they got a scholarship, I didn’t know which one they got.”
She encouraged every AVID student who met the minimum requirements to apply; these requirements were at least three years in the AVID program, and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8. However, simply fulfilling the requirements won’t take a student very far. The scholarship applications are viewed with a “rubric,” where applicants get more points for higher GPAs and the more AP classes they have taken, greater amounts of community service, and how many years they have been in the AVID program.
“It’s more advantageous for somebody to have been in AVID since 7th grade and then apply,” Ms. Hathaway elaborates, “rather than join in 10th grade and then apply for the scholarship.”
“When I learned that I had received the Kingston Technology Scholarship a weight had been lifted off my shoulders,” shares Estefania Gutierrez. “I was instantly elated by the news because I can go into college debt-free and not have to worry about every college student’s fear of the hefty price tag that comes with pursuing higher education.”
Padding their self-built resumes with two letters of recommendations and short personal essay responses, the students put their all into the application. For four students, all of their cumulative hard work effort throughout high school and their dedication to the AVID program paid off — literally.
The AVID awards ceremony was held at the Irvine Barclay Theatre on the night of April 25th, funded by Kingston Technology themself. Several foundations hand out scholarships to Orange County AVID students, from family foundations to the Angels baseball team, and this year, Kingston Technology Company was the benefactor of these Argos.
Bao Pham, who will be attending UCI in this fall with plans to pursue a medical career, says, “It made me really happy. It feels like all those years of hard work actually paid off.”
“I’m super proud of their accomplishments and how much they embody the spirit of the AVID program,” says Ms. Hathaway. “I felt kind of like a proud mother when I was there at the ceremony. It just solidified all of their hard work, and after writing so many letters of recommendation, I feel like we all put in a lot of work to secure these scholarships for these students.”
The generous scholarship opportunities that AVID and other foundations working with the program are just one of many benefits that the program provides. AVID helps students prepare financially through scholarship offers and assistance with financial aid, but even more importantly, it primes students for a four-year university education by building their skills in studying, organization, and efficiency. It teaches lessons that are, in such a competitive education system, ultimately invaluable.
“AVID is what helped to push me towards the things that stand beyond my reach and helped me realize that I have a passion for helping others. Because of AVID, I will seek a profession in the Psychology major because I want to get to understand and learn more about others to better help them in any kind of situation,” says Perla Flores. “If I could pass on one lesson learned from my AVID experience, it would be to always try your best and never be afraid to ask your AVID teachers for help and support on anything you need help. They will always be there for you. Joining AVID is not a scary thing, on the other hand, it will help you figure out what direction you would like to take in life as well as how to overcome life’s problems corresponding to college or anything else.”
“AVID is the greatest support team I’ve ever had,” concludes Lizbeth Manzo. “I remember in middle school our AVID teacher, Mrs. Mack, would always say how we were this ‘big family,’ we would always laugh about it, but now I see it.”