Saturday night’s benefit fundraiser organized by the Greenwich Alliance for Education for the AVID program marked “10 Years of College Dreams Made Possible.”
The Arch Street Teen Center was transformed into a fun party venue with blue lights and sheer panels breaking the room into smaller spaces. Guests enjoyed a photo booth, ping pong, silent auction and live music by the Kovac Brothers band. Delicious food was provided by Pizza Luca and the Taco Guy.
Members of AVID classes, their families, and teachers from 2013-2023 all attended, and the walls featured black & white portrait photos of students taken by GHS AVID teacher Ken Alcorn.
AVID, short for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a shared vision and commitment between the Greenwich Alliance and Greenwich Public Schools. A national college-readiness system, AVID’s mission is to close the opportunity gap by preparing all students for college and career readiness. AVID students graduate and attend college at higher rates, but more importantly, they can think critically, collaborate, and set high expectations to conquer the challenges that await them confidently.
A total of AVID 337 students have graduated between 2013 and 2023 with the skills to think critically, collaborate, and set high expectations to conquer the challenges that await them with confidence.
AVID was initially funded by a grant from the Alliance in 2008. Greenwich Public Schools now runs the program, although the Alliance continues to support students, teachers, and alumni through AVID SUCCESS.
AVID alumna Melissa Perez, a GHS senior who has been in AVID for four years said she was an intern with the Greenwich Alliance shared her experience.
“I was born in Lima, Peru, and as an immigrant and first generation college student, the Greenwich Alliance has helped me pursue higher education,” she said. “I can say with certainty that AVID has sent me down the path of success. Many people told me that due to my financial status that university, especially at top schools, weren’t a consideration for me.”
Ms Perez will be attending Tulane University where she will double major in political science and history, on a pre-law track.
John Mendoza, a member of the AVID class of 2016, said that today he works at Future 5, an organization similar to AVID. Future 5 helps motivated low-income high school students in Stamford connect to their full potential leading to independence and productive citizenship.
Menoza described AVID as a special home to him, source of great friends and a great mentor, Stephanie Rogen.
“She has given me advice and been there me, since Covid,” he said. “I think it’s important for people to know that we have to keep doing this for the kids.”
GHS teacher Missy Brown said she was honored to be an AVID teacher and work with the Greenwich Alliance.
“I have has he pleasure to have worked with the Alliance since 2009 when a few of us from the high school wrote a grant to start AVID at GHS. The Alliance has been with us since he very beginning and supporting every one of the 10 graduating classes since,” she said. “Now that AVID has been around for a while, I think it’s safe to draw a conclusion about this program that you are all a part of. Undoubtedly, when you were a student in an AVID elective, you got a lot out of it, but I’m willing to bet that the moment you were in it was when you were least aware of it. But as you can see tonight AVID is really something that lasts forever.”
“Although you have all technically graduated, I’m willing to bet that AVID means more to you now than it did when you were in it,” she added.