The fifth annual Warren High School AVID banquet took place last Friday, at 6 p.m. at the Rio Hondo Golf Club.With three months of planning and preparation the AVID banquet was hosted by Warren High School to honor their perspective graduating senior class, along with underclassmen AVID students. This event not only brought forth Warren AVID students and their parents but also had the pleasure to welcome a few members of the Downey Unified School District and Downey City Council members. Councilmen David Gafin spoke during the banquet and mentioned the outstanding statistics the AVID Program had with their students going on to a higher level of learning after high school. "Thirty-two percent of our students are going on to a 4-year school, 54 percent to a 2-year school college level, 11 percent to a to technical school, that takes us 97 percent," said Gafin. "Another 2 percent of our class is going to military service. The No. 1 reason that they stated in joining the military was for college benefit and that takes us all the way to 99 percent of our graduating class last year leaving Warren High with a plan for further education." AVID has been strong at Warren for eight years now with not only the great efforts of the students, but the teachers and staff that have supported the program as well. They have gone out of their way many times to do what ever it is they can do for these students. Gafin even went on to say that AVID did not just stand for Advancement Via Individual Determination, but that to him it also meant Advancement Via Instructional Dedication. As the evening went on and everyone had their dinner the introduction of the AVID students began. Freshmen AVID teachers Daryl Lacolla and Charlotte Evensen announced their students and congratulated them for making it their first year in high school in the program. Then came the sophomore class presented by teacher and AVID Coordinator Christa Murphy. Second to last to be presented were the junior class who were introduced by their teacher Kim Castro. Each of the students was awarded with a certificate of achievement and one AVID student in every class took home the AVID Student of the Year Award. Natalie Arevalo was the freshmen award holder, Alex Carillo the sophomore and Allan Cortez the junior. After the lower classmen were announced and presented, teachers Monique Willis and David Cha proudly announced their senior class. The seniors were presented with their certificate of achievement, a certificate of appreciation from the City of Downey, and a gift bag with a shirt of the college they are to attend in the fall. The AVID Student of the Year went to Stephanei Orozco. "My favorite part I think was, I mean obviously recognizing the senior's achievement is important, but for me the best part was seeing the pride in the faces of the parents," said Cha. "I like seeing their eyes glow when their kids come up and [are] recognized." Not only did the students walk away with certificates and awards but so did some of the teachers thanks to the seniors. "I liked the banquet, I think that [the seniors] all looked so good and [they] all had a wonderful way of expressing themselves to the teachers and to the rest of the staff, it was nice," said teacher and AVID supporter Irene Bergh. The banquet was a success leaving many with the optimism and hopes that this program only keeps growing from here and on.
********** Published: May 29, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 6