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180-Plus AVID Students Celebrated

May 20, 2024 03:08PM ● By San Juan Unified School District News Release

Mustafa Al Hilfi, a Mesa Verde High School 12th-grader, said that the AVID program made it easy for him to take the next step to attend college. Courtesy photo

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Families and friends filled Mesa Verde High School’s stadium on April 25 to celebrate the graduation of more than 180 San Juan Unified School District students at its Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Senior Celebration.

AVID is an elective class that equips students with essential life and academic skills such as reading, writing, organization, communication and collaboration. The overall mission is to prepare all students for college readiness and success.

This year, seven student speakers represented the seven San Juan Unified high schools in attendance. Each 12th-grader was awarded an embroidered graduation stole because of their commitment and work throughout their time in AVID.

Mustafa Al Hilfi, a Mesa Verde High School AVID 12th-grade student who immigrated from Baghdad, Iraq, said he was initially overwhelmed by the transition but found a sense of belonging and purpose through the program.

“When I first immigrated to the United States, I kind of had an identity crisis. I didn’t feel I belonged here. After joining AVID, I realized everyone around me had the same goals, same ideas and same interests. AVID paved the way and made it really easy for me to go to college,” Al Hilfi said.

Leslie Peoples, the Mesa Verde High AVID coordinator, emphasizes the program's focus on deliberate strategies for success, ranging from organization and time management to communication and goal setting.

“I have been an AVID coordinator at Mesa Verde High School since 2011 and 100% of our graduates have earned admission to a four-year college,” Peoples said.  

Beyond academics, AVID fosters personal growth and development, instilling valuable life skills that extend far beyond the classroom.

“I think AVID builds structure, fosters good relationships and really builds a solid foundation for kids to be successful not only in the classroom but also in their future,” Peoples said.

San Juan Unified is proud to celebrate the endless opportunities available to students because of their hard work and dedication.