AVID students and teachers take annual statewide college tour

Thirty TPHS AVID students from all grade levels visited college campuses in Central California and the Bay Area as a part of their annual fall college field trip from Oct. 1-4.

Students were accompanied by all three AVID teachers, Colin Cornforth, Anastasia Kokkinis and Rosa Velazquez, as well as former AVID teacher and current special education teacher Francisco Lona. In total, they visited 10 colleges: UC Merced, Sacramento State University, UC Davis, St. Mary’s College of California, CSU East Bay, UC Berkeley, University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, Stanford University and San Jose State University. 

“It was nice to see [the schools] for myself,” Mariana Medina (11) said, “as I hadn’t heard of all of [them] until I stepped foot onto the campus.” 

According to Velazquez, Medina is one of approximately 75 students in the AVID program, a three- to four-year “pre-collegiate program” that helps students develop their skills for college. According to Velazquez, “a lot of these kids are first generation college students.” 

“[The AVID program not] only helps [students] get into college, but it [also] helps them to be successful and graduate from college,” Velazquez said. 

Many of these students “don’t have the means to visit these colleges, so the trip was valuable because it gave them the experience of being able to travel to northern California,” Velazquez said.

“Personally, my parents don’t have the time or the money to spend on taking me to see colleges,” Keila De La O (12) said. “AVID does a good job of choosing a wide variety of colleges, not just UC or CSU [schools], but also private schools that are small and large, and in urban and rural settings.”

De La O said the students were able to visit schools “back to back,” allowing them to see the similarities and differences between schools. Many of the students’ tour guides were previous TPHS AVID students, so this year’s AVID students were able to “learn about what they did while in high school to be able to go to that college.” 

Velazquez sees the trip as both educational and motivational.

“If a freshman sees Stanford or Berkeley, those are schools that you have to work toward to go to,” Velazquez said. “So if they’re freshmen or sophomores, then they’ve got their whole high school career to work on getting into those schools.” 

Principal Rob Coppo, who previously taught at a school with a large AVID program, “almost wished that every kid could go through [it].” 

“I love the AVID program,” Coppo said. “It gives [students] a chance to really connect with what it’s like to be on a college campus, especially for students that might not normally get that opportunity.” 

AVID teachers asked for $50 donations for the trip. Additional funding was provided by the TPHS Foundation. 

“The Foundation sees a true value in supporting the AVID program,”  Foundation Executive Director Nicole Baril said.

Coppo welcomes the Foundation’s financial support of AVID trips.

“That’s part of why we have the Foundation,” Coppo said. “We have an amazingly generous Foundation that works very hard to support all of our students on campus.” 

The next AVID trip will be to a San Diego university in the spring. Program students will also attend the San Diego National College Fair in March.  

AVID was started in San Diego in 1980.

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