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AVID Senior Day a Big Hit With College-Bound Seniors

By Eva Mandelbaum

The 2021 AVID Senior Day boot camp on June 21, 2021 educated White Plains High School seniors on a plethora of topics (from financial literacy to dating and relationships), all of which prepared students for their first year of college in the fall. This first-ever event was a big success; students got the opportunity to attend three workshops of their choice where they got a friendly taste of college that made what the future holds seem slightly less daunting.

“This event is sponsored by the AVID site team. AVID is basically a college readiness program that we have in our district. What we’re doing today is what we’re doing all the time in AVID: we’re always college-focused, we’re always talking about what to expect, how to be successful when you get to college, because college readiness is really important,” Ms. Simmons, the AVID teacher who ran this event explained. AVID, a program that selected students join in middle school, plays a salient role in the lives of many White Plains High School students, especially those who will be first generation college students. AVID helps students build skills (that aren’t built in the traditional classroom) that will help lead to success in college.

AVID is not the only thing that made this Senior Day event possible, but the participating teachers, alumni, panel, and workshops that took place helped make this event run. The most popular workshop was called, “Money Matters and Financial Literacy.” Mr. Mark Stanton, the WPHS math teacher who ran the workshop explained, “I would say that most math classes aren’t geared towards real world situations. So, it’s important to be able to present students with math-based financial literacy where money matters.” Like all of the AVID Senior Day workshops, this course taught students information (attendees learned about credit cards, student loan, the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and everything in between) that is salient for them to know what to do when they’re on their own in college.

Another very popular course was taught by Ms. Simmons herself, entitled “Welcome to College: What to Expect During the First Days and Weeks on Campus.” With the help and input of two WPHS alumni, Ms. Simmons explained the importance of independence in college, and how to adjust to the college lifestyle. Included in the lesson were incredibly insightful and helpful personal anecdotes from two former WPHS students who let the group in on all of the college secrets. “I think it’s important to get comfortable doing stuff by yourself. Like, it took me like a whole semester to go eat lunch by myself in the cafeteria. Because you feel awkward and stuff, but no one’s paying attention to you so definitely don’t be afraid to do things by yourself and don’t wait for other people and get involved because that’s how you make friends,” One University at Buffalo graduate shared. Another college graduate emphasized the importance of standing up for yourself, and also being proud of yourself for adjusting to such a different setting.

Not only were workshops available on how to pass college courses and adjusting to college, but there were also courses on self care/health, one of which being dating and relationships, taught by social worker and CEO Ms. Jimenez. (AKA Mrs. Yogi) Mrs. Yogi provided a comfortable and safe space for workshop attendees by using relatable examples and a genuine understanding of what students will experience in their love-lives in college. From addressing the types of relationships in college, to explaining consent, she made sure to help students understand that the most important thing is to be your authentic self and to not lose who you are in a relationship. This course helped prepare students for college, and for what to expect when it comes to relationships.

From adjusting to college to managing money to dating and relationships, the 2021 AVID Senior Day taught students extremely important things they would not have otherwise learned. Students left the workshops knowing more about what to expect in college and feeling more at ease about the college experience waiting for them in just a few months

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