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Island Coast High kicks off college incentives program

By Staff | Nov 5, 2010

Island Coast High School began a unique program at the school on Oct. 27 to encourage students to further their education and attend college.
Nancy Hagy explained that the program, Advancement Via Individual Determination, reaches out to students who may not be able to attend college due to financial reasons, who need to be given an extra push, or to reach out to students who are “beneath the wire.”
“I am hoping they will get fired up about college,” she said. “I am probably more excited than the kids are right now.”
Hagy, who is the AVID teacher, said the program started in California. She explained that those students who remain in the program for four years have a 90 percent rate of going to a four-year college after they graduate from high school.
Approximately 250 applications were handed out to students at Island Coast for the AVID program. Hagy said 72 were accepted.
“I’m so excited about it,” Hagy said.
She explained that as with any program, it is important to create an interest. Hagy thought she would grab their attention by contacting numerous colleges to have them donate their school T-shirt and information for the students.
She received T-shirts from 23 different universities and colleges from Florida alone, along with numerous shirts from other state schools.
Each student wore a college T-shirt Friday and they will keep in contact with the respective schools throughout the year. Each student will have an ongoing relationship with the college as they keep in contact monthly.
The University of Nebraska, Brigham Young University, West Virginia University and Georgetown College are sponsoring the AVID program at Island Coast.
The assembly Friday morning began with Hagy’s three class periods presenting the AVID mission statement, “to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society,” within their own interpretation as a class.
John Counsell, who is a local Notre Dame University representative and board member of the Notre Dame Club Alumni Schools Committee talked with the freshman class Friday morning about the importance of college.
He explained that the AVID program provides an outlet for students to begin thinking about college much sooner than they would.
Justin McBride joined the festivities as a representative from the University of Iowa Alumni Seeking Iowa Students Today.
“I think it’s fantastic,” he said, adding that anything he can do to get more students into college he will. “Getting these kids to believe that college is a possibility for them is wonderful.”
He told the freshmen that every obstacle that may be associated with college can be overcome.
Freshman Demarcus Kendrick, who was sporting a Grambling State University T-shirt, said it felt good to wear the -shirt because “it feels like I’m going to college today.”
He explained that the program means a lot to him because the majority of his family never attended college.
“My family is depending on me to go to college,” he said.
After researching the Louisiana school, Kendrick said he is very interested in attending the university and pursuing a technology degree, so he can build computers.
When asked what he has to do to go to Grambling State University he said “stay focused, committed and dedicated.”
Lachaundra Jackson shared the same excitement about wearing a Florida A&M T-shirt, along with planning her future.
“I really like it,” Jackson said about the program. “It’s not just helping me, but it is helping me with my school work, also.”
She also was inspired by all the good things she read about the school when she began researching what they had to offer. Jackson said she wants to become a nurse because she likes helping people.
Hagy said she hopes to have the students wear their T-shirts once a month, along with having speakers come to the school twice a month.
The continuous support system of the AVID program will enhance every year as students learn more about what they need to do to be accepted into the college of their choice.
As of the 2009-2010 school year, AVID has been implemented in nearly 4,500 schools in 47 states, the District of Columbia and 16 countries and serves approximately 400,000 students.