Greenwich High’s AVID program celebrates 37 graduates, all heading to college

GREENWICH — All 37 of the AVID Class of 2022 from Greenwich High School have been accepted to college and plan to attend in the fall.

Short for Advancement Via Individual Determination, AVID held their graduation ceremony on June 22 at the GHS Student Center in front of a crowd of over 100 people and announced their achievements.

“AVID graduation is always my favorite celebration of the year because AVID is so aligned with our mission to empower all students to succeed academically, personally and professionally,” said Julie Faryniarz, Executive Director of the Greenwich Alliance for Education.

A national college preparation system, AVID is designed to close the opportunity gap between diverse and underrepresented student demographics and to promote equity and access to education.

AVID was originally funded by an Alliance grant in 2008. Greenwich Public Schools now runs the program, although the Alliance continues to support students, teachers and alumni through AVID SUCCESS.

AVID teachers Missy Brown and Franny Bittman, along with AVID GHS Site Coordinator Mara Subach and AVID GPS District Director Judith Nedell, have spent months helping AVID students write college lists, write essays universities, submit financial aid forms, and analyze financial aid packages, which include scholarships and loans.

Some of the colleges that AVID students from Greenwich High will attend are Emory University, Lehigh University, Connecticut College, George Washington University, Providence College, University of Connecticut, Fordham University and others local and state colleges.

At the graduation ceremony, Sarah Borba, who is heading to UConn-Stamford, sang an a cappella version of “It’s the Climb.” His performance was attended by several speakers, who echoed their appreciation of the Alliance’s long-standing commitment to GPS students.

“Beyond the hundreds of thousands of additional dollars they’ve invested in programming and scholarships, they’ve also donated countless hours, brownies, pizza parties, opened dozens of bank accounts, and matched many mentors” , Brown said. “Most importantly, their partnership in growing the AVID program has made it possible for the 37 graduates here tonight to be here.”

Several speakers highlighted the many accomplishments of the graduates, including completing a total of 141 Honors classes and 32 AP classes, despite unique obstacles.

Bittman recalled how students juggled jobs, studies, sports, and applying for college and scholarships.

“Academic research, applications and scholarships filled our free time, but we prevailed,” she said. “COVID, remote learning, blended learning and quarantine complicated things, but we prevailed,” Bittman said.

Ashley Sierra, who is heading to Fordham, was placed in the AVID program as an eighth grader at Western Middle School.

“If I had chosen not to continue in AVID, I can firmly say that I would not be where I am today,” she said. “Knowing that many of us at AVID wanted to make a difference for our families as first-generation students pushed me to raise the bar and maintain high standards.”

Senior graduates praised AVID teachers for creating a nurturing community and guiding them through GHS and college admissions, and the Alliance for providing the resources and connections needed to meet challenges past and future.

“Because of your willingness to help us, we were able to find internships, jobs, Member Credit Union savings accounts, scholarships – and some of the best people in the world,” said Matthew Fuentes , who will attend Connecticut College. in autumn.

Since the first AVID class graduated in 2013, more than 250 students have completed the program and the Alliance has provided $648,000 in scholarships.

The Greenwich Alliance for Education was founded in 2006 as a partner of Greenwich Public Schools, to create learning opportunities to empower all students to succeed.

Ryan H. Bowman