SHS seniors honored at AVID dinner

As the clock winds down to graduation, Sweetwater High School (SHS) seniors were honored during Thursday night's AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Dinner Celebration held at the SHS cafeteria.AVID is a national college-readiness program that is designed to increase the number of students who not only enroll but persevere in a four-year college or university. Stacy Jones, SHS principal, began the gathering by stating that after last school year, there was a desire to honor seniors but in a greater manner. Thus the dinner was planned, which recognizes seniors who were accepted into a four-year university, two-year college, trade school or military.According to SHS AVID coordinator Rebecca Duncan, about three-fourths of the 2013 SHS graduating senior class have received an acceptance letter, totaling to around 75 students.Within SHS, other objectives of the AVID program are to improve organizational and critical thinking skills while increasing student involvement in community service. Additionally, AVID in Sweetwater helps in preparing and supporting students in most rigorous high school courses, while empowering average students to achieve academic excellence.During the evening, appreciation was expressed to Duncan as well as AVID teacher Christi Adams and the various members of the AVID site team. In addition, several AVID students were thanked for serving guests throughout the night, along with Carissa Adkins and members of the FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) who prepared the meal.SHS counselor Marina Wilcox presented seniors in attendance at the meeting with a disposable camera and scavenger hunt form. The activity lists places to find and photograph of their respective campus--like a sign, post office, etc.--when they arrive to familiarize themselves with their new school. Any student who completes the hunt and returns the camera before the October 1, 2013 deadline will be entered to win a prize.The highlight of the night, however, was the 2012-2013 SHS tile show. During the year, when a senior receives her acceptance letter to college, she can pay a small fee to decorate a ceiling tile from the senior hallway that features her new school. On Thursday, all students accepted were able to share their accomplishments in high school, express their thanks for those who helped them get into college, and what they plan on studying and being involved in, in college. Rounding out the meeting was the College Student Panel which featured two SHS grads who are currently in college. SHS alumni Bekah Gray and Leila Rubio answered questions about the overall college experience on topics such as dorm life, packing, holding a job, studying and time management.Also during the evening, door prizes were given to senior students Cameryn Jones, Kaitlyn Owens, Blayne Ferguson, Gabriel Melendez, Kendra Crosson, Kelsi Crosson, Tatum Maxwell and Donald Baker.AVID students must have a potential and desire to attend a 4-year school, hold good test scores as well as a grade point average (GPA) between 2.0-3.5, maintain appropriate classroom behavior along with good attendance and work habits, and must be willing to commit to study and homework.They must also meet at least one or more criteria to be an AVID student: be the first in their immediate family to attend post-secondary school, be historically underrepresented in a four-year college, have low income, or present special circumstances.