AVID students’ dream colleges become a reality

Students have received big scholarships for their futures


Photos from the senior section of the yearbook

Xavier Tacker, Tiffany Wu, Annette Hernandez and Rachel Lara are AVID students who won big scholarships to the colleges of their dreams.

By James Favot, Copy Editor

     Earning scholarships is arguably one of the most rewarding parts of the college application process, second only to being accepted by one’s dream school. Several AVID seniors were recently awarded sizable scholarships for their hard work the past four years. Among this year’s AVID seniors were Rachel Lara, Tiffany Wu, Xavier Tacker, and Annette Hernandez.

     Wu was accepted into the University of Portland and awarded a $54,000 scholarship.

     “I haven’t fully committed to a college yet but the University of Portland is number one on the list of many schools I applied to,” Wu said. “I decided to apply to the University of Portland because it is close to my family and had everything I was looking for in a school.” Wu, should she choose to commit to the University of Portland, will be studying pre-medicine at the school’s Department of Psychological Sciences.

     Lara, who will also be attending the University of Portland, was awarded a $62,000 scholarship. 

     “Once I visited [the University of Portland] and learned more about their nursing program I instantly fell in love with it,” Lara said. “I also would like to work with nonprofit organizations in the future like the Peace Corps.” Lara decided to major in nursing so she can help others while learning valuable life and career skills.

     Annette Hernandez earned $100,000 for Willamette University in Salem and plans on exploring a STEM major in college.

     “Science has always been one of my favorite subjects in school, and I would really like to take on a career that revolves around STEM,” Hernandez said. “Willamette also has a good soccer program in which I was offered a roster spot, and overall it just seemed the best fit for me.” Hernandez wants to major in either biochemistry or pre-medicine.

     Xavier Tacker earned $80,000 for Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, where he will be majoring in marine science.

     “Eckerd is arguably the best school in the country for [that major],” Tacker said. “I love the intricacies of ecosystems of the oceans, and the relations that take place there really intrigue me, [plus] it means I get to travel to hopefully warm places.”

     Preparing for college in senior year can be a challenging process for many students. AVID seeks to mitigate that stress by training students to make smart and informed decisions. Senior AVID teacher Tammy Hodgson says a key goal in AVID is to lessen students’ worries over how their college journey will be financed.

     “One of the things we try to do in AVID is work toward making [college] a very palatable and viable financial option so students do not have to stress once they’re in school about the financial components,” Hodgson said. And the students agree that AVID has been greatly beneficial to them during their final stretch of high school.

     “I credit my successes in my college search to AVID,” Tacker said. “Mrs. Hodgson helps us all individually in our search both in and out of the classroom.”

     “I am extremely thankful to all the teachers I’ve had for AVID, especially Mrs. Hodgson,” Lara said. “Being a first-generation student, having this class has been great and without it I would be lost in this whole college process.”

     “Something I appreciate about AVID is that everyone in the class is there because of the same goal, going to college,” Wu said. “Everyone is willing to help each other when we need it.”

     Hodgson invites any seniors having trouble with the college process to come to her with questions or reach out to their counselors and mentors.

     “It’s just so satisfying to see students reach a goal that’s going to impact their whole family and the people around them,” Hodgson said. “Our students become mentors for others by living an amazing example of what education can do for you.”

     The best thing any senior can do regardless of whether or not they took AVID, Hodgson says, is to build a strong network with others who will be there to guide them.

     “The people who have the most success have a positive team of other students they work with,” Hodgson said. “If you have peers that are pushing you and you see them making breakthroughs, it makes you push harder.”