STUDENT Spotlight
Savanna Tolson, AVID Participant

Student Spotlight is a regularly-updated feature that highlights Baltimore County Public Schools students involved in a wide range of activities and programs. To see more student spotlights, click here.

Student Spotlight

Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts
Grade 12

What is AVID?
AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. This is a program designed to give students the opportunity to stay on the college path through a four-year program.

When did you join your school’s AVID program?
I joined AVID in Grade 9.

How did you become part of the program?
The AVID counselor at Patapsco, Mrs. Ginger Patron, was recruiting students from General John Stricker Middle School during my Grade 8 year. I was very interested in the program because, if it succeeded in preparing me for college, I would be the only one of my family to attend a four-year university. This was my goal as I wanted to prove myself as a worthy individual.

What do you do as an AVID student?
As AVID students, we prepare ourselves for the college application process. From the start of Grade 9, you begin studying for the SAT, which we take a total of three times before graduation.  We learn as a class how to stand out when colleges read our applications. My AVID teacher, Mrs. Sarah McComb, had us writing outstanding college application essays before we entered junior year. She puts her heart and soul into us as if we were her own children in order to prepare us for life after college.

What have you learned through the AVID program?
As an AVID student, I have learned how to make colleges want me. I was shown how to go above and beyond to make myself wanted by any college. I was taught to do this by joining and holding leadership positions in many activities throughout the school as well as taking challenging classes to demonstrate to colleges that I would be an excellent candidate for their schools.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being an AVID student?
In my opinion, the most challenging part of being an AVID student is keeping your determination up and balancing a full schedule. We are the considered some of the smartest kids in our class and maintaining that reputation even through difficult times is always a challenge. But you see how much the hard work pays off when you receive your college acceptance letters and SAT scores. AVID is the best thing that ever happened to me.

What other programs and extracurricular activities are you involved in at your school?
I have completed 10 seasons of school sports and I am working on completing the full twelve seasons. I have been the captain of the school badminton team for two years, manager of the wrestling team for three years and a returning player on the tennis team for four years. I have been the treasurer of the Class of 2015 steering committee and am, as of this year, the vice president of my class. I also hold presidency in our school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. Since sophomore year, I have been an active member in the school’s Junior Honor Society and English Honor Society.

What are your hopes for this school year?
This school year, I hope to apply to eight colleges and receive eight acceptance letters. I hope to score higher on my last SAT exam than I have ever before, and I hope to graduate in June as a rising college student on my way to becoming a NICU doctor. I want to save lives in the medical field.

 

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