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    By Samantha Solliday

    On Tuesday evening at the Central Texas College campus, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) seniors had the opportunity to come together from all four high schools and celebrate their successes during the annual “Ad” Mission Accomplished celebration.

    As seniors’ pictures rotated through a PowerPoint presentation, Advanced Academics Specialist John Jackson opened up the ceremony by presenting the crowd with a large check.

    “This year’s senior class had over $4.7 Million dollars in scholarships,” he said. “They have earned this from all of their AVID schooling.”

    For over 150 graduating AVID seniors, the theme of the celebration was remembering the past, while staying focused on the future.

    Each high school selected a speaker to represent their AVID class. For Ellison Senior Cristella Mendez, AVID changed the way she studied and prepared for projects.

    “I had to relearn how I did projects, because in the past, doing things last minute always worked out for me,” she said addressing the group. “I not only survived high school because of AVID, I thrived.”

    Shoemaker senior Laura Chapa, spoke of her AVID environment and how accepting it was.

    “It was like High School Musical,” she said laughing. “It was so blissful, I could be whatever and whoever I wanted to be in that room.”

    Ebonie Taylor from Harker Heights reflected on how her AVID community became her second family.

    “You laugh with these people, you cry with them,” she stated. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”

    And Killeen High senior Nyveohn Lundy took the time to honor and thank his mother for all the hard work she put in to help him become successful.

    Keynote speaker for the evening, motivational speaker, and former Shoemaker High AVID graduate, Johnathon Grant Brown took the stage and encouraged students to become authentic.

    In an effort to highlight the importance of authenticity, Brown made the crowd stand and find their “sole mates.” Brown then gave one minute to each person to talk about past goals and obstacles.

    “The purpose of the exercise is to give you the keys to becoming successful,” Brown said. “Don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation with a total stranger. Be authentic and grow your influence.”

    Brown then offered advice about goal setting and how to categorize potential obstacles.

    He then told them to take a goal, write it on a piece of paper, and any obstacles that might keep them from that goal and to keep it somewhere where they would see it every day.

    “Remember that AVID students are the exception to every rule,” he said in closing. “You are not average, you are not a goal setter, you are a goal getter.”

    May 18, 2017

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