It's the end of one personal journey but just the beginning of another. Thirteen students and their families gathered in the Freeport High School cafeteria to celebrate. They will all be heading off to college in the fall and all are doing it because they decided to challenge themselves. These students' academic careers were enhanced through a program called AVID, which stands for advancement via individual determination.
"The program has allowed students in the middle academically to enroll in the most rigorous courses that we offer," says AVID District Director George Buss.
Freeport was the first school district in Illinois to offer the program. Students can start in the program as early as the seventh grade.
"These students step out of the crowd and they say 'We're going to try this program. We want to go to college but we're not sure what we need to do to get there'," Buss says.
These college-bound students say it has had a profound impact on their young lives.
"If it wasn't for AVID, i probably would never be here, not even, all my grades would probably be all F's. Its all AVID," says Jairo Gonzalez, an AVID graduate.
"I just wanted to experience something that was something new and would benefit me in the next year of college. I took a chance and it worked out fine," says AVID graduate Josh Bessert.
"I really didn't know but then they said 'well you like this and you like this so maybe you should try this', so AVID just put it all together, I'm like 'ok, I'll do the pharmacy thing,'" AVID graduate Chelsea Johnson says.
Freeport currently has one hundred and fifty students enrolled in the program. They initiated the program back in 1997. It focuses on four main areas; reading, writing, collaboration, and inquiry.