Advancement Via Individual Determination is a new program known to Newfane High School students as AVID. It is an elective that helps prepare today’s students for college no matter what school they choose to attend. This program was introduced for the first time to Newfane students in 2011.

AVID takes students on field trips to visit area colleges. Last year the class went to Buffalo State College and Niagara University. The students received a tour of these colleges and also had lunch with some college students to assist in getting “the feel” of the school.

“I love looking at the different colleges I could choose to attend in a few years,” said Joel Swogier, a sophomore at Newfane.

In the classroom, AVID students are required to keep a three-inch binder containing all school subjects. They are also required to keep a daily planner, logging all homework and assignments.

Another unique requirement is that they must take Cornell notes. These are special notes that help the students understand the lecture they just heard. The notes have a different format than most students are used to. They have a two-inch margin down the side for main ideas and any questions the student may have. They have a proper heading on the top and contain a summary written by the student on the bottom of the page to review. This is another form of studying as well. The normal notes go on the right side of the page.

Another part of the class AVID students enjoy is Philosophical Chairs, an activity in which a “Mediator” (a student willing to take control of the debate) states a controversial topic to the class. Students then decide whether they agree with the topic. Then they go to opposing sides of the classroom. From there, they must state their opinion and why they believe what they do. The next person must repeat or summarize what the previous student was saying to prove they were paying attention.

“I like that you get to voice your opinions and talk about controversial topics, knowing your voice is going to be heard,” said sophomore Paulette Peterson.

The students in the AVID class at Newfane find the elective helpful, along with being fun.

“It makes us more prepared for college,” sophomore Emily Thompson said.

Being prepared for college is a necessity for any high school student who is planning to attend after graduation. But the AVID students were interviewed and chosen by guidance counselors at the middle school during eighth grade. As a result, they now have higher averages, and the class gives them the self-confidence needed to succeed.

Haliegh Seeloff is a sophomore at Newfane High School.

“I like that you get to voice your opinions and talk about controversial topics, knowing your voice is going to be heard.”

– Paulette Peterson, sophomore, Newfane High School