Etcetera - 03/24/11

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Walla Walla High School, in coordination with WSU Gear Up, presented the Advancement Via Individual Determination recognition night dinner and awards ceremony March 3 at the Wa-Hi Commons.

AVID student speakers were Brittani Stocke, Viviana Castillo, Yvonne Segovia and Rubi Villegas. Veronica Sandau was guest speaker. The dinner was provided by Gear Up Program. A number of academic certificates were passed out at the event.

AVID is an elementary through post-secondary college readiness system that is designed to increase school-wide learning and performance, the March 4 Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review reported.

Nearly 100 students participate in the AVID program and many will be the first in their families to attend college.

The academic and social enrichment program is an elective class based on best practices for teaching and learning. Through AVID, students can participate in college visits, listen to local and regional guest speakers, learn skills to improve note taking and study habits and get involved in school projects to enhance their leadership development.

"AVID is not a Hispanic program, but we tend to have a number of Hispanic students participating, so it's a great way to connect with students and their families," said Mike Gobel, Walla Walla High School math and AVID teacher. "This program allows students to see the hope and dream of going to college is a reality and something they can accomplish."

Students talked openly how the AVID program and teachers have enhanced their high school experience and opened doors to a brighter future. Student speakers said AVID is about hope, self determination and people who care. For more details, see www.avid.org.

To expand on Wednesday's Etcetera column, the Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City Affiliation Committee has joined contributing organizations of SeattleJapanRelief.org, said Robert Keatts, committee chairman.

Donations for Japan Relief may be made via seattlejapanrelief.com/ because "the fewer hands money goes through, the quicker it aids and benefits those in need."

Japanese-American and Japan-related cultural, educational and civic organizations united to form SeattleJapanRelief. They are "standing together to promote relief and recovery following the devastating earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan," Robert said. The organization strives to quickly mobilize funds in support of immediate relief efforts. "They are also steadfast in their resolve to remain involved with long-term recovery efforts." SeattleJapanRelief.org seattlejapanrelief.com/ is a conduit for the community to pool its resources and donate to the relief and recovery effort in Japan, he said. SeattleJapanRelief.org does not collect any money directly.

All donations are made to American Red Cross, Peace Winds America or the YMCA. Individuals here can utilize the website to donate to the recovery and relief efforts under way in Japan. "If you do make a donation through seattlejapanrelief.org, Walla Walla - Sasayama Sister City Affiliation Committee would like you to list their organization name in the space provided in the charitable organization of your choice." For more details, contact Robert at robert_wwscc@yahoo.com or 525-0049.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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