90 middle school students “sign” for college prep program

Ardmore Middle School’s AVID students didn’t sign their lives away Tuesday afternoon, but they may very well have been signing up for a better one.
For the first time in the history of the program, Ardmore Middle School had a signing party. Students, along with their parents, arrived at the school cafeteria to sign contracts for the elective college preparatory program designed for students in the academic middle. Those 90 kids in grades 6 through 8 also took a picture in cap and gown making clear the goal of the program — produce college graduates.
“AVID is a college readiness program where we take students in the middle academically and provide support in tutoring and study skills to better prepare them for college,” AVID site coordinator Tina Vercelli said.
Vercelli said 90 is the typical program number. A majority of the students in 7th and 8th grade have been in the program before. To qualify, several factors are considered which include test scores, socioeconomic status and whether the student is the first in the family to go to college.
Each of the AVID students signed a contract that ensured they understood the criteria for the program, which included maintaining their grade point average as well as good citizenship.
Among the first to sign was 6th grade student Janiel Hall.
“I want to be accepted into a college,” she said. “I want to be a doctor at the University of Oklahoma.”
Hall said science is her favorite subject because she likes to do experiments.
As part of the program, students learn about college requirements and study skills, they take part in tutorials and must take one advanced class. Brayden Goodman, an 8th grade student, was more focused on his immediate future in the classroom as he took part in the signing party.
“I want to do better in school,” he said. “Last year, I didn’t do really good. I think it will help me out and I want to make A’s and B’s.”
Goodman said he wants to attend college to play football but has not yet decided what he would like to study.
As the students had their pictures taken, parents stood by taking it all in. Josh and Laura Bivens were present for their daughter McKensi, who is entering the 6th grade.
“This is our second year in Ardmore,” Josh Bivens said. “It’s been a change for the better I think. We are very excited.”
Laura Bivens noted her daughter, who attended a private school in Norman prior to arriving in Ardmore, was also excited. And as parents, the Bivens considered the possible academic impact.
“We think it will give her more of an opportunity,” Laura Bivens said.