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Madison Metropolitan School District

Eighth Grade AVID Student Presents to 5,000 Educators at National Conference

The days leading up to her speech at the AVID national conference this summer, rising eighth grade student at Wright Middle School Mari Sobota shared that she started feeling nervous.

“But who wouldn't be?” Sobota said. “It’s a huge step of confidence to me and makes me incredibly proud to share.” 

Sobota spoke in front of 5,000 educators at the 2022 AVID Summer Institute in San Diego, where she shared her story of overcoming self-doubt, personal challenges, and finding community, belonging, and success in her AVID Elective Class. She also encouraged educators to create an inclusive, welcoming, and challenging environment for all students.

“I really hope my speech showed how AVID helped me academically, even though I am an upper class white female,” Sobota said. “It was such a crazy and wonderful experience in the end, and I am extremely grateful I was chosen to do it.”

AVID is designed for students who might not be realizing their full potential in middle school, but who are motivated to be strong students and dream of attending a four-year college. The daily class teaches students crucial academic and organizational skills, plus opportunities to visit colleges, connect with community leaders, and meet with mentors. 

Entering sixth grade, Sobota had not fully considered her future goals, MMSD Director of College and Career Readiness Langston Evans said.

“Joining the AVID Elective Class changed the game for Mari and opened her mind to a future of possibilities,” Evans said. 

AVID introduced Sobota to more routes she could take after high school than she could imagine. She’s learned how to study in multiple ways, and become more organized when taking notes.

“AVID is like a helping hand that should forever be open to anyone no matter what,” Sobota said. “It’s a group of ongoing leaders and learners for support and awesomeness!”