Former Memorial High School student Matida Bojang is the first student to attend medical school after completing The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, which aims to support low-income and disadvantaged learners to become college and career ready.
MMSD students must apply to the program, which supplies them with crucial educational skills like note taking and learning comprehension. MMSD partners with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County on another part of the program called Teens of Promise (TOPS), which provides student support outside of the classroom. Enrolled students must take an AVID elective course, which prepares them for post-secondary education.
Bojang joined AVID as a sophomore at Memorial, just years after immigrating to the U.S. from Gambia. Since then, she’s graduated from UW-Milwaukee and is now finishing her first semester of medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Memorial physical education teacher Jason Rogers worked with Bojang as her AVID teacher.
“The structure of the AVID program was an amazing fit for her,” Rogers said. “The notetaking structure, the campus visits, and the dedication it took to reflect on her past while moving forward toward her future was great. She was mature beyond her years.”
Bojang is also the president and co-founder of the Mbama Care Foundation, which provides aid to Gambian communities facing maternal and infant mortality. Two years ago, Bojang visited Rogers during an AVID class reunion, excitedly telling him about all her future goals.
Rogers’ said his time as an AVID teacher allowed him to grow as an educator, noting the importance of setting learning objectives and reviewing key takeaways with students at the end of each class. He also had the opportunity to see students grow throughout their time in the program.
“I’ve been at Memorial for 12 years, and I’ve cried three times here … The third was at the AVID ceremony when the class graduated,” Rogers said. “You really give that much heart into the students. They’re kids, they’re going to make mistakes, but they’re also going to shine.”