Head of the Class

Head of the Class

AVID holds career mentoring day.


Community leaders from across the city joined together at Jefferson-Houston Elementary School to participate in the Student Leadership 101 Roundtable for middle school students as part of the AVID college-readiness program.

AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a nonprofit program designed to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in college. The program places special emphasis on growing writing, critical thinking, teamwork, organization and reading skills. 

“Today is an opportunity for community leaders to spend some quality time with our students,” said Jim Paige, Executive Director of Concerned Citizens Network of Alexandria and sponsor of the Jan. 27 event. We have about 25 community leaders here and our goal is for the students to get to know them personally.”

Deron Campbell, Director of Community Health Programs for Inova Alexandria, was on hand to talk about a career in the healthcare industry.

“I am engaging the youth at Jefferson-Houston Middle school on behalf of Inova and the Dream Big  program, which focuses on exposing youth to health care careers that are underrepresented by race and ethnicity,” Campbell said. “Our goal is to increase diversity in the healthcare workforce.”

Also from Inova was Dr. Tiffany Latham.

“Today we are inspiring kids to do their best, to pursue careers and answer their questions as it relates to career planning and focusing on school and college,” Latham said. “As a healthcare provider, I am here to hopefully inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals.”

Bobbie Cohen, president of the local Hosts Lions Club and retired registered nurse, was asked about qualifications to go into nursing by 7th grader Brianna Martinez.

“I told her to keep her grades up and to not be scared of blood,” Cohen said. “I also told the students that they need to be a people person – you have to love people to go into nursing.”

Jodie Peters, AVID district director for Alexandria City Public Schools, said that AVID and ACPS have had a partnership for 13 years.

“Schools choose to partner with the organization to promote college and career readiness for students who may not normally have college in their path,” Peters said. “It’s an opportunity to not only support students but to support families to understand what it means to go to school in the United States, to understand two- and four-year degree pathways, to have students take part in things they might not necessarily be a part of on their own.”

Seventh grade student Milan Stephen attended the program to get guidance on pursuing a career as a performing arts teacher and interviewer.

“Communication is really key in life,” Stephen said. “Especially in college because you have to work in big groups to get things done.”

Peters praised the partnership with the CCNA for the success of the program.

“With this partnership with CCNA and all of the networks they are connected to, they have made it so Jefferson-Houston AVID can have ongoing partnership opportunities like this event,” Peters added. “This exposes students to a number of different career fields and they can talk and hear from experts in those fields and really hear the true journey of these careers.”


“Today is an opportunity for community leaders to spend some quality time with our students.”

— CCNA executive director Jim Paige