TPHS Foundation-sponsored AVID program supports local students’ academic and career success


“Not just a class. An opportunity for success,” said Bianca Allende Boyd, a participant in the TPHS AVID program. Boyd is just one of hundreds of students at Torrey Pines who have taken part in this college preparation program since its inception at Torrey Pines in 1995. Twenty-nine AVID students recently toured California colleges, such as CSU Channel Islands, Occidental, University of La Verne, and UC Santa Cruz from Nov. 1 - 4.

Boyd continued, “I felt like I have been able to achieve academic success and go to college with the help of the Torrey Pines AVID program.”

Endorsed and funded by the Torrey Pines High School Foundation, AVID is a district-supported program that greatly enhances quality of learning for those who need it. Standing for “Advancement Via Individual Determination,” AVID seeks out students starting from middle school who have the potential for greater academic success but need help to achieve it. Through personal one-on-one tutoring and AVID elective classes, students are educated and prepared on how to be eligible for college.

Studies show that AVID students have almost double the college acceptance rate as compared to other high school students, showing the effectiveness of AVID to close the opportunity gap between socioeconomic statuses.

Both Nancy Hung Choy and Amy O’Brien are former graduates of TPHS who had tremendous success after AVID. Hung Choy earned a BS in aerospace engineering in 2011 from Cal Poly SLO and an MS in electrical engineering from USC in 2012. Aerospace giant Boeing bought a blimp design Hung Choy created her senior year that flew from Los Angeles to Tokyo. She is now working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.

O’Brien was was raised in a low-income environment by a single mother and participated in AVID since middle school. Throughout her middle to high school years, she was able to learn and be helped by the AVID program, eventually leading to her achieving academic success. O’Brien became an AP student who attended an Ivy League school, Brown University, and then Harvard Medical School in 2016. She now works as a resident in pediatric anesthesiology, able to help and support her community through medicine.

Another example of the altruistic qualities of AVID lies within Solana Beach native Melissa Martinez. A participant of AVID since middle school, she became a first generation college student within her family and went on to be an AVID tutor to others. Inspired by her younger sister’s condition of autism, Martinez pursued occupational therapy and is now a program supervisor of the ABA Education Foundation, a foundation dedicated to helping children with developmental disabilities to learn.

“A program as dedicated to student quality of life and education deserves recognition and funding,” stated Torrey Pines AVID Coordinator Rosa Velasquez aka “Ms V.”

“Without the Foundation’s funding through donor support, we would not have been able to take students on our recent college campus tour. The students and I are incredibly grateful.” — News release