CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — As the traditional calendar school year comes to a close, high school seniors are thinking about their plans after graduation. Some of those plans include going to college, which can be costly.
Two students at East Chapel Hill High School, Nick Kurgat and Ivonne Becerra-Morales, are preparing to go that route. Lucky for them, they have been awarded college scholarships from the Monet Richardson Community Foundation.
The foundation helps students in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program. The initiative started after Pat Richardson lost her daughter Krissy in 2021, who also attended East Chapel Hill High School and was a part of the AVID program.
“Just to see that joy in their faces of all their hardworking paying off, it really makes a difference, it really encourages me to continue to do this good work, and it makes me hungry to continue to fundraise,” Richardson said.
AVID is a part of a national effort to close the opportunity gap by preparing students for college and success in the future. Both Kurgat and Becerra-Morales said the program improved their study habits, learn time management skills and the overall college process. They said, although there were challenges with more work, it was all worth it in the end.
Kurgat has been in the program for seven years. He plans to attend Appalachian State University and major in business.
“That’s why I’ve worked hard in school to keep my grades up, so I can go to a school that I like, and I also just want to have that experience. Both of my parents went to college, and so I think it would be very impactful for me,” Kurgat said.
Becerra-Morales has been in the AVID program since sixth grade and is planning to go to community college after graduating. She has some ideas about what she would like to major in, like being a vet, a dental assistant or a business owner.
“My family does have a business, we have a family business, so I would really love going into the business accountability to help our business grow and just give us benefits, but as well as, the end goal is to have my own business myself,” Becerra-Morales said. “So, maybe like, my own ice cream shop, since that is what our family business is.”
The seniors will be recognized for their accomplishments and winning the scholarships at an awards ceremony on May 24.