By Madeline Alvarez, Staff Writer
While most high school seniors have their parents or close relatives follow them on their college search, sophomore TaTy’Terria Gary had the entire country watching her. In 2016, the New York Times began to document her experience.
Gary was interviewed with two other students from Topeka High School in a series that explored their perseverance in actualizing their dreams for a higher education. All three students were involved in AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), which is a course that prepares middle school and high school students to be successful in college.
One year into her college career, Gary has made her final update with the New York Times and is the only one out of the three followed students currently still in college.
Gary said her transition to Newman as a freshman was made smooth with the help of AVID, which she joined in the seventh grade.
Through AVID, students learn things such as how to fill out their FAFSA forms, how to take detailed notes in class, and how much time to spend studying each day.
“Just those different things, I feel, kind of put me ahead of the curve,” Gary said. “Because it wasn’t like I was starting these new initiatives, but rather continuing them in a different setting. So, the transition, I would say, was easier.”
Gary said that she went through an interview process in order to be a part of AVID.
“It really wasn’t like a job interview kind of thing,” she said, “It was like, ‘These are the requirements for this class. Do you feel like you can handle the workload? Can you handle taking honors classes and really pushing yourself to do your best?’”
Gary said that AVID provided her the opportunity of having “someone constantly telling you the value of a higher education, and not only telling you that it’s important, but showing you how to achieve that goal of getting a higher education and giving you the tools to be successful.”
Gary said that, although AVID did a wonderful job of preparing her for studying in college, one thing that it could not provide her with was preparation for her college experience.
“You have to make your own experiences,” Gary said.
Gary said that her time at Newman has been a great experience.
“I feel like I get the help that I need. I like that it’s a small, tight-knit community. All my professors are really nice. I love my classes.”
Gary is majoring in biology with a concentration in pre-medicine and plans to later become an OB/GYN.
PHOTO: TATY’TERRIA GARY'S college search was documented by the New York Times. Courtesy photo, the New York Times.