AVID Student and Eureka High Sophomore, Baba Lee, Wins 2 Writing Competitions

Baba Lee won the Regional AVID Write-Off Contest for 2010 in his grade level. The topic this year was “Save Me a Spot in College.” The AVID team has participated in this contest every year, but this was the first year they used the same topic as the scholarship completion to encourage students to enter both. We are all proud of his achievement. Baba Lee, and his teacher, Aleen Arbaugh, received recognition and gift certificates from Barnes & Noble for the AVID competition, and Baba also received a $500. scholarship for winning the second competition.  Arbaugh said these were the most inspiring papers to read this year, “every student in each of the AVID classes wrote a paper and the team of teachers were so supportive with regard to lesson planning and prompts that it went off without a hitch.”

When Arbaugh taught AVID at Zane Middle School, she was the only AVID teacher.  “Having the support of a team of teachers who are all teaching the same subject and love the curriculum is inspiring. The students motivate each other and all of the teachers contribute to every student’s success, Baba’s success is a direct result of his efforts and the support the entire team gives. Baba started with a great paper from the beginning, but all of the papers went through three drafts and a lot of editing. Students got out the red pencils and went over each other’s papers and teachers edited them at least two times.”

The content of every student’s paper including Baba’s paper was amazing; these students are the first of their families to plan to go to college and graduate. Their internal “pep talks” came through with style and grace, and the AVID team all shared some of each of their classes’ papers with the other team members. “The only thing I asked Baba to add after the first reading was something personal," Arbaugh said.  "He asked me what I meant and I told him that his parents probably wanted him to succeed and go further than they had in life, so how about adding something related to that. Then he looked off into the distance and quoted his father repeating the lines that I believe are the most inspiring ones of the piece. It brought tears to my eyes, and immediately I said, Baba, that goes in the paper!”

It is a real joy to teach these students and an even greater one to learn from them.  Their enthusiasm is so infectious that everyone who has heard or read any of these papers comments about the students’ work ethic, and determination.  Baba’s paper especially is a tribute to study, academic goals, and dedication. It's also a warning against wasting time, drugs, and lack of motivation.  The students all clapped when his paper was read aloud. They are a super group of students who are genuinely happy when something good happens to another student.

AVID North Coast, Region 1
Write Off 2010 Winner
Baba Lee, Eureka High School
AVID 10, Ms. Arbaugh

Reaching the Stars

Education is the ultimate experience of life
Through the mind and character.
Usually Education is passed down from generations.

But my parents never had an Education.
Instead they ran for their lives.
Ran not to be crushed like weeds
Ran across the ocean
Ran for the hope of freedom
Ran with the fear of dying
Ran with no Education.

And ended up in the US.
Hoping to receive an Education.
Hoping that we will succeed.
Hoping that one day our lives,
Our lives would bloom like a flower.

But even with this hope and dream,
He failed to finish college.
Dropped out, due to the lack of Education
And he once said in his own words to me,

“Your grandfather has worked in the fields in
Laos with no Education.
Out of this, he sent me to school,
But with the lack of experience
With the lack of education,
I have failed.
Still, I have walked through barriers and walls
And ended up here.

Your grandfather’s feet have been
On the ground.
My feet are now on a rock.
And do you know where Yours have to be?
Yours have to be on a Mountain.
Higher than your grandfather and me
And your children
Should be higher than you.
They should be touching the sky
With their hands.
And their children’s children.
Should reach the Stars.”

The path that lies ahead of us
Is filled with many complications.
We will face many challenges
Many Obstacles
Many walls and barriers,
But my peers, and I,
The Class of 2012
We are the New Beginning.
We are not like others
Who sits around the couch
Playing Xbox 360
Doing drugs, alcohol, and procrastinating.

Our minds
Are filled with determination
Our eyes
Are filled with passion
Our hearts
Are filled with Courage
To become our Dreams
Whether a Lawyer, a Doctor,
An Engineer, or an Astronomer,
Whatever we desire.
We are ready to take on anything.

Because, every step that we take
Every moment that we make
Every breath that we breathe
Every blink of our eyes
Takes us one step closer to our goal.

Doors will open.
Darkness will be filled with light.
Dreams will be fulfilled.
We are the future.

Determination, Courage, Self-Confidence
And Dreams are our characteristics.
So hear our screams,
“We are the one in a million,
So save us a spot in college!”