Monday, April 21, 2008

Sigonella AP Exam Information

 AP tests at Sigonella will be given on the following dates:

Wednesday, May 7, Calculus AB (7:45 AM  – Noon).

Thursday, May 8, English Literature (7:45  AM  – Noon).

Friday, May 9, US History (7:45  AM – Noon).

Monday, May 12, Biology (7:45  AM  – Noon).

Monday, May 12, Physics B (Noon – 4:00  PM )

Wednesday, May 14, English Language (7:45  AM  - Noon).

Wednesday, May 14, Italian Language and Culture (7:45  AM  – Noon ).


 The morning sessions will finish by noon and the afternoon one by 15:30 or 16:00.  Students testing in the morning will be expected to attend their 13:05 classes.  


If you have questions, contact school counselor Margie Ascierto.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lost in America Highlights AVID, DoDEA Schools

There's a big problem in America: "Last year 1.2 million American students dropped out of high school without receiving their diplomas.

Read about that problem and the "models" that are NOT failing children.  Two of them are AVID and DoDEA schools.

"To keep big-dreaming students on the track for college, some schools have instituted university-based mentoring programs (see sidebar articles) and grant programs like AVID and GEAR UP. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is designed to help selected students from underrepresented populations, often first-generation college-goers, navigate the college application labyrinth."


"Yet DoDEA children typically perform well in school. 'We found a deep commitment to education and training. Although the parents tend to hold a high school diploma only, they want more for their kids,' Smrekar says. 'Instead of conditions of disengagement, we found instances of integration, support, and a seamless webbing between school and home.'

"DoDEA schools tend to be smaller than comparable public schools, particularly middle schools, where adolescents usually begin to fall away. 'Faculty members have this incredibly deep level of professionalism and dedication,' Smrekar says. 'There’s an exceptional sense of community in these schools, so kids can’t be anonymous. They can’t get lost.'

Read the entire article on Vanderbilt University's magazine site:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Middle School AVID Study Trip

On Tuesday, March 25, 2008, the middle school AVID classes and our teachers, Ms. Sibayan and Ms. Pienta, and tutor Ms. Vary, accompanied by rented senior Patrick Felia, went on a study trip to Catania. First, we went to Elephant Square, where we toured St. Agatha Cathedral. Next we took a walk though the fish market and explored the streets of Catania, where we saw a garden that was in a monastery. Then we saw the Ursino Castle. Next we saw a second church that was still decorated for Easter and contained the candelore from the St. Agatha festival. Next we had lunch at the worlds most beautiful McDonalds (or the most beautiful one most of us had ever seen). Then we explored the ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheater. We walked down Via Etnea to Piazza Universita and stopped for pictures and a snack. Then we went shopping in Elephant Square. Next we walked all around the Palazzo Biscari to see the Baroque architecture. That concluded our great day in Catania.

By Sara J., AVID 7th grader

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Carlo Meets AVID Founder!

Carlo A. was the lucky student who happened to be working at the commissary as AVID Founder Mary Catherine Swanson came through with Ms. Pienta. Carlo had a conversation with Mary Catherine and her husband about the schools in California where he has been accepted and where he might go to school. Congratulations to Carlo, by the way, on his latest acceptances--UC Irvine and George Mason University in Virginia!

Sigonella Grad Speaks to AVID

Recently, Diane Abcede, a 2006 graduate of Sigonella High School, took time out of her spring break in Sicily to speak to the high school AVID classes. Her own brother, Carlo, is a senior in AVID this year.

Diane attends the University of California at Irvine and is double majoring in pyschology and sociology. She also belongs to an Asian sorority, works part-time at a call center, and plays club soccer for recreation.

Diane, who was one of the top students in her graduating class at Sigonella, described her transition to college life and college-level coursework. She recommended living in a dorm in order to meet people, especially if you are a DoDDS student and don't know anyone at your new school. She advised students to always go to class, because it is easy to lose focus if you don't and will have long-term consequences. She told students about her large general ed classes of 200-300 students and how important it was to attend, take lots of notes, and stay organized. She advised getting to know your professors, even though you would have to seek them out. She talked about the frustrations of living far from family and of not being the straight-A student she was in high school. Diane told students to build their high school resumes now by focusing on academics and leadership in extra-curriculars.

Some of the questions that students asked Diane concerned such diverse topics as the benefits of a sorority, the size of dorms, the best majors, adjusting to roommates, financing college, and coping with the transition.

Diane described the costs of college and how she and her family are paying for it. She said that food (outside of the meal plan) is a major expense because "food is a social activity." When you meet someone to talk or even study, food may be involved. "Watch out for the Freshman 15," she told students.

We are very happy to have had Diane take the time to talk to both of our AVID classes. Diane was and AVID student herself for one year when she was in high school, and she still used the organizational techniques to stay organized. She described herself as "highly organized."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

AVID Flashback--2004

Recognize two AVID seniors in this photo from Ms. Sibayan's 8th grade AVID in 2004?

Guest Speakers Give Advice to AVID Students

Amber Morris and Trevor Rhodes

On March 4, 2008, our AVID class had the delight of being able to meet and hear from Trevor Rhodes, a guest speaker. Our class instantly became fascinated by him, especially because he was the stepson of one of our tutors. Also, when we heard that he had lived in Sigonella and even graduated here, many of us had questions for him. We learned that he is currently studying at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He runs the skate park for the city of Wilmington and designs programs for them. What I found interesting about him was how he was able to combine his favorite hobbies with work. Rhodes told us how much he had enjoyed snowboarding, surfing, and skating in his earlier years. Now he works at a place he can be happy and still earn money. He also left our AVID class with some advice. He told us to find a path or service to give to other people and to look at what we like to do. Our class enjoyed hearing from him and learning some things about his life. We also found out that he had the same teachers we ahve now. Trevor Rhodes showed our class that living overseas an benefit you in the future.

By Aica D., 10th grade AVID

Amber Morris grew up in Delaware and loved going to the ocean. She graduated in 2002 with not the best grades and appied to six different colleges. All the colleges she applied to were near a beach. She thought that since she loved being near the ocean, she would go to grad school for marine biology. She thought that she would be in the enviornment seeing what she was learning, but she was wrong. Most of her time was spent in a classroom looking at things in jars. She is now twenty-seven years old and stil in school for marine biology. She said that in high school she was able to just get by, but when she got to college, she had to buckle down and even had to learn new study habits. She highly recommended that you keep your grades up if you are going to college and aren't sure what you want to major in because if you don't know what to major in, your grades will be looked at more closely.

By Summer G., 11th grade AVID

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"BRATS--Our Journey Home"

This highly acclaimed and informative documentary about DoDDS kids from the 1940s till now will be re-broadcast on AFN during April, the Month of the Military Child. Here are the times and places:

AFN-Family April 13 at 8:00 PM local time
AFN-Family April 14 at 2:00 AM local time
AFN-Spectrum April 16 at 12:00 PM local time

If you have never seen this, I highly recommend it.

Two More College Acceptances!

Congratulations to AVID seniors Kevin R. (left), recently accepted at Virginia Tech, and Carlo A. (right), accepted at University of the Pacific in California. Nice job, guys!!

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