Make the Best of Your Opportunities

Avionna Burns

Setting goals can be a challenge at any age, particularly when you are a high school student. With many demands and distractions, it’s not the easiest challenge to complete classwork while thinking about a college and a career. Yet, many students who realize setting goals is the road map to achieve your aspirations take on the challenge early.

One of those students is eighteen-year-old Avionna Burns. Recognizing what she wanted when she was 16, Avionna graduated in May 2019 with her high school diploma from Forsyth Tech Middle College and an Associate degree in Arts from Forsyth Tech.

Forsyth Tech Middle College is a partnership with the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, and is designed for rising high school juniors and seniors who want to take college courses while still in high school. Acceptance into the program requires college placement testing and an interview. However, once accepted, the benefits for students include smaller class size, personalized attention and free college tuition and textbooks.

Burns started at Paisley International Baccalaureate (IB) Magnet School in the 6th grade and continued through the 10th grade. Before her junior year, she elected to enroll at Middle College and is happy she did.

“That first summer was rigorous as I was completing my IB classes while enrolled in online Forsyth Tech classes,” said Burns. Yet, she explained, “You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.”

In her final semester for middle college, Burns took one high school journalism class and five college classes. (Public Speaking, Spanish 111, Macro Economics, English 112 and American Government). Avionna has a 3.9 GPA in her college classes (making only one B) and a 4.4 GPA in high school classes. She has been on the President’s List all semesters.

If her class schedule sounds demanding, that was just her weekday mornings. “Volunteerism is at the core of what I believe and I want to share it,” said Burns. “I think you should make the most of every opportunity.”

Burns served as President of the National Honor Society; Vice President of the Middle College Student Government Association; was involved with the Global Scholars Program at Forsyth Tech; participated in Delta Sigma Theta’s Growing and Empowering Myself Successfully (G.E.M.S.) program; participated in Winston-Salem State University’s Math, Science and Engineering Network program; tutored at Bolton Elementary School; volunteered at Sunnyside Ministries; served as the vice chairman for the Winston-Salem Youth Advisory Council; and was the 2019 recipient of the City of Winston-Salem Human Relations Department Student Award.

Not surprisingly, she also founded the Community Service and Scholarship Club at Middle College to help other students discover opportunities for community service and scholarships.

Burns’ future plans include getting her bachelor’s degree in economics with a double minor in journalism and political science and then going on to law school.

“I would like to become a civil rights attorney and maybe dabble in politics,” said Burns with a smile.

With her track record, it’s a good probability she will accomplish every single one of these goals.