AVID Program 

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a nonprofit that changes lives by helping schools shift to a more equitable, student-centered approach. 

Friendship House CEO,  local basketball legend speaks to RHS AVID students

A strong work ethic, persistence, and a willingness to fail are all important aspects of success, Marcellus Sommerville, Friendship House CEO told students recently when he visited Richwoods High School students enrolled in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID).


Being willing to fail is difficult because students don’t want to let their parents down, but failure is how you learn, Sommerville continued.


Sommerville was a Peoria High School basketball star and part of the Bradley University 2005-2006 team that made the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. He then spent 14 years playing overseas, including nine years in Paris. After retiring from professional basketball, Sommerville returned to Peoria to establish a youth sports academy and in 2020 was named CEO of Peoria Friendship House.


In a question and answer with Tyler Padera’s AVID class, Sommerville encouraged students to become involved in their community and told them about opportunities at Friendship House to volunteer and after-school opportunities. The organization has a newly renovated gym for after-school programs, as well as academic tutoring with mentors from Bradley University and Illinois Central College.