Many incoming juniors and seniors, and even some sophomores, are having to decide whether or not they want to take on the challenge of an AP class. Even with the incentive of college credit and the admiration of their peers, most realize that these more advanced classes are formidable trials: college prep.
AP classes, or Advanced Placement classes, are meant to introduce high-achieving students into what college level classes will feel like. They require more work, more time, and more energy to prepare students for AP tests. These tests are given in May of each year and are meant to judge whether one understood all of the relevant material in the class. If a student scores a “3” or above on one of these tests, they may be exempt from the comparable pre-requisite class in college. This can save a lot of money, and with college tuition rising, this can help lower costs for families.
Next year, a change that juniors and seniors can expect is that Rebecca McCabe will be teaching AP Spanish, instead of Randy Darr. Spanish 4 will not be offered due to of a lack of student interest. However, for students excited about the prospect to advance their Spanish skills, Miss McCabe says, ”AP can be challenging, with more of it’s emphasis on reading and writing, but Mr. Darr has assured me that his students are always prepared for the AP test.”
Also, there will be an AP French Class, taught by Sylvie Bezine. It is an excellent way for students taking French 3 to gain more experience reading and writing.
Likewise, students who are more artistically inclined will enjoy taking AP Studio Art, in which they can learn to express themselves in creative, unique ways.
One of the two advanced science classes offered next year, AP Biology, is a great way for students already interested the sciences to broaden their knowledge of biology. Gianna Lapioli, a junior currently taking the class, told The Claw, “I really liked the experience I got from the class; it is challenging, but worth it!”
The other class, AP Physics, is the study of principles that govern the physical world around us. Although challenging, Max Noble, a junior currently enrolled in the course says, “AP Physics can be stressful but always really satisfying when you solve an extremely hard problem.”
Students with a more analytical mind may want to take the advanced math classes. One of them, AP Calculus, is only a class for the brave of heart because of the rigorous material. Taught by Laurie Shipley, this class delves into the finer points of mathematics and teaches students new and interesting way to solving difficult problems.
Another advanced mathematics class being taught next year is AP Statistics. Unlike calculus, statistics is concerned more with the analysis and organization of data, rather than solving mathematical equations.
Many may be heading in the liberal arts direction, which is an excellent program at SLVHS. For bold juniors, APELAC, or AP English Language and Composition, is a great class to hone one’s writing skills and appreciate different writing from history. Senior Chloe Zehr, who took APELAC in 2015-2016, stated that “Mrs. Darrough gave me a ‘metaphorical’ foundation and structure for writing directly and allowed me to explore how to fill that space. It was so gratifying and so frustrating. I loved it.”
Furthermore, for those history buffs, AP U.S. History is the class to take junior year. Students dive into specific texts and examples that provide a comprehensive knowledge of this country’s history from the founding to what is happening today.
For seniors, English Literature and Composition is taught by Dave Poetzinger. This focuses on interesting texts and writings from different parts of history. Students will learn how to write directly, and how to analyze what they read.
Also, AP Government is geared towards students interested in how democracy functions on a day to day basis.
AP’s can seem like an impossible endeavor, but for a student with the motivation, drive, and work ethic, they can open up one’s mind to ideas and concepts that one might never have thought of.
by Aiden LeRoux