RBHS hosts Advance Placement luncheon

Photo+by+Daphne+Yu

Photo by Daphne Yu

Daphne Yu

Students who decide to take AP classes next year have a chance to prepare for the AP exam at the end of the year. RBHS principal Mark Maus said learning skills needed to succeed after college is just as important as doing well on the test. Photo by Daphne Yu
Students who decide to take Advanced Placement classes next year have a chance to prepare for the AP exam at the end of the year. RBHS principal Mark Maus said learning skills needed to succeed after college is just as important as doing well on the test. Photo by Daphne Yu
During lunch Friday, Jan. 25, RBHS invited more than 50 sophomores and juniors during both A and B lunches to a pizza party in the Performing Arts Center for the first time. Students who attended are those taking Advanced Placement classes next year.
In a survey the district sent to students in November 2012, those invited today indicated they had an interest in the AP courses, though some were unsure what an “AP course” actually meant, RBHS principal Mark Maus said.
“When I think about what’s [at RBHS] and how many kids take AP classes and how successful they are and how high our students achieve, the survey gave us an opportunity to look at some students who maybe wanted to do that, some students that may not know about AP. There was an information gap,” Maus said. Students and parents “didn’t have the information … and when you give them the information or when you give parents the information, then they’re like, ‘Oh, I might want my kid to take that.’ [In AP classes, students] get skills that I don’t know that parents know they get while engaged in [the class]. It’s not just all about the test at the end.”
Maus said he speaks from experience because he graduated from a small high school where there were no AP classes available. Maus said taking AP classes can help improve communication, reading and other skills that prepare students for post-secondary education and having that experience in high school is very helpful.
Under the guidance of AP Coordinator Betsy Jones, sophomores and juniors were able to speak to current AP students about what is involved in an AP class, including senior Eryn Wanyonyi, who has taken AP World History, U.S. History and Language.
“I just wanted them to get a realistic depiction of what it’s like to be in AP Classes,” Wanyonyi said. When she was deciding whether to take AP classes or not, she had “just heard that it was going to be really difficult, and when I got there, it didn’t end up being that difficult; you might have to do  some extra reading, learn to come to different conclusions. You have to learn to write in a different way, but once you learn to do that, it’s not that bad. I’m definitely glad I stuck to taking AP.”
Maus did not want students who were unsure about taking AP classes to not put them on their schedule and not be able to challenge themselves, which is why RBHS scheduled the luncheon close to when schedules had to be turned in. This way, he said, students would have a chance to discuss course choices with their counselors during their individual advisement sessions.
Junior Max Miller was one of the students invited to the meeting, and because he had never taken any AP classes, he said he had worries about what the classes would mean in terms of workload.
“I was a little nervous coming in because I didn’t really want to take an AP class that much,” Miller said. “I was concerned about the amount of work that there was, but they say if you stay on top of it, there’s not that much.”
Wanyonyi said the main point of today was to send the message that there is always the option of taking the classes as long as one is willing to put in the work. It is never too late to get involved, Wanyonyi said, especially if students know what career they want to pursue in the future and if they plan on attaining a post-secondary education.
“We hopefully alleviated some fears, because you get a different answer from a teacher than you do from your peer, someone who has gone through the class recently,” Wanyonyi said. “Some people think there has to be some special … standard you have to be at to be able to take these classes, and that’s really not the case.”
By Daphne Yu
Have you ever taken an AP class? What was the experience like and would you recommend it?