Building bridges for the future


photo by Cassi Viox

Grace Vance

From the time he was in first grade, junior Adam Cox-Irvin dreamed of becoming a historian. He found history, etched into time, a wonder all it’s own, spending hours researching and exploring the past.
“I found that I had a real passion for looking at battles and how those types of things work,” Cox-Irvin said.
Though he admired the historian mindset of dissecting the past, Cox-Irvin’s fascination with history gave way in his eighth grade year to a different passion: engineering.
During his sophomore year he took the Robotics 1 class at the CACC (Columbia Area Career Center) and fell in love with its concepts and principles.
“I was surprised at how well I did, considering I was more of a history, philosopher type of person, whereas I had the mindset to really excel in that class” Cox-Irvin said. “Over the year, I actually realized how much I like solving problems. I think that is what shifted my mindset.”
Cox-Irvin isn’t alone in using high school classes as a catalyst for future endeavors. Senior Zoya Khan aspires to work in the medical field. Rather than taking CACC classes to prepare for her future, Khan has turned to AP (Advanced Placement) classes instead.
“You get a lot of college credit from [AP classes]. Most colleges accept fours and fives [on the AP test.] I thought if I got that on my test, then I could use the credit in college,” Khan said. “A lot of the colleges I’m looking at want really rigorous course work. That’s also why I took AP Biology and AP Chemistry, because those are good if you want to go into the medical field.”
While AP classes may provide enhanced preparation for future careers, they can require strenuous amounts of time. Although AP classes can require a lot of work for students, AP Biology teacher Kerri Graham believes the effort can be worth it.
Around 82 percent of college students report that if their secondary education had required more rigorous standards, they would have put forth more effort, therefore achieving better grades, according to an article from Public School Review.
With both college credit and helpful learning strategies at student disposal, Graham believes these classes hold a lot of opportunity.
“I think the purpose of having AP classes is a kind of twofold. I think the first is just to have that opportunity to earn college credit, which is a huge advantage,” Graham said. “The other is just to get that experience of being in a college class while still having a little extra support.”
Just as AP classes can shape career opportunities, CACC classes do as well. Without the CACC’s career-based mindset regarding education, Cox-Irvin believes the trajectory of his future would not have been the same.
“I have a different type of thinking,” Cox-Irvin said. “[I think it’s] because of similar problems I’ve had over in my CACC classes.”
For Graham, the purpose of education is not to just do well on a test or to learn about topics that pertain to a specific career.
“Our purpose is to help people figure out how to think critically, how to communicate, and how to be [educated] citizens,” Graham said. “I hope they feel this class has prepared them for their next steps.”
By Grace Vance