South students express pressures from AP courses

South students express pressures from AP courses

Illustration by Alex Solecki

Alex Ladan, staff writer

Beginning freshmen year, South offers students a variety of courses, including honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses, to challenge themselves in and out of the classroom. These students weigh both the positives and negatives of integrating more demanding classes into their schedule.

Parents, students and teachers question whether choosing these classes are beneficial to students in the long run. According to Anne LePage, Coordinator of College Counseling, AP classes are college reading, writing requirements and curriculum taught at a college level.

“I think if a student is prepared and has a recommendation from their teachers, [AP classes are] absolutely something that students should take advantage of,” LePage said.

Taking six honors classes including STEM, freshman Sam Dale achieved a 5.0 GPA first semester. According to Dale, homework takes him about two hours per night.

“The work is more challenging, but it isn’t more work,” Dale said. “It’s just harder to do.”

Dale says he works around his lacrosse practices by finishing Monday and Tuesday’s homework over the weekend, leaving him with less homework for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Freshman Adam White, friend and classmate of Dale, is in some of his classes and can attest to Dale’s work ethic.

“He’s very diligent and focused, so he gets a lot [of work] done in class,” White said.

To fit the block schedule, students and teachers adjusted the curriculum, and with honors and AP classes especially, the workload is more condensed. Dale says he followed his teacher’s advice and created a schedule for himself to get things done more efficiently. Dale agrees with his teachers’ suggestions and advises other students to do the same.

“Do it the day you get it,” Dale said.

Class selections can be influenced by parent opinions according to Kim Kiraly, Family and Consumer Science teacher at South.

“My parents’ perspective was always that they wanted me to enjoy my high-school experience,” Kiraly said. “[They] were both educators so their perspective was if you can learn everything that you need to learn to give yourself a solid foundation, once you get to college, you’ll have the skills necessary to be successful. They were much more interested in me exploring what my passions were.”

She says that there were significantly less students in honors and AP levels during her time at South versus today. Kiraly took two honors Spanish classes while at South, and no AP’s.

“At the end of the day, I don’t feel like I missed out on anything by not taking any AP classes.” Kiraly said. “However, I definitely think I was smart enough [to take them] and could manage the coursework.”

South graduate Jonathan Kim dropped other classes to be a Peer group and PE leader. Kim wishes he would have known how much he enjoyed psychology and economics before getting to college. According to Kim, his experience at South was very enjoyable overall.

“I took [the classes] I enjoyed at the time and don’t regret any class choices.” Kim said.