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Life In The Accelerated Lane

A real look into the world of Honors and AP classes. Even before my freshman year began, there already was a split between my peers who were placed in the accelerated classes and those who weren’t. As a senior, I can sadly say that this division still exists. Throughout my four years at Christian Brothers, […]

A real look into the world of Honors and AP classes.

Even before my freshman year began, there already was a split between my peers who were placed in the accelerated classes and those who weren’t. As a senior, I can sadly say that this division still exists.

Throughout my four years at Christian Brothers, I’ve often hear students who don’t take AP or Honors courses either degrade themselves or criticize those who do take these vigorous classes. But is this the type of behavior that St. John Baptist De La Salle would want? Looking at the Five Core Lasallian Principles, I don’t think so.

Not too long ago, one of my fellow Talon Staff Writers, Tony Rodriguez (’16), published a piece discussing the difference in courses called “Is Scholars The Way To Go?” Although eloquent, the article failed to mention anything merely positive about the Scholars. In fact, it didn’t even properly define “Scholars” in the context of Christian Brothers High School.

“The Scholars Program is designed to recognize, reward, and support students that are taking the most rigorous courses at CB and excelling at those courses, says Scholars Coordinator Mr. Vince Leporini “It’s a very small population within the students that take Honors and AP.”

In other words, Scholars isn’t necessarily an actual “way” to go, nor does it refer to the Honors and AP classes offered at CB. When Tony cited Scholars in his article, he mistakenly was referring to the high level courses.

All technical questions aside, the article claims that accelerated students “won’t stop and smell the roses unless they got a grade for it” and “delay their satisfaction” simply to get into college. As I interviewed the students of Christian Brothers who take accelerated and AP-level courses, however, I found this claim to be quite untrue.

Among the several accelerated students I questioned, there were three traits they all had in common (all of which countered previous claims), the first being their interest in learning. As Natalie Flynn (’16), a diligent student taking three AP classes this year, put it, “I don’t sit here and cry over the fact that I want college credits so badly that I have to take AP classes. I chose to take the classes I take because I enjoy learning and it’s what I wanted to learn.”

It’s hasty to assume that all accelerated students’ lives revolve around their grades and college. Perhaps they just enjoy the quality education offered at CB.

Secondly, each interviewee mentioned they wanted a challenge. Colin Campbell (’16), an avid runner and AP student, confidently remarks that “I’m a student that likes to learn. The best way for me to learn is by challenging myself.”

Colin and many other students would stop and smell the roses whether or not they got a grade for it. Michael Sparks III (’16) was more specific as to what about AP and Honors courses challenge him.

“I feel like I’m taking my education a step further by learning at an accelerated pace,” he said.

The third common trait is the genuine interest in the content being taught. When Tommy Payne (’16) discussed AP Biology, a class renowned for its difficulty, his passion wasn’t hard to find.

“I absolutely loved the teacher and loved the material,” he says. “It really clicked with me.”

Personally, “love” and “delayed satisfaction” don’t sound anything alike.

In reality, students of all levels share these characteristics. Just because some students are taking AP or Honors courses doesn’t mean they’d rather sacrifice their well being and social life for good grades and for the sake of getting into a notable university.

While that may be partly true, there are obviously other reasons behind choosing to take the vigorous classes. Christian Brothers is a college preparatory school. If someone wants to prepare for college by taking AP classes, is there really something wrong with that?

Even if college was out of the picture, there are still students who would continue at the accelerated pace. School is about expanding our knowledge and gaining experiences that will aid us in the future. People shouldn’t be judged on how they choose to prepare for the next academic level. After all, St. John Baptist De La Salle did promote an inclusive community. You do you, CB.

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