The 2017-18 school year turned out to be a stellar year for Bartow County students who took AP exams.
A total of 70 students from Adairsville, Cass and Woodland high schools had mastered the concepts, content and skills well enough to earn 2018 Advanced Placement Scholar Awards, which were based on their scores from AP exams administered in May.
The College Board’s AP program allows students to earn college credit by taking rigorous college-level courses in high school. Bartow County's three high schools offer a total of 19 AP courses between them.
"Last school year, 55 Bartow County students earned AP Scholar Awards," Superintendent Dr. Phillip Page said. "This year, 70 students. We’re excited about where this program is headed and looking forward to increased participation in 2019. The school system is committed to growing and strengthening our students’ opportunities for academic achievement and excellence."
The school system will be adding more AP courses and the necessary instructional support to its high schools “in the near future,” according to Page.
The College Board recognizes four levels of achievement based on student performance and AP exams. The highest level of academic distinction is National AP Scholar, followed by AP Scholar with Distinction, AP Scholar with Honor and AP Scholar.
Two students, Jason Burdette, who graduated from AHS in May, and Ezra Petron, a senior at WHS, qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of 4 or higher on all AP exams taken and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.
"They are impressive students who represent the Bartow County School System well," Page said. "Their drive and dedication to their schoolwork should serve as an example to others. Opportunities arise when you put in the hard work and challenge yourself."
"It's very nice to know that those AP exams have given me a little recognition for my success to go along with loads of college credit to go towards my degree," said Burdette, who is majoring in electrical engineering at the University of Kentucky.
The 18-year-old, who turns 19 next Wednesday, credits his success in the AP courses he took to "general intelligence and being able to regurgitate information you learn from week to week on tests."
"However, success on AP tests stems from timely studying along with an ability to use information to form coherent arguments," he said.
Petron, who will be 18 in November, was excited to find out he'd qualified for the national award.
"I think being named a National AP Scholar is a great honor, and I'm happy to represent both my school and all the AP students that struggle yearlong for the chance to prosper from Advanced Placement examination," he said. "It's really nice to be recognized since AP basically defines my career at high school thus far. I'm glad to see my hard work paying off a little."
His success in taking the challenging classes is "largely due to my desire to know fun things as well as my ability to adapt to differing academic settings."
"I don't really go to school to slog through days towards graduation so I can leave — although that's a goal," he said. "I work myself through the AP classes I've taken because I like to know the content that is covered in the classes. Application of what I learn is important, but it is not a primary concern. I just find an unexplainable thrill in knowing things that are interesting. It just so happens that I find a lot of things really interesting. It's also a good enough time to note that my habit of writing a lot more than I really need to has been a great asset."
Petron also credits his AP teachers, whom he called "the real heroes," for his accomplishments in the classes and on the exams.
"Their individual teaching styles, dependent on the class, make finding fun things to know and never forget a genuinely stellar experience," he said. "I would not trade all that I've learned from them for the world."
This semester, Petron is enrolled in AP literature and AP Calculus AB, and spring semester, he'll be taking AP biology, AP macroeconomics and AP Calculus BC.
"I do plan on taking the exams for all of them in May," he said. "I think it will be a fun time."
Besides the two national award winners, 19 students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of 3.5 or higher on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
The honorees are Helen Bryant (AHS ’19), Jason Burdette (AHS ’18), Trinity Conant (AHS ’19), Ryan Lance (AHS ’19), John Redd (AHS ’18), Noah Arnold (CHS ’18), Matthew Busse (CHS ’18), Grant Morris (CHS ’18), Emily Tracy (CHS ’18), Carris Adcock (WHS ’19), Carah Camron (WHS ’18), Chase Evans (WHS ’18), Peter Germ (WHS ’19), Amanda Greenway (WHS ’18), Katelyn Grundy (WHS ’19), Heidi Hicks (WHS ’19), Andrew Lorenz (WHS ’18), Ezra Petron (WHS ’19) and Christian Welch (WHS ’18).
The 18 students who received the AP Scholar with Honor Award for earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on four or more exams are Madison Bailey (AHS ’19), Lelah Cochran (AHS ’19), Jesse O’ Kelley (AHS ’19), Robert Barfield (CHS ’19), Trinity Byrd (CHS ’19), Alyssa Childers (CHS ’18), Mia Jackman (CHS ’19), Mason Miller (CHS ’18), Chloe Molner (CHS ’18), Zachary Thacker (CHS ’19), Kenzie Womack (CHS ’18), Macy Wright (CHS ’18), Hannah Adams (WHS ’18), Matthew Cox (WHS ’19), Evan Dasher (WHS ’18), Jordan Duck (WHS ’19), Stephen Willoughby (WHS ’19) and Tate York (WHS ’18).
Thirty-three students were awarded the AP Scholar distinction by earning a score of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams. Recipients are Destiny Adams (AHS ’19), Sierra Fritz (AHS ’19), Tristen Garner (AHS ’19), Tamaris Henderson (AHS ’19), Abby Herren (AHS ’19), Evelyn Lipham (AHS ’19), Mary Blasingame (CHS ’18), Brianna “Necole” Gonsahn (CHS ’19), Nicholas Harp (CHS ’18), Annamarie King (CHS ’18), Isabella Mann (CHS ’19), Garrett Moore (CHS ’19), Charli-Anne Shane (CHS ’18), Ashlie Swanson (CHS ’18), Grace Weeks (CHS ’19), Abbey Bartmess (WHS ’19), Dillon Carver (WHS ’20), Lisett Cruz (WHS ’18), Ashley Curtis (WHS ’19), Robert Gollhofer (WHS ’19), Isaac Martin (WHS ’18), Abby Matthews (WHS ’20), Trey McCoy (WHS ’18), Reece Mitchell (WHS ’19), Jonathan Moore (WHS ’18), Katharine Oliver (WHS ’19), Liam Peach (WHS ’18), Noah Pirkle (WHS ’18), Banta Sesay (WHS ’19), Landon Simmons (WHS ’18), McKenna Traphaegen (WHS ’20), Brianna Trotti (WHS ’19) and Christy Turner (WHS ’18).
Chief Academic Officer Dr. David Chiprany congratulated the scholars whose "hard work has paid off in dividends."
“We are so proud of our students for accepting the rigor that comes with Advanced Placement courses," he said. "Without a doubt, these students are more prepared now to tackle the high workload that often comes with post-secondary opportunities.”
Page said the scholars will be recognized at the Sept. 17 school board meeting.
"This is big deal," he told board members at their August meeting. "If you look at what it takes to be an AP Scholar, it is a lot. That is just tremendous for our district."