AP Scholars’ Reception

Last Thursday, my school celebrated its annual AP Scholars’ reception.  An interesting bit of trivia to let you know how much our AP program has expanded is that in year 2000, the school only gave AP exams to 79 students.  Last year, 79 of our students achieved AP Scholar status by earning recommended scores on 3 or more exams.  Our total number of testers was over 400 and we gave over 850 exams.   Pretty amazing growth and shows what you can accomplish when you believe that more kids should have the AP opportunity.

We used to have this reception at night and all three high schools came together to do one event at our administrative headquarters.  This led to some nice boasting and friendly competition amongst the principals who were all there to introduce their school’s Scholars.  The event grew too big though so for the past few years each school has held its own event.

At the beginning of December, we send out invitations to all students who achieved AP Scholar status based on the previous May’s exam results.  Most of the honorees are seniors or students who graduated last May and are currently in town for the semester break.  The event is held the first week that we return to school after the winter holidays.  We encourage the students to bring their parents and to wear t-shirts from the college they are attending or hope to attend.

We hold the event in the foyer of our Fine Arts Center and serve light breakfast fare–coffee, juice, muffins, etc.  Some years our culinary arts classes have catered the event at a very low cost.  Many of the AP teachers attend the event to see former students and to hear how they are doing in college.  We try to get press coverage from the local and school papers.  The principal offers some remarks describing the increase in the size, quality and diversity of our AP program.  He then calls each student forward to receive a specially designed patch that they can affix to their letter jacket.  He ends his remarks by challenging the current seniors to surpass the previous total number of AP Scholars.  Next January we hope to honor over 100 students!

After more eating and socializing, we often take our graduates to visit current students to talk about their experiences in college–what did they wish they had done differently?  What surprised them?  How did AP classes benefit them?  What was their biggest challenge?  Our current students have plenty of their own questions to ask.

This is a really nice celebration, recognizing the hard work that teachers, parents, students, counselors and administrators put in to make our AP program a success.  It’s great seeing graduates again and remembering why we work so hard to prepare the kids for college.  I think they enjoy seeing us too.

Think about how you and your school celebrate the success of your AP program.  Feel free to post comments about some of the things that you do.  We can all learn a lot from each other.

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