A.P. Capstone: Year One

Charlotte Meyer, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The 2019-20 school year marked the first year of a brand new program in Mepham, Advanced Placement Capstone. AP Capstone is a research-intensive program where in both years of the course, students learn various aspects of research, and eventually conduct their own studies and research papers in the second year. 21 students, including myself, from our current junior class make up the group of the inaugural AP Capstone students and are currently working on beginning to plan out our methods for how we will conduct our studies for our papers. However, none of the work we are currently doing could be possible without the first year of the course, AP Seminar. 

Going into the 2019-20 school year, myself and my peers in the course were a little hesitant about the class itself. All we really knew was that it was a tough course, but proven to be very beneficial. We were also a little wary of the fact that we would be the first Mepham group to take on the challenge of this course and we were setting the precedent for years to come. 

When our class started, we began the course with a lot of introductions into the research process and a few team-building activities that helped us get to know our peers, as we would be working with them for the next two years in a communication-heavy course. We also go to know our teachers, Mr. Grosskreuz, Ms. Dennis, and Mrs. Stack. 

Once October began and we were getting back into the swing of school, we started to work on models of the papers and presentations we would eventually have to submit to College Board. In doing this, our teachers helped make us comfortable with the material long before we had to submit it. Through working with our groups and individually, we were able to produce strong samples for what we would later have to produce to our best abilities. 

When January came, we started to work on the real papers and presentations. With our class and teachers, a process that could seem draining actually proved to be not as bad as we initially thought it would be. The strong sense of family that had developed within the four walls of the Learning Center helped us immensely. We were producing work we felt confident about and we were sending in papers and giving our presentations that would be later sent to the College Board, until the unprecedented occurred. 

The coronavirus pandemic emerged and March 13th was the last day we were physically together as a class, but we didn’t let the uncertain times stop us. Unsure of what we were going to end up submitting to College Board, we still worked hard on our Individual Written Arguments that were to be our second-to-last task we had to submit. In April, we were given the news that we would only be submitting our Individual Written Arguments and our Individual Research Reports to College Board. Many of us were disappointed, as the group presentations we had worked so hard on for months would no longer count, but all this meant was we just had to work harder on our IWA’s. Through lots of peer-editing and feedback, we were still able to complete the papers and submit them with confidence even though we were virtual. 

Despite facing the hardship of not being physically together, I don’t think I could have imagined a better first year for this course. My peers and I learned so many valuable skills and lessons that I apply to other situations in my life, and none of this could be possible without Mr. Grosskreuz, Ms. Dennis, and Mrs. Stack. Our teachers worked tirelessly to teach us, help us, and provide us support in this challenging class, and it was their first year teaching the class!

If there is any freshman student reading this who is debating whether or not they want to sign up for this course, I strongly urge you to do so. Not only did this class provide me with helpful skills, it provided me with a great group of peers that I have grown so close to over the course of last year and this year. It is safe to say that the first year of the AP Capstone program was a great success, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for class and any future Capstone students!