Academic Highlights, May 3
Ms. Scorza’s History & Gov’t Scholars
AP exams started this week and SJP students have been feverishly preparing with their teachers to maximize their success! In AP U.S. History, Ms. Scorza’s students have been going through countless multiple choice questions in advance of the fifty-five questions they’ll face on test day. Additionally, they’re practicing responses to document-based questions (or DBQs) where they’ll be asked to pull information from seven documents and their own knowledge to respond to a prompt.
In AP Government and Politics, the students have been tasked with creating and presenting reviews on various textbook chapters from throughout the year. They’ve also been closing monitoring and discussing current events in a political climate that has been charged, to the say the least, over the past year.
Although the resources can’t be used during the exams, Ms. Scorza has generously gifted her AP U.S. History students rulers depicting all of the U.S. presidents with interesting facts. Meanwhile, her AP Government and Politics class were the recipients of pocket versions of the Constitution, straight from the Capitol gift store.
In World History II, they are studying Latin American revolutions. Ms. Scorza was one of the faculty chaperones on the Service Immersion trip to Haiti over April break, so discussion around the Haitian Revolution is particularly timely. There is also an ongoing competition using Sporcle on the student iPads, where students are challenged to correctly identify as many countries as possible on a map in a given amount of time. Anthony Khoory ’19 leads the way with 127 correct responses!
Ms. Hughes’ Theology Scholars
Ms. Hughes’ Theology 3 students are currently studying a unit on Human Life. Among the various issues they will be exploring in this larger context, students are currently learning about and discussing the death penalty.
The juniors are reading Dead Man Walking, a book written by Helen Prejean, CSJ related to her experience ministering to Elmo Patrick Sonnier, a convicted murderer on death row in Louisiana. The book was later developed into a movie of the same name, starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. Prejean, a Sister of Saint Joseph, is at the forefront of the capital punishment debate, and was a witness in the Marathon bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Students are also discussing the recent developments in Arkansas, where the state recently executed four inmates in eight days.
Ms. Byun’s & Ms. Mueller’s English Scholars
Under the direction of Ms. Byun and Ms. Mueller, the 9th grade Writing classes are working on an exciting project in which students are applying research methods to popular culture. From High School Musical to Harry Potter and from Taylor Swift to Twilight, the freshmen are responsible for exploring relatable themes and doing the research to further explore the relative strengths or weaknesses of the connection.
For example, does Sharpay Evans from High School Musical personify the traits of an ideal leader? Does the Percy Jackson book series align with Greek mythology? Does Taylor Swift exemplify fourth-wave feminism? To these questions, and many more, students will gather data and proof points to make their argument.
Ms. Gipson’s STEAM Scholars
The sophomores have been hard at work in Ms. Gipson’s STEAM classes. Over the past several weeks, they have been building robots and designing nautical-themed chess sets using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software.
The unit included four different elements: 1) design and construction of the actual robot, 2) developing a related comic book, which will be featured in the STEAM SHOW, 3) developing the re-imagined chess set, and 4) creating a robot animation.
Below are examples of the sea-inspired chess sets designed, in partnership, by Aleksandra Christie ’19 and Charlie Cassidy ’19 (left), Annie McElroy ’19 and Mark Yan ’19 (center), and Helen Miao ’19 and Cheryl Wang ’19 (right).
Mrs. Muth’s AP Calculus Scholars
Last Tuesday, in preparation of the upcoming test next week, 28 students in Mrs. Muth’s AP Calculus classes (both AB and BC) sat down to take a full-length practice AP exam. Lasting nearly four hours, the students worked their way through the 2008 AP exam, recently released by the College Board, under test-day conditions. Mrs. Muth graded the exams and used the data to guide review sessions. She also created a comprehensive review guide for students to test their knowledge independently.
Mary Forbes ’17 participated in the practice exam and appreciated the opportunity to go through the process. “I’m now more comfortable with the format. I won’t be going in there for the first time not knowing what to expect, which is nice. I understand how to manage the time and pace myself.” Sharon King ’17 added, “Now I know what I need to study and I what I already know. I can spend time appropriately preparing for the free response questions versus the multiple choice. I’m hoping to test out classes for college, so this was a very helpful exercise.” Both Mary and Sharon will be attending College of the Holy Cross in the fall.
Ms. Bacon’s Spanish Scholars
On Tuesday, May 2, Saint Joseph Prep students sat for the AP Spanish exam. The nine scholars joined Ms. Bacon, their instructor, for a pre-test breakfast at the local IHOP to calm their nerves and get some protein in their systems!
Ms. Bacon has a friend walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, so her Spanish 3 students have been creating their own imaginative pilgrimages. They are identifying a destination and stopping at four locations in between, discussing how to get there and what to do at each location, in Spanish, of course! As an examples, one group is going on a gastronomical tour of various countries, enjoying the local cuisine along the way. Another group is visiting various countries specific to their own ancestral heritage. Like those who walk the Camino de Santiago, the students will receive a certificate upon successful completion of their journey!
Mr. Shiner’s Graphic Design Scholars
The students in STEAM I: Intro to Graphic Design have been studying the history and development of Typography in an effort to understand the importance of letterforms in design. Recognizing that alphabetic characters can be beautiful whether they stand alone or are combined to form words, the students have been charged with developing their own 73-character typeface design (all upper and lower case letters, the numbers 0-9, and 11 forms of punctuation).
In addition to developing a keener eye for detail, the students are becoming much more adept with the digital tools vital to contemporary digital graphic design. According to Shiner, “one of the essential elements to an effective type design is consistency, and many of the students are learning to pay closer attention to this aspect as they revise and improve their initial designs.”
Shiner notes that several students have really excelled in this particular project, including: Angelique Lazard ’20, Andrew Nenortas ’20, Erica Shamshak ’20, Melissa Vallucci ’20, PJ Weekes ’20, and Sam Wright ’20. Check out their work and more at the STEAM SHOW on Thursday, May 11!
Wednesday May, 3