West Chester Area School District: Recognizing AP Capstone Diploma Achievers

West Chester Area School District

WEST CHESTER, PA — The West Chester Area School District (WCASD) announced that 13 students have earned the AP Capstone Diploma™. Additionally, four students have earned the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™ during the 2022-23 school year. The AP Capstone Diploma program helps students develop the critical thinking, research, collaboration, and presentation skills that are crucial for academic success.

“We proudly recognize the achievements of students who participated in the AP Capstone Diploma program,” said Interim Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Cheryl Newton-Woods. “Our AP Capstone students and teachers displayed exceptional dedication to this impactful, multi-academic-year program where they got to explore their passions through scholarly research. This is a meaningful college readiness program that will serve our students well after high school.”

To receive the AP Capstone Diploma, students must earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar, AP Research, and on four additional AP® Exams of their choice. To receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate, students must earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research. Students are increasingly participating in the AP Capstone™ program. The program has reached a milestone of over 100,000 students participating during the 2022-23 academic year, representing over 2,500 schools worldwide. Approximately 15,800 students earned the AP Capstone Diploma, and 9,600 students earned the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

“Taking AP Capstone courses was one of the best decisions I made in high school,” said Rustin High School student, Tyler Troutman. “From my first day in seminar to submitting the paper that got me the difficult to attain score of ‘5’ in AP Research, I learned so much about the research process and grew significantly as a writer,” he added.

Unlike traditional AP subject exams with a single end-of-year assessment, AP Seminar and AP Research assessments are project based and evaluate skills mastery through group projects, presentations, and individual essays completed throughout the year. Instead of focusing on one specific academic discipline, AP Seminar and AP Research are interdisciplinary: students are encouraged to create research projects based on topics of personal interest. Students are assessed on the critical thinking, research, collaboration, time management, and presentation skills needed to complete their projects.

“It is remarkable to witness students—and even educators—rediscover their passion for learning through the AP Capstone program,” shared Bianca Peart, the global lead of the AP Capstone Diploma program. “The constant fascination stems from the array of subjects students explore, all while cultivating essential skills—as if witnessing the creation of a masterpiece.”

“The 2-year AP Capstone program offers our students a wonderful and unique experience in research and data collection that provides college, career, and life readiness,” said Rustin High School teacher, John Breslin. “The 2022-23 Rustin cohort produced exceptional scores on both a state and national level, and seniors earned college credits as a result of their successful completion of the program. Students not only recognize the value of this program, but also truly enjoy the experience,” he added.

“I’m thrilled to congratulate these motivated students, who worked hard to earn the AP Capstone Diploma and AP Seminar and Research Certificate,” said Trevor Packer, head of the Advanced Placement® Program. “These students have enhanced the foundation for their future academic and professional careers by honing their ability to manage long-term projects, collaborate with teams, and deliver effective presentations on topics they’re passionate about.”

Of the students who participated in the AP Capstone Diploma program in the WCASD:

  • 13 were awarded the AP Capstone Diploma by earning scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar, AP Research, and on 4 additional AP Exams. These students are:
    • Ethan Altshul, East High School
    • Alex Chen, East High School
    • Keely McClay, East High School
    • Magnolia VanDyke, East High School
    • Jacob Witmer, Henderson High School
    • Brianna Ambrosine, Rustin High School
    • Abigail DeMaioribus, Rustin High School
    • Likhit Ganduri, Rustin High School
    • Goldie Kayser, Rustin High School
    • Maggie Ricciuti, Rustin High School
    • Arushi Sanbui, Rustin High School
    • Samantha Spitzer, Rustin High School
    • Tyler Troutman, Rustin High School
  • Four were awarded the AP Seminar and Research Certificate by earning scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research. These students are:
    • Erin McClay, East High School
    • Julia Snelling, Rustin High School
    • Caroline Stark, Rustin High School
    • Kayla Teplica, Rustin High School

Additionally, East High School student Alex Chen was one of only 357 students, or 1.26% of 2023 AP Research Exam takers, from around the world not only receive a perfect score of ‘5’ but to also earn every point possible on this challenging, college-level examination.

“I would recommend every high schooler to take AP Capstone as it is a great resource to allow you to research your interests while getting exposure to a college level class,” said Rustin High School student, Brianna Ambrosine. “It also helped me hold myself accountable and work on my time management.”

The College Board’s Advanced Placement® Program (AP®) gives students the opportunity to take challenging college-level courses while still in high school. A 3 or higher on an AP Exam has multiple benefits for students, including earning college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on AP Exams, saving them time and money. Research shows AP students are better prepared for and more likely to enroll and remain in college, do well in classes, and earn their degrees on time. Each exam is developed by a committee of college and university faculty and AP teachers, ensuring that AP Exams align with their high standards.

“The Capstone classes were such an integral part of my high school experience, especially my sophomore year. The way the classes are structured lets students explore their own interests in an academic way, which makes learning how to write an academic paper fun and engaging,” said Rustin High School student, Likhit Ganduri. “I loved the fact that I could write about anything from internet memes to post high school education, this kind of freedom is something you rarely see in higher level courses,” she added.

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