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CCSD Celebrates First AP Capstone Program Graduates

Posted On: Monday, September 27, 2021

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The Cherokee County School District is celebrating its first class of AP Capstone program graduates!  

Etowah High School has received official word that 16 Class of 2021 seniors who participated in the recently adopted AP Capstone program earned the AP Capstone Diploma, and one student earned the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.  AP Capstone is a two-year project-based learning program designed to help students develop critical thinking, research, collaboration, and presentation skills that are critical to academic success.  The elite program, which is offered in fewer than 100 high schools, was developed by The College Board in partnership with colleges and universities. 

“Congratulations to the AP Capstone award winners, who conduct, present, and defend academic research on topics they are passionate about,” said Trevor Packer, College Board senior vice president of AP and Instruction.  “Their ability to manage long-term projects, collaborate with teams, and deliver effective presentations will accelerate both their academic and professional careers.”

To earn the AP Capstone Diploma, students must score a 3 or higher on their research work for AP Seminar and AP Research courses, and earn scores of 3 or higher on four AP course exams.  To earn the AP Seminar and Research Certificate, students must score a 3 or higher on their research work for AP Seminar and AP Research courses.  Last school year, only 11,900 students nationwide earned the AP Capstone Diploma, and 7,700 earned the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.  

The Etowah HS Class of 2021 graduates who earned the AP Capstone Diploma are (their research projects also are noted):

  • Nick Alvarado, “The effect of home advantage on the outcome of NBA games: Analyzing the 2020 NBA bubble”;
  • Keilah Araujo, “Comparing the relationship between at-home parental involvement and academic success to the effect of financial status on academic achievement among Hispanic high schoolers”;
  • Maggie Bradley, “The influence of ad targeting on teen purchasing decision autonomy”;
  • Madalynn Franz, “The cognitive effects of high school athletics”;
  • Jacklyn Garcia, “A study on students with learning disabilities transitioning from high school to college”;
  • Blair Hogan, “The impact of childhood cancer on family relationships”;
  • Kat Kochansky, “The impact of dietary fiber consumption on symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety in adolescents aged 15-20”;
  • Michael Mandle, “Developing an ethical framework to determine whether to use CRISPR/CAS-9 to treat Type I Diabetes”;
  • MacKenzie Martin, “Isolation due to COVID-19 and its effect on the prevalence of depressive symptoms in high school students”;
  • Ian McKinney, “Revolutionizing spaceflight: A study on electric propulsion and air-breathing MPD's”;
  • Brennan McOwen, “Measuring change: can the selection of high school science courses impact middle class suburban high school students' ecological footprint?”;
  • Kinsey Norton, “Is there a significant difference in the way high school girls and high school boys basketball games are coached?”;
  • Sarah Oburu, “How has the lack of racial representation in mainstream media influenced the depiction of Blacks in American society?”;
  • Lauren Saale, “The influence of government representation on the quality of life in American cities among people of color”;
  • Cole Scott, “Defining fair use on YouTube: A guide to modern copyright”;
  • Sophia Stewart, “Listening to music to reduce academic stress: Examining the effect of classical music listening and ambient music listening on high school students' perceived academic stress.”  

Ansley Melnick, who studied “Can environmental education via a PSA cause change in climate consciousness and meat consumption?” earned the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.  

"We proudly recognize the achievements of students who participated in the AP Capstone Diploma program,” Principal Robert Horn said. “Our AP Capstone students and teachers showed extraordinary commitment while facing historic challenges.  This is a meaningful college readiness program that will serve our students well after high school.”

Sequoyah High School students will be eligible to earn the AP Capstone Diploma beginning this school year, and River Ridge High School students will be eligible to earn this recognition beginning in the 2022-23 school year.


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