MOHS Advanced Placement Program receives national recognition

Mount Olive High School prides itself on offering rigorous classes to students, including College Board Advanced Placement classes, where students get to experience college-level work in the high school setting. The 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll was recently announced by College Board, and MOHS was recognized for the second year in a row for its AP program.

The criteria for recognition includes an analysis of the past three years of AP data, including increased participation of students taking AP classes, as well as at least 70% of students who take AP tests scoring a 3 or above. For the AP test, scores of 3, 4, and 5 constitute passing.

Mr. Kevin Stansberry, MOHS principal, says that all students are encouraged to try at least one AP course while attending MOHS. He hopes students will continue to challenge themselves with rigorous schedules.

Alicia Nwandu, a senior at MOHS, has taken several math and science AP courses including AP Biology, AP Calculs AB, and AP Calculus BC. as she is interested in pursuing the sciences in college. She also took AP U.S. History, which she said has also prepared her for what to expect next year in college. Nwandu said, "Mr. Grzywacz gives you a syllabus with all the assignments for the year, which is like a college course. It helps me time manage for assignments. The AP coursework is a lot of work, but if you study and do your homework a little bit every night it's feasible. Taking these classes has helped change my study habits."

Senior Shane Regan echoed similar sentiments. He explained, "The AP classes I've taken have helped me with time management because it's a much heavier workload at a much faster pace. I lose a lot of sleep!"

Alexandra Bartell, a junior, is currently taking AP Chemistry. She said, "The labs in AP Chemistry with Ms. Shaw have helped prepare me for a future career in the sciences. I'm learning how to write a college-level lab report and draw conclusions from my data."

Caitlin McNally, a junior, said taking AP World History influenced her to take all the AP History classes because it sparked her interest in this content area. She hopes to pursue a career in law, and she knows these classes will provide her with the necessary background.

Varshini Chintareddy is a freshman who is taking AP World History, a course that was only recently opened to incoming freshmen. She said, "Even if the class is really challenging, it can be really fun. History is a subject that I find interesting, so it's a new experience to study it at this level."

Amanda Berrios, a junior in AP Research said, "I'm glad I took the AP courses I have, as they are preparing me for college experiences. For example, completing a graduate-type paper in AP Research. While it's difficult currently, I'll be grateful in the long run that I took the course."

Looking to next school year, MOHS is adding three additional AP offerings to its course catalog: AP Computer Science Principles, AP Human Geography, and AP Psychology. The AP Human Geography class will focus on both history and current events through an anthropological lens. The AP Psychology class will run as a hybrid, blended learning experience in conjunction with Human Behavior.


Alumni share advice with current students

An annual tradition, the Alumni Panel brings back recent Mount Olive High School graduates to share insights with current students, ranging from general impressions of college to how MOHS prepared them for their futures.

One of the questions that was posed to the panelists was how did they decide what college to attend after graduating from MOHS. All of the students agreed that touring the college campuses was the best way to get a feel for the school and know if it was the right fit for them. Several students said they made use of Naviance, including the search features to find colleges that matched their wishlist criteria.

Brittany Seelman said she knew she wanted to major in Engineering, so she narrowed down her college options by applying to schools with strong Engineering Programs. She then looked at each school to see what clubs they offered, what the people on campus were like, and the location of the campus in terms of the surrounding community. She decided on Stevens Institute of Technology located in Hoboken, NJ because she loved the feel of a school in a city, also located close to New York.

Sofia Lake said she got accepted into two schools that were very similar, and she ended up choosing Rutgers because of the affordability of in-state tuition, as opposed to paying more at the out-of-state school. She said she likes Rutgers because she can get a small school feeling in a big school environment, explaining that she has several seminar classes of only 20 students, and even in her big lecture classes, her professors know her by name.

Charlie Baduini is one of approximately 100 students from MOHS Class of 2018 who chose to attend the County College of Morris. Baduini said he didn't know what major he wanted to pursue and knew he could take at CCM the same general education classes that he would take at any other college with much less cost.

Alyssa Borozan is also attending CCM and is part of the Stars Program. She said she enjoys being at CCM because she has gotten involved with several clubs and plays softball there. Eventually she will transfer to a four-year school so she can complete her Bachelor's degree.

Throughout the panel event students were open and honest about their experiences and also indicated what they wished they had done differently.

Carl Hausman honestly admitted that he procrastinated on looking into colleges and writing out his college applications, regretting it his senior year. Fall of his senior year was particularly busy as he tried to balance all of his school work with touring colleges and filling out college applications, work he said he should have done the summer leading into his senior year.

Juliana Kim agreed and said she wished she had looked into schools sooner because by the time she started touring schools, she realized she changed her mind about the type of school she wanted to attend.

The students on the panel also discussed which classes they took at MOHS that helped them plan for their future career goals, including Engineering, Astronomy, Finance, and Physics classes to name a few.

When asked if they felt that MOHS prepared them for college, the students emphatically agreed that college is very different from high school and they each picked up various skills here that have helped them be successful. Several students recognized the English department and how the writing here helped them prepare for the rigors of college papers, especially AP Language and Composition and AP Literature. Other former students gave shout-outs to various clubs and organizations they were involved in, including DECA, MORT, and Debate, which helped them in their various fields.

Seelman summed it up well, saying, "MOHS forces you to push yourself out of your comfort zone to excel. Take advantage of all the opportunities you have here."


That's a Wrap! Saving the environment one used piece of wrapping paper at a time

Mount Olive High School junior, Miranda Ma, recently embarked upon a bold endeavor to challenge MOHS students and faculty to recycle their used wrapping paper after the holidays. Upon returning from winter break in January, Ma organized and ran a collection drive in order to take what most people would normally consider garbage or trash and recycle it to be converted into something more useful. Ma asked students and faculty to drop off their used wrapping paper in the lobby in a garbage bag, for her to then take to a recycling facility.

Ma said, "I wanted to facilitate the wrapping paper drive so that it would become easier for people to recycle and also allow people to realize how much trash is being thrown out."

Inspiration for the collection came to Ma as she was wrapping Christmas presents for her own family members. She explained, "I realized that thousands of people were probably doing the same thing. In a week, the wrapping paper would most likely be thrown out and put into landfills. A way to decrease the amount of paper ending up in landfills was to make sure that it was properly recycled. I thought that maybe I could do this within our high school and collect the paper to ensure that it was recycled properly. It may not seem like the biggest change out of the tons of paper lost in the trash, but I believe that it is a step in the right direction to a greener world."

Ma recognizes that she is lucky to have grown up in an environmentally-conscious household and has good recycling habits instilled on her since she was younger. She said that she enjoys turning the "old" into "new" and that is why she designed this recycling project. Ma recognizes that the planet only has limited resources and by recycling the wrapping paper she can take one small step to decrease her carbon footprint.

Hoping to continue with various green initiatives, one idea Ma has is to have a new bicycle rack installed at MOHS to encourage students to occasionally bike to school rather than drive.

Ma said, "Ultimately, we need to protect the Earth because I believe that if you take something you must also give something back."

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