Students Connect Through Innovative New Program


Sophomore Alex Preston and Jason Tran work on their chromebooks.

Mandy Huynh and Sheridan Allen

AP Capstone is a two year program that’s only offered at 1500 hundred schools in the U.S. Currently, Rider is the only school offering it in the whole district. The first year of the program is called AP seminar, which 26 students are currently enrolled. They learn how to identify credible sources and how to use databases for their research thesis next year in AP Research.

AP Seminar is taught by Christopher Preston, the only teacher in WFISD certified to teach the Capstone program.

Because of its flexible prerequisites, AP Capstone students range from sophomores to seniors. It’s one of the only AP classes that admits underclassman, and for junior Lilly Studer, this is what makes the atmosphere in AP Seminar differ from that of her other classes.

“We have communication with other kids in different grades that might not necessarily have been in your group of friends before, so it opens you up to new people,” she said.

Sophomore Alex Preston feels that the range of ages in the class can be to the sophomores’ advantage.

  “I found it helpful because they have a little more insight than sophomores do and so they are very helpful to learn from,” he said.  
While some seniors may hesitate to mingle with underclassmen, senior Lauren McAfee enjoys watching the younger students and helping them along the way.
“It’s also so nice to hear new ideas from younger people because they’re not as burn out in high school as we are, so they’re usually more creative and enthusiastic about it,” she said.

Current Sophomores and Juniors in AP Seminar will continue onto AP Research next year, writing papers and mastering a chosen topic. For seniors enrolled in AP Seminar for the 2018-2019 school year, partaking in the second half of the Capstone program is not an option.

  “I definitely wish they [the school] would have [had] it sooner so I could have taken the next class,” McAfee said.

To be able to qualify for AP Capstone students must have taken Honors English I their freshman year.  

“It’s not really for the tip top of the class; it is for anyone who has taken honors english and anyone who has plan on taking AP or dual credit classes,” Mr. Preston said. “I hated school and the idea of being able to pick what you learn about, that’s just an amazing idea to me.”

Once students are finished with the AP Capstone program and graduate they will receive a special diploma for completing the program. This diploma sets applicants apart from their competitors. From students looking for a way to set apart their college applications, to students who are looking for a free flowing class, AP Capstone appeals to that.