Habersham students excel on 2023 Advanced Placement exams


Students from Habersham County Schools have been recognized by the College Board for outstanding performance on Advanced Placement (AP) exams.

For the 2022-23 academic year, Habersham County Schools offered 23 AP courses – 16 face-to-face and 7 through Georgia Virtual School.

AP Capstone

Eleven AP Capstone students were recognized for their achievements in the AP Capstone Program comprised of two yearlong courses – AP Seminar and AP Research. Through this program, students gain skills in research, analysis, evidence-based arguments, collaboration, writing, and presenting. The program culminates with a yearlong investigation into a student-selected research question during which students often work with mentors from colleges and the community.

Piedmont University has partnered with HCHS in support of this program providing both resources and assistance with student research, says the school district’s Gifted Program Coordinator Dr. Martha Cantrell.

The distinctive AP Capstone Diploma recognizes students who earned a score of 3 or higher in AP Seminar, AP Research, and four additional AP courses.

Habersham Central AP Capstone Diploma recipients this year include Jacob Grady, Ava Gruszczinski, Hayden Hulsey, Emily Irvin, Ryan Martin, Grayson Means, Emma Murray, Roberto Rios-Martinez, Dylan Hunter Tatum, and Naomi Witter.

Cooper Smith was awarded the AP Seminar and Research Certificate in recognition of earning a 3 or higher in both AP Seminar and AP Research.

Overall performance

Overall performance for Habersham County Schools reached new heights as 77% of HCHS and HNGA students taking AP exams attained scores of 3 or higher. A record number of 84 Habersham Central students have been recognized by the College Board for attaining high scores on multiple exams.

“As superintendent, I am very proud of our graduates who earned the AP Capstone Diploma,” said Habersham County School Superintendent Matthew Cooper. “I also want to congratulate all of our 2023 AP scholars.”

Cooper said the public school system offers academic opportunities to advanced students “that simply cannot be found elsewhere in Habersham County.”

“Our Advanced Placement programs at Habersham Central and Habersham Ninth Grade Academy are among the best in the state,” he added.

Students who graduate with an AP Capstone Diploma have an advantage when applying to the very best colleges and universities, Cooper said.

“I want to commend our board of education, administrators, teachers, parents, and community for supporting our outstanding AP programs in the Habersham County Public School System.”

AP Scholars

The AP Scholar Award recognizes students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams.  Forty Habersham County students earned this award: Hunter Acker, Jocelyn Aguilar, Joseph Aguilar, Cooper Ansley, Joshua Bowden, Liliann Contreras, Katherine Davis, Idaly Flores, Diego Gonzalez, Jacob Grady, Kinsley Harrison, Dawson Hicks, Allison Highsmith, David Huerta, Xander Jackson, Abby Lee, Martin Lleshi, Miguel Martinez, Suzet Martinez, Madeline McMullan, Ansley Means, Lilly Minskoff, Emma Murray, Kate Navarro, Moises Paramo, Savina Phommasakha, Allie Redding, Brian Rojo, Aaron Smith, Cooper Smith, Bebe Tanner, Anna-Jewell Taylor, Alberto Vazquez, Haley Vieira, Amelia Westbrook, Alexander Wiley, Chantelle Williams, Aaron Zavala, and Rogelio Zavala.

The AP Scholar with Honor Award is granted to students who receive an average score of 3.25 or higher on all exams taken and earn scores of 3 or higher on four or more exams.  Eighteen students received this award: Anthony Aguilar, Jimena Aguilar, Addison Banks, Christian Boss, Kellie Dodd, Edward Fialkowski, Abigail Hotard, Audrey Hotard, Charles Hughes, Miguel Martinez, Ethan Mosher, Maggie Nava Garcia, Richard Navarro, Ethan Nooner, Yineiri Perez Velazquez, Kaylee Thompson, Brody Tyree, and Jarred White.

The AP Scholar with Distinction Award is given to students who achieve an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. Twenty-six students attained this significant honor: Reece Baca, Daniel Ballesteros, Charlize Barbour, Ava Brookshire, Cristopher Castellanos, Bradford Chosewood, Warren Fernandes, Amanda Gant, Lillian Geiger, Kaitlyn Gibson, Ava Gruszczinski, Samuel Hamilton, Hayden Hulsey, Emily Irvin, Georgia Kerr, Elijah King, Ryan Martin, Grayson Means, Emily Pahuamba, Roberto Rios, Collyn Smith, Elisa Smith, Dylan Tatum, Mia Wade, Naomi Witter, and Micah Zack.

Giving credit where credit is due

Habersham Central High School Principal Jonathan Stribling credits the school’s “exceptional students and faculty” with the Central’s “excellent track record” in recent years of students being accpeted to elite colleges and universities.

“Offering 23 Advanced Placement courses, 10 seniors earning the prestigious AP Capstone Diploma, 40 AP Scholars, 18 AP Scholars with Honors, and 26 AP Scholars with Distinction serve as further quantitative evidence that Habersham Central is serving and challenging academically gifted students well, and unequivocally preparing them for the competitive college application process,” said Stribling.

“What I find most exciting is the number of students who are benefiting from the AP experience, providing them with exceptional preparation for postsecondary studies wherever they choose to go to college,” said Cantrell.

The 271 HCHS students who took AP exams last spring earned a combined total of 343 potential college credits.

“This performance exemplifies our students’ hard work, excellent instruction from their teachers, and a strong foundation developed throughout elementary, middle, and high school,” Cantrell said.

Earlier this year, Habersham Central was recognized by the Georgia Department of Education as a 2023 AP Honor School in AP STEM Achievement.  The Ninth Grade Academy was named a 2023 AP Honor School in AP Access and Support.

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