By ANGELA FARR KING
Eleven seniors walked across the stage on Friday, May 27, 2022, with the distinction of being NC Capstone graduates: Rachel Anderson, Harrison Brashear, Cassidy Caskaddon, Sarah Beth Inman, Hunter Jamison, Bodie King, Corban Parker, Jackson Reid, Mary Slagle, Briley Walker, and Connor Zink. Their Capstone diplomas will be awarded to them this summer when all of their work is finalized. According to Mr. Jacob Lail, the principal at Alexander Central High School, this diploma is one of the highest honors high school seniors in North Carolina can achieve. He said that the Capstone Program at AC is part of the AP (Advanced Placement) Academy, which includes students with extremely high academic abilities and goals.
Alexander Central AP Academy in an Official Capstone School. According to the literature from AC, “this 21st Century program focuses on preparation for future success, not only in college, but also in the workforce.” The AP Academy “provides students with opportunities to achieve in a culture of academic excellence and rigor. It also provides the opportunity for college credits to be earned in high school through AP courses.”
Alexander Central High School is one of the select few high schools in the entire state that can offer a Capstone Diploma and Certificate in addition to the rigorous opportunities set forth by the AP Academy. According to Mr. Lail, less than 6% of the schools in North Carolina have the ability to offer these courses. The teachers of the AP Academy are specially trained by the College Board with advanced degrees.
When discussing their journey to earn a Capstone Diploma, Sarah Beth Inman and Briley Walker talked about the mix of work they completed at school and at home. They each began this journey at the beginning of their freshman year. They committed to taking the required AP courses, but in addition to these, they also committed to taking the Capstone Seminar class their Junior year and the Capstone Research class their senior year.
Inman said that “it was really difficult. I worked on my research paper and project at least two days per week. It teaches you to pull your own weight. You have to learn to be self-disciplined and self-sufficient to accomplish this.”
Walker spoke about the required research project. She said that she had to choose “an article from the College Board that was presented in class.” She talked about the challenges to keep up with the extra work each week on top of her AP classes and her extracurricular activities. In the AP Seminar class, they were required to write two papers. One was a group project and the other was an individual one. They then had to prepare two presentations for these projects.
In their AP Research class, they had to complete a 4,000-5,000 word research paper with a 15-20 minute presentation on their findings. These are considered to be the most difficult courses to take in the county and they definitely helped to prepare these eleven graduates for their futures in college or the workforce.
Twenty-six students began this journey, but only eleven completed all of the requirements to earn their Capstone diplomas. To receive their Capstone diplomas, these students had to pass five AP exams as well.
These Capstone graduates are ready to tackle the next chapter of their lives after working hard for these distinguished diplomas.