During the 2019-20 school year, Ridge View High School seniors, Bernard McIlnay and John Walker earned the Advanced Placement® (AP®) Capstone Diploma. Ayjah Johnson, Elizabeth Keels and Grace Miller earned the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™. Johnson will attend Western Carolina University. Keels, McIlnay, Miller, and Walker will attend the University of South Carolina.

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“We are proud to recognize the outstanding achievements of students who participated in the AP Capstone Diploma program, and we continue to look forward to providing students with opportunities to explore their passions while building college-level academic and collaboration skills,” said Ridge View High School Principal Dr. Brenda Mack-Foxworth.

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The AP Capstone DiplomaTM program allows students to develop critical thinking, research, and presentation skills, both individually and as a team. Students conduct academic research on topics of personal interest in two interdisciplinary courses: AP Seminar and AP Research. At Ridge View High School, students focused their research on a range of topics, including the effects of gerrymandering on South Carolina, how social media use affects mental health in teens, and the effects of intruder drills on the mental health of teenagers.

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To receive the AP Capstone Diploma, students must earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar, AP Research, and on four additional AP Exams. To receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate, students must earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research. Over 1,900 schools participated in the AP CapstoneTM program worldwide during the 2019-20 school year, when approximately 9,800 students earned the AP Capstone Diploma and 5,200 students earned the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

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Nicole Walker, the director of the Scholars Academy Magnet for Business and Law program, who facilitates the learning said, “Pursuing an AP Capstone diploma means students will be well-prepared for the rigorous challenges of college studies. Students learn to conduct real-world, meaningful research, synthesize ideas, and contribute to the academic conversation around a variety of important topics.”

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“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 not only their academic careers but their professional careers as well.”

The College Board Advanced Placement Program gives students the opportunity to take challenging college-level courses while still in high school. A 3 or higher on an AP Exam has multiple benefits for students, including earning college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on AP Exams, saving them time and money. Research shows AP students are better prepared for and more likely to enroll and remain in college, do well in classes, and earn their degrees on time. Each exam is developed by a committee of college and university faculty and AP teachers, ensuring that AP Exams align their high standards.

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