By Kate Moore
Oyster Bay High School exudes academic rigor. With numerous Advanced Placement (AP) courses, as well as dual enrollment courses, Oyster Bay pushes students to reach academic success. However, some classes are more strenuous than others. AP Physics Ⅱ, AP Chemistry, and AP Calculus BC rank at the top of this list. Each course is sure to challenge students with rigorous content.
AP Physics Ⅱ is an algebra-based, college-level course that analyzes topics such as kinetics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism. Class of 2020 Salutatorian Julia Cutajar recently spoke about the rigor of AP Physics Ⅱ. “Students in the class all strive to have a deeper understanding of the world around them. Some concepts covered in this course are hard to internalize, but everyone in my class helps each other out so that we are all successful. One of the greatest feelings is when a concept finally clicks!”
AP Chemistry is an introductory college course that explores chemistry concepts through inquiry-based labs as well as focusing on four big ideas. Class of 2020 Valedictorian Aavi Gupta says, “Though AP Chemistry may have been one of the most challenging classes I have taken, it was one of the most rewarding courses I have experienced.”
Mrs. Annicelli, who teaches AP Chemistry, reinforces that although the class is difficult, it is, indeed, rewarding. “AP Chemistry is certainly a challenging course as it requires students to analyze systems and particles that they cannot see or observe directly. Students also integrate science and math to solve problems. AP Chemistry may be one of our most challenging courses, but one might argue that is also one of the most valuable courses that students take at Oyster Bay High School.”
Mrs. Annicelli adds, “Not to mention the 8-10 college credits that can be awarded for a strong performance on the AP Exam. Alumni of the course often write from college to explain that the challenges of AP Chemistry prepared them well for college coursework.”
AP Calculus BC is also an introductory college course that prompts students to solve real-world problems in order to better understand differential and integral calculus. A key piece of any calculus course is justifying conclusions using concepts such as limits and derivatives.
Julia Cutajar explains, “The class enables students to truly challenge themselves. The concepts are not meant to be easy, they are meant to get students to think outside of the box. To be successful, you need to draw from knowledge acquired from previous math courses. Calculus is the cumulation of all the math experience I’ve had, and it’s exciting to see everything come together to solve difficult and interesting problems.”
Both Julia and Aavi agree that great teachers makes it easier to succeed in these courses. Mr. Knapp, Mrs. Pang, and Mrs. Annicelli work hard to ensure that their students understand the challenging coursework. Although the material may appear impossible, excelling in these courses will be worth the strenuous nights of studying.