Assistant Principal Savka Mladenovich announced the successful completion of Oak Forest High School’s first ever AP (Advanced Placement) Camp, in which faculty members and current AP upperclassmen worked together to create a supportive environment for the incoming AP freshmen students. Oak Forest High School encourages students to take at least one AP class during their high school experience because students who have completed the AP class and taken the AP exam tend to have higher acceptance rates into higher education and higher retention rates once in college.
This AP camp was designed to give incoming advanced placement freshmen a taste of what they would experience in their high school AP classes, as well as providing team building lessons to help the freshmen get acclimated to the school and their upcoming challenging classes. AP Camp students learned survival skills and the value of networking, along with many other things.
Two Oak Forest High School AP teachers, Kevin Farrell and Ed Lipowski, provided instruction to the AP camp students. They provided multi-cultural reading and writing assignments to introduce students to human geography and ethnic literature. Mr. Farrell summarized AP Camp as “a great immersion experience for the freshmen.”
One of the highlights of the camp was the AP mentors. The mentors are AP students who had tips for being a success in AP classes. They helped ease students’ fears about their challenging curriculum by taking the AP Camp students on a scavenger hunt around the school. They also served as targets when the freshmen threw away their fears by writing them on strips of paper attached to water balloons.
Kevin Conway, an upperclassmen and camp mentor, best summarized the entire AP Camp experience, including the culminating excursion. He said, “The field trip was fantastic. Our tour guide was excellent and pointed out a lot of the main buildings. What made me really interested is that he had a lot of the background information and all of the history on the sites which he talked about. We shared our bus with the students from Hillcrest and all of the freshmen, including ours, were very respectful. I think this entire camp was a huge success, plus now the incoming freshmen know us, the mentors. We told them all not to be afraid to ask us for help the first few days.”
Parents noted that students came home excited about the camp, their teachers, and their mentors.
Oak Forest High School has almost quadrupled the amount of students taking AP exams and several teachers are experiencing a great deal of success. One Oak Forest High School math teacher, Mel Gengo, had a 100% pass rate for her AP Calculus exam. Social studies teacher, Eric Mollin, is now teaching five classes of AP Psychology and had 80% of his students take the AP exam.