Student inspiration

By Connie Nolen / Community columnist

“How many years have you been a teacher?”

This normally innocuous question seemed threatening on my scholarship application.

“Well…what’s that number?” my husband asked.

“Probably too high to win this AP Seminar Professional Development scholarship,” I said.

Students have consistently inspired me during my teaching career by completing lengthy projects and portfolios for scholarship competitions. I had to complete only a brief application and an essay.

“The only way to win…is to submit,” I said aloud as I clicked the appointed button.

Tuition for AP Seminar summer training is over $1,000 so winning seemed paramount. The first course of two in the AP Capstone program, AP Seminar teachers lead students through research and presentation. In class, students examine issues by questioning and investigating. Finally, students write and present. Students also create and upload work to individual College Board AP Portfolios—much like AP Art Portfolios. After taking AP Seminar, students may take AP Research the following year.

Influencers master research skills quickly to maintain their credibility. Facing difficult issues, finding information, reflecting and collecting their own ideas, and synthesizing others’ work with their unique ideas empowers students to create change by teaming, transforming and transmitting their work.

New College sophomores and PHS ’18 alums Kayla Warren and Damasia Jordan visited and shared their experiences as college freshmen. Eager to show them my new online research tools, I apologized that I’d created the tools after I taught their class with bib and note card.

“I learned using the cards in your class, but no one uses cards in college,” Warren said.

“Same at my school,” said Jordan.

Unable to find digital tools for annotated bibliographies or notes, I created three templates. Showing Warren and Jordan my creations, they suggested edits.

Sharing the gist of AP Seminar with these two young women, I wondered aloud if AP Capstone might provide digital research formatting tools.

Inspired by these generous, hard-working young women, I listened to their summer plans. Soon, they asked my summer plans.

“I won College Board’s AP Seminar Teacher Training scholarship,” I said. “I’m going to training!”