By Kavitha Brunner
Here at Hammond High School, students are encouraged every day to be the best student they can possibly be. Students work hard to achieve maximum success in their classes. To embrace the potential of every student at Hammond, the school has created the “Step It Up” initiative.
By “stepping it up,” students who might otherwise take regular level classes are encouraged to take honors classes, and students who might otherwise take honors classes are encouraged to take GT or AP courses.
A “Step It Up” Fair was held on January 8th during all lunch shifts in the guidance hallway. Here, GT and AP teachers of all subjects sat out and “recruited” new students. The teachers would give brief explanations of their upper-level classes to curious students in hopes of persuading the student to take the course.
Along with this, there was an assembly on January 7th for students who have “AP Potential.” At this assembly, several students who are already enrolled in upper-level classes spoke to those with potential, describing the rigors and momentum of the classes they take.
Hammond’s Leadership and AP Government teacher, Mr. Livieratos, says that “the decision to step it up should be based on individual students’ passions and interests. Students should challenge themselves; there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to this.”
Mr. L goes on to relate to students here at Hammond: “When I was in high school, I sort of played it safe: I was good at English and History, so I stayed in honors. It felt good to be the smartest kid in those honors courses. I could’ve stepped it up there. But it wouldn’t have made sense for me to step it up in math because I was awful at it.”
Mr. L feels that every student has at least one niche that they can definitely step it up in, but it’s just a matter of finding that niche. “That’s what we teachers and guidance counselors are here for.”
Sophomore Connor Landfried took honors English in his freshman year, but chose to step it up to GT English this year. “I feel like I made the right choice. It will look better for college. But when I was in honors, I got all As, but now I’m getting straight Bs,” he says. “But I recommend stepping it up. Just know your limits and don’t go overboard.”
Kunal Thapar, also a sophomore, stepped it up by moving straight from computer science I to computer science III AP. He feels that skipping computer science II and really pushing himself to do his best in AP computer science was a good decision: he chose to do this because he wants to pursue a career in computer science.
Choosing subjects that you are really passionate about and want to pursue is important in stepping it up. It wouldn’t make sense to overload yourself in subjects that you don’t understand or enjoy. Don’t step it up just for the sake of stepping it up: make sure you are comfortable enough in the subject area in question.