Grant Park AP Capstone students get perfect scoreNovember 5, 2021 News Story
In academics perfection isn’t the goal. Learning is a journey and throughout students and teachers find ways to gain knowledge and skills for a lifetime. But one teacher at Grant Park High School is celebrating perfection this semester as three of her students in the Advanced Placement (AP) research course each scored full marks to earn every point possible on this demanding college-level examination. While that is remarkable in and of itself, what adds to the incredible achievement is that these three perfect scores came from one Winnipeg school.
Weldon Scott, Miranda Mayor, and Carlynn Davidson are enrolled in the Capstone Program and instructed by Dr. Katherine Kristalovich, an English teacher with 17 years’ experience. She holds a masters in Language and Literacy and PhD in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning from the University of Toronto. “In this course, students learn to analyze their research, ultimately strengthening analytical skills and approaches to evidence-based arguments. Through this rigorous process, we have created a unique, collaborative research-based community,” she shared.
The AP Capstone program consists of AP Seminar followed by AP Research. The Grade 10 AP Seminar delves into examining real-world issues and topics from multiple perspectives. Students analyze research to develop credible evidence-based arguments that are presented through research reports, written arguments, and presentations. The Grade 11 AP Research is designed to further cultivate these skills through rigorous independent research to produce and defend a scholarly academic paper.
Student Weldon Scott, whose research was titled, Second-Language Acquisition and Morphological Irregularity in Simulations of Natural Language Evolution said, “AP Research is a very self-driven course so we had a lot of freedom to experiment and see when we were the most productive, which I really appreciated. I would recommend that students try deviating from their established study or work habits to identify potential new routines so that they can be as efficient as possible. Similarly, I think that teachers can encourage students to try this during class, as well as independently.”
Grant Park High School is one of only two schools to offer this program in Manitoba. Students who successfully complete this two-year program can also earn one of two AP Capstone awards, which are valued by universities and colleges in Canada and around the world. The program's goal is to equip students with independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills.
Carlynn Davidson’s research had a medical aspect and is called Can Extracellular Vesicles Mimic Exercise? Measuring Extracellular Vesicle Uptake and the Subsequent Effect on Mitochondrial Content in Skeletal Muscle Cells.
“Upon graduation, I hope to pursue a career in the medical field,” said Davidson. “I believe that the plethora of skills learned throughout the AP research course — whether that be thorough literature analysis, or the creation of an experimental design — are of significant value in helping me proceed into my post-secondary education and into the scientific realm.”
Dr. Kristalovich’s pride in her students is genuine and heartfelt. “It is such a privilege to work with these students. This is the level of research and inquiry that I’ve typically seen in work with graduate-level students. It’s both impressive and promising.”
Miranda Mayor, who rounded out the AP hat-trick with her research entitled, Exploring the implementation of ultracapacitors into Electrical Energy Storage Systems, was enthusiastic about her performance. “When I first realized I got a five, I was ecstatic. I had put hours and hours over the school year into the project. I never expected to get a perfect score! Picking a topic that was personally interesting allowed me to immerse myself in the project, and to continually work on it without getting distracted.”
Miranda’s project focused on using a device called an oscilloscope to measure values of ultracapacitors to calculate energy per unit of mass. Then, using the energy per unit of mass value, determine if ultracapacitors could be implemented into a large-scale energy storage system. This would be environmentally advantageous as ultracapacitors are materialistically optimal over batteries, and energy storage systems promote the use of cleaner energy production methods.
The future is definitely bright for these students as they prepare for post-secondary studies and future Capstone members have a trusted teacher and guide for their success in Dr. Kristalovich.