Introducing the Capstone Warriors

New Capstone program provided by College Board allows students to gain skills for life post-high school.


provided by Cynthia Pryor

Junior Jacob Timko helps team move around pictures describing the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger for a classroom activity.

Rachel Singleton, Editor-in-Chief

Teacher Cynthia Pryor calls them her “Capstone Warriors.” Now in its second year at FHS, AP Capstone is a College Board program that allows students to become critical thinkers, writers and speakers which will aid them in their future endeavors after high school.
AP Capstone consists of two classes, AP Seminar and AP Research, which are taught by Pryor and are taken throughout the whole school year. If a student passes both Capstone classes along with four additional AP classes, they graduate with a Capstone Diploma that signifies their commitment to rigor in academics.
“Students often comment that this class is unlike any class they’ve ever taken. It’s true. Standardized tests sometimes reinforce the transmission of content, often at the expense of skills development,” said Pryor. “Colleges have grown weary of students who can only repeat what they have learned. They also want students who can think logically and critically about the subjects they are exploring. That’s what AP Capstone encourages them to do.”
AP Seminar is the first class taken with the program. Students learn to conduct research and craft well-built arguments. They learn to ask essential questions and “examine topics critically and with a discerning eye,” said Pryor. In the spring, they are assessed with a group presentation, an individual presentation and essay and a written exam.
Sophomore AP Seminar student Ethan Homenik says that although the class is challenging, he has gained a lot from it. “It is definitely something that is good for me. I have had to learn a lot of different skills and rely on my team as well as have them rely on me,” said Homenik.
Sophomore AP Seminar student Lily Paccassi found similar benefits in the class. “Before this class, I would get overwhelmed when I was assigned a research paper. This class helped me with that,” said Paccassi. “We also have to present a lot. So, we have become better public speakers.”
AP Research is taken the following school year after AP Seminar. Students conduct a year-long research project based on a scholarly thesis developed at the beginning of the year. They use their skills gained from both classes to write a 5000 word or 25 page paper and create a presentation surrounding their thesis. In both AP Seminar and AP Research, student’s essays are scored by college board while their presentations are locally scored.
“Capstone has taught me a different perspective on life that I might not have had if I hadn’t taken the class,” said senior AP Research student Ashelyn Kyne.
Students in the class enjoy being around their peers with similar motivations and goals. “It is really nice to be in a class where everyone is up for it. It’s good to know, like any real elective class, that you are in a class with people who want to be doing what you are doing, and it makes it so much more enjoyable,” said Maybach.