Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Spanish Class a Tough Bunch

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Spanish Class a Tough Bunch

Article excerpt

It takes hard work, an enormous amount of studying and constant practicing to pass Delores Alcazar's Advanced Placement Spanish exam at Capital High School. Even with that degree of rigor, Alcazar was thrilled to learn that all eight of her students passed this year's AP Spanish test.

In a classroom otherwise empty of students enjoying summer break or preparing for college, Alcazar spoke of her pride while chatting with assistant principal Matthew Shock and fellow AP teacher Matthew Cox. The walls of the room are lined with pictures of students, pieces of Spanish art and colorful posters with "Spanish club on them.

"This may be the only class with this many people in it that got a 100 percent passing rate in the county, Shock said. He is also the coordinator for AP classes.

Capital High School has 18 various AP courses in the school, taught by Capital teachers, with about 230 students taking those classes. Many students take more than one AP class per semester.

The Spanish class stands out for the students who are dedicated to learning the language. Students who take the AP course have passed through lower levels of Spanish classes, weeding out the other students who didn't make the cut.

"It takes five years of study to get to AP Spanish, Alcazar said.

That is the same process for AP math courses. For other classes such as AP European History, students are not required to pass a lower level class, Cox said. In his class, he will typically see a 50- to 60-percent passing rate as a result.

This spring, the eight students who took Alcazar's class were all preparing throughout the class for the final AP exam, featuring reading, listening, speaking and critical thinking portions of the exam.

The exam takes anywhere between three and a half to four hours to complete, said Matt Shock, the assistant principal who monitored the exam this year.

"Usually I don't get students that just want that on their college transcript. They actually want to learn to speak Spanish, Alcazar said. All of her students this year went on to higher education, except for one student who will return to Switzerland to finish high school. …

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