Wantagh Students Meet the Capstone Challenge

Wantagh Students Meet the Capstone Challenge

The Advanced Placement Capstone diploma remains a goal for many students at Wantagh High School, a symbol of their commitment to challenging and rigorous coursework. In the Class of 2023, the College Board awarded this distinction to 14 graduates, and several current seniors have already completed the requirements. 

To receive the AP Capstone Diploma, students must earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar, AP Research and four additional AP Exams of their choice. Last year, nearly 16,000 students nationwide earned the designation.

The seniors from the Class of 2023 to receive the AP Capstone diploma were Sean Browne, Alexander Como, Despina Avgousti, Sarah Braun, Vasilios Kanellis, Katherine Killian, Ava Kornbluth, Matthew Lin, Stefano Linardi, Kylie Masterson, Natasha Meagher, Angela Pellicoro, James Romano and Nora Toscano. Of those 14, Sean, Alexander, Katherine, Matthew, Stefano, Natasha, Angela, James and Nora completed the requirements by the end of their junior year. 

Among this year’s seniors, nine students already completed the AP Capstone diploma requirements and will receive the distinction in June 2024. They are Shane Adams, Joshua Berlin, Andrew Braun, Jaiden Diaz, Maylani Lee, Jake Mendolia, Ryan Mendolia, Emma Nicholas and Heather Sheridan. 

Emma said that she took AP Seminar and Research to improve her research skills and argument writing, which would benefit her in Model Congress. In addition to successfully completing the two courses, which culminated with a 20-minute presentation to defend her research, she also scored a 3 or higher on AP exams in European History, Language, Statistics and United States History.

Her research focused on Black Widow in the Marvel comic books series and the how the character’s sexualization decreased over time to become a stronger female role model. Jaiden also analyzed a character from Marvel, Wanda Maximoff, and if Wanda demonstrates the five stages of grief when impacted by death. 

Jaiden successfully completed AP Language, Physics, Statistics and United States History, in addition to the seminar and research classes, to earn the diploma.

“It really shows a lot of the hard work that we went through,” Jaiden said of he and his peers who will be receiving the AP Capstone diploma in June. “It was very challenging. You always have to put out your best work.”

Emma added, “You can really expand the horizons of what research is out there and you can add your own. It’s a really gratifying experience.”

Social studies teacher Heather Jones and English Language Arts teacher Heather Naughton are co-teachers for AP Seminar, offered to sophomores. They each also teach AP Research classes for juniors. Unlike traditional AP subject exams with a single end-of-year assessment, AP Seminar and AP Research assessments are project based and evaluate skill mastery through group projects, presentations and individual essays completed throughout the year. Students are encouraged to create research projects based on topics of personal interest.

Thirteen seniors were awarded the AP Seminar and Research Certificate by earning scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research. They are Julia Cocchiola, Hunter Fasano, Katelyn Gilhuley, Madelyn Hartmann, Sierra Kenny, Kevin Kramer, Anthony Lerro, 

Nyla Lester, Brooke Minogue, Madeline Rose, Salomon Rothe, Ellie Varrone and Brendan Yager. They could qualify for an AP Capstone diploma if they receive scores of 3 or higher on four additional AP exams before graduation. 

Director of Humanities Julie Rosslee said that the AP Capstone diploma and certificate is a testament to the hard work and dedication of both students and all of Wantagh High School’s Advanced Placement course teachers.