I Am AP Club encourages Grizzlies to seek support


Photo by Joseph Kamandy

AP Ambassadors unite to give Grizzlies a strong support system.

Story by Valeria Najera, Staff Writer

   Perfectionism plagues the American education system as AP students struggle in silence, fearing judgment from peers when seeking academic support. High expectations for high school students to outperform other districts and load their schedules with AP classes may be contributing to the data found in a recent study by the National Institute of Health showing a decline in the mental health of teens ages 13 to 18, with one out of three experiencing an anxiety disorder. Mission Hills High School is striking back against the dangerous doctrine of perfectionism through the I Am Ap Club, whose mission is to encourage students to be open about struggles they are facing in college-level classes and support them as they strive for success.  

   “I was not aware that the I Am AP club existed, but knowing this information now relieves a lot of stress because I thought I was alone if I ever had trouble in a class,” Kelsie Ramirez (10) said. 

    One Wednesday a month, the I Am AP Club hosts an after school breakout session where AP Ambassadors and any students willing to come sit in a circle to discuss tips about handling stress, preparing for tests, approaching teachers, and overall improvement of self-reliance and responsibility. The next breakout session is on March 25 after school in room 540 and the first 20 people who attend will receive pens or erasable highlighters. On April 15 the breakout topic is preparing for AP exams and the first 20 people who attend will receive a free review book of their choice. 

   “I Am AP creates a place for students to face the challenges of AP and Honors courses together. We are an inclusive, inviting, and supportive club for all Grizzlies to succeed in the classroom,” said Mrs. Markgraf, I Am AP advisor.

   Taking an AP or Honors course prepares students for college and builds critical skills needed to succeed; the rigor involved should not have to mean that students are expected to handle their AP or honors classes alone. The I Am AP club is always available for all students of Mission Hills and even has a class on how to stay organized and how to take proper notes to succeed in an AP class. 

   “I love watching students come together in support of each other, especially to promote success in the classroom. Our students genuinely care about helping one another, and I see that everyday through tutoring, mentorship, and planning. I Am AP is a perfect example of what it means to be a Grizzly,” Mrs. Markgraf said.

  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in five children in America ages 3 through 17 have a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder related to daily pressure. Aware and ready to respond, the I Am Ap club wants students to know they have a community of Mission Hills mentors ready to help relieve stress.

   At Mission Hills High School, the number of students taking AP or honors classes is growing every year and AP test scores are steadily increasing. Mission Hills credits this success to the help provided for Mission Hills students. The I am AP Club helps students who are having difficulty with any subject each day at lunch in room 540. On Monday, tutors help students struggling in math or foreign language; on Tuesday, ambassadors instruct students in science; on Wednesday, mentors assist in English, history, and psychology; on Thursday, tutors help students with any subject; and on Friday, students can come in for ACT and SAT practice. The I Am AP club also has AP Ambassadors who work with students individually. To schedule a tutoring session with an ambassador, go to the I Am AP website or email Mrs. Markgraf at [email protected]