A Student Defends AP

I don't know what they're teaching kids these days. Give them a little learnin' and they think they're supposed to go out and spout their thinkin' about everything.

This was sent to me by a former student who I managed not to completely ruin during her brief time in my world. She initiated the discussion, although I confess once I read the letter I got a lil' tingly teacher feeling. She's mailed it out - OLD SCHOOL HARD COPY - to relevant legislators.

*sniff* These are the ones Whitney wanted us to teach well so they could lead the way and such. Megan will be ruling a world of her choice soon - I'm glad she's using her powers for good and not evil.

Well, so far.

Printed with permission.

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19 February 2015

Dear Oklahoma Representatives and Senators:

I cannot recall a day where I have not been proud to call myself a Union Redskin - a student of Union High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In elementary school, my teachers would try to give me extra work to challenge me because I always finished my work before everyone else. They always told me I would go on to do great things, that they could not wait to see the person I would grow to become in high school and beyond.

That time is now. In just three short months, I will be graduating as a Salutatorian of one of the top public high schools in Oklahoma with a weighted GPA of 4.939 and an unweighted GPA of 4.00. In addition to that, I have been named a National Merit Finalist, occupied a student leadership role of great significance in the Union High School Marching Band, and earned community service recognition by serving over 300 hours during high school. Just like they said they would, my elementary school teachers have watched me grow up and mature into a bright, successful young woman. They have come to support me at my awards ceremonies and musical performances. That same dedication of teachers to their students is seen throughout all grades at Union Public Schools, and I am beyond grateful to be taught by such loving, caring people.

Those supportive teachers are the foremost reason that I have a desire and drive to succeed in school. They prepared me for high school. When I got to high school, my 9th grade pre-AP US Government/Oklahoma History teacher Dallas Koehn realized from the start that I had a drive to succeed. He pushed me to my limits and taught me what learning is really supposed to be like. He taught me to think outside the box, to form my own opinions about things. He especially prepared me to take Advanced Placement United States History (APUSH) as a sophomore. This began my tenure of AP classes at Union; totaling 8 classes in grades 10-12, they are the reason why I am now Salutatorian of my graduating class, ranked 18 out of 1080.

This high class rank is what gives me an advantage when applying for selective universities, like my top choice, Washington University in St. Louis. I will pursue Electrical Engineering at Wash U in fall 2015, where I will certainly need to think independently and manage my time wisely.

AP CLASSES HAVE TAUGHT ME HOW TO THINK INDEPENDENTLY AND MANAGE MY TIME WISELY.

So you see, the presence of AP classes in my high school career  DIRECTLY  INFLUENCES  my life in college and beyond in a series of intertwined ways! If I did not have the ability to take APUSH as a sophomore, or any AP classes for that matter, I would not be able to achieve and live out my American Dream of going to my top choice college to study Engineering, music, business, and anything else that might fit my fancy. Knowledge is a beautiful thing, and I desire more than anything to expand my horizons of knowledge in community with other passionate individuals like myself. That’s my dream.

And really, isn’t that what American Exceptionalism is all about? Raising new generations to find their own American Dream and give them the tools to pursue it?  If you take away AP classes, you will be denying future generations their right to live out their passions. Please, Oklahoma Representatives and Senators, DO NOT rid Oklahoma of Advanced Placement classes.

Sincerely,

Megan Harju
Union High School
Tulsa, OK

Harju Letter

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