Students at Westlake High School taking Advanced Placement (AP) tests are ready. They have been working all year to get to the test taking moment.

“From the very first day we walked into our AP classes we were told the structure and format of our exams and how best to prepare for them,” said Aqsa Siddique, a Westlake junior, addressing other AP students. “Whether you’re taking one exam or five exams, I have complete faith in all of you.”

This year, 183 Westlake students will take at least one AP test. But before that, they participated in a pep rally-like event May 4 — the Friday before the tests started May 7 in the county. AP exams access how much a student learned in their course over the school year and could lead to college credit based on the test score.

During the event, they wore shirts depicting the number of tests they are set to take. A white shirt was worn by those taking one exam, orange shirts designated those who were taking two and teal shirts were worn by students taking three or more AP exams.

A parade around the school’s hallway, led by drummers and cheered on by their peers who stood along the halls to wish AP students luck in the coming weeks, ended in the gym where students had pizza and received study survival kits with pencils, water and snacks.

“It’s rewarding,” said sophomore Memoona Munir of preparing for the tests. “All of our work was for something.”

“We wanted to acknowledge their efforts, focus and perseverance,” said Holly Dolan, a resource teacher who helped plan the event. “We want to celebrate kids who work hard on their academics.”

Matthew Panzarella, an AP history teacher, was elected by the students to speak at the event. On his way to the podium several students shouted out his mantra, “Be specific!” He told the teens they were ready for the exams, they had spent the past year working hard and sacrificing a lot to get to this point.

“You are why I’m honored to call myself a Westlake AP teacher,” Panzarella said.

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.