WATCH: Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy Students Showcase Their AP Program Capstone Projects

curriculum cultivates communication skills to defend evidence-based arguments

ABOVE VIDEO: Do you want your high school student to be as well prepared for college as possible? Brevard County’s Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy on Florida’s Space Coast has one of the nation’s best AP Capstone programs. Holy Trinity senior students, Isabella Weiner and John DeLuca will now present their AP Capstone Project Presentations and school teachers explain the advantages of Holy Trinity’s outstanding academic programs

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy Capstone AP Program students practiced the oral defense of their AP Capstone project on Friday on Space Coast Daily TV.

At Holy Trinity, students may pursue a College Board AP Capstone Diploma through successful completion (AP exams scores of 3 or above) of two-year-long AP courses: AP Seminar and AP Research, as well as four additional AP courses.

This curriculum cultivates communication skills, written and verbal, to defend evidence-based arguments.

Rather than teaching subject-specific content, these courses develop students’ skills in research, analysis, evidence-based arguments, collaboration, writing, and presenting.

During the AP Research class, students conduct a year-long mentored, research-based investigation of a topic of their choice to answer a research question.

The project culminates in a 4,000 to 5,000-word thesis paper and 20-minute oral defense. Students who complete the two-year program can earn one of two different AP Capstone awards, which are valued by colleges across the United States and around the world.

There are 16 students currently in the AP Capstone program.

These are their projects:Holy Trinity boasts a 100% passing rate for AP Research for the last three years.

Space Coast Daily had an opportunity to watch Holy Trinity AP Capstone students practice the oral defense of their projects and take feedback.

Space Coast Daily spoke with current Class of 2021 senior and Capstone student John DeLuca, as well as Isabella Weiner, who earned a 5 last year and is now assisting with the current class.

Both John and Isabella will be able to speak to the program itself, why they chose the project they did, where they are planning to go to, or attending, college and what they’ll be majoring in, and what they want to do in the future.

We also talked with Cathy Koos, who teaches the AP Research class and is overseeing student projects. She provided the background knowledge on the program and historical perspective on types of student projects and where the Capstone Diploma has taken some HT alumni.

Isabella Weiner is a returning AP Research student who helps with the current class. She has earned first place at science fairs and recently won Best of Show which automatically advances her to the International Science and Engineering Fair. She designed and built a 3D printer that works with soil from Mars.

■ Esha Patel, Class of 2020, published in The Young Researcher for her paper “Chemotaxis of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii towards AHLs.”  She is currently at Duke University and double majoring in biology and global health on the pre-med track.

On her time at HT, Esha says:

“I loved the healthy environment present at Holy Trinity, both academically and socially. We often lifted each other up instead of tearing each other down. I never felt any judgment or competition amongst peers, but more so a sense of encouragement.

“Between the rigorous academics and variety of extracurricular opportunities, I think Holy Trinity really helped me prepare for college. The teachers always pushed us to our intellectual limits, and helped me discover what I was passionate about and will pursue in the future.

“I’m doing well, currently I am applying to multiple research labs for this spring and summer here at Duke and awaiting responses. My work in AP Research and FIT has been very helpful during interviews and essay writing to show my previous experience, making me a stronger candidate for the positions.”

■ Hari Dandapani, Class of 2019, published in Science Direct for his paper “The contemporary role of robotics in surgery: A predictive mathematical model on the short-term effectiveness of robotic and laparoscopic surgery.”

Hari is currently involved in research with the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health and is an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant in computer science at Brown University.

■ Isabella Weiner is a returning AP Research student who helps with the current class. She has earned first place at science fairs and recently won Best of Show which automatically advances her to the International Science and Engineering Fair. She designed and built a 3D printer that works with soil from Mars.

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