The two students who received perfect scores: Fernando Cedeño (left) and Nia Epperson (right)

PWCS celebrates seniors Fernando Cedeño from Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School and Nia Epperson from Patriot High School for earning perfect scores on a college-level Advanced Placement® (AP®) exam in May 2023. Fernando was one of only 247, and Nia was one of only 459 of students in the world to earn every point possible on the AP® Spanish Language and Culture and AP® Computer Science Principles (APCSP) exam, respectively.

On her perfect score on the APCSP exam, Nia shared, “I felt so proud of myself.... I didn’t even know how much I'd love computer science until I took APCSP last year.... Now, my achievements in this class have driven me to seek out a degree, and eventually a career, in the computer programming realm.”

Fernando attributes his classes with Jackeline Martinez, his AP® Spanish teacher last year at Colgan High, as playing a significant role in helping him to achieve his goals, stating, “Her lessons were a huge part of my success in the exam.... [H]er teaching goes beyond the classroom, as she has taught me things I will be able to apply forever.”

On why it is so great to be able to take classes in his field of interest, Fernando elaborated, “Taking advanced courses is definitely a great way to expand your academic mind. It is also a good way to prepare yourself for college and potentially receive credits that will save you money and time down the road.”

Martinez affirmed advanced coursework is beneficial for students, “AP® classes...are fast paced, cover more material than regular classes, and require independent work like research and analysis. These courses can help students grow personally by developing their confidence, independence, and intellectual curiosity.”

Fernando and Nia’s perfect scores are truly remarkable—while other students may have missed points and still scored a 5 on the exam, these two students are a part of a small percentage who earned every single point possible on their respective exam.

The AP® Spanish Language and Culture exam had four different sections of the exam—multiple choice written, multiple choice audio, free response written, and free response audio.

Elizabeth Bussian, Nia’s APCSP teacher last year at Patriot High, explained the different parts of the AP® exam. “The exam consists of two parts: 70 multiple choice questions in a two-hour time limit and a performance task [a program students develop] in class with a minimum of 12 hours of dedicated time. Students submit three items for their task: program code, video showing code performance, and responses to specific questions about their program– it's functionality, purpose and elements, etc.”

Nia reflected on her experience, concluding, “AP® classes are meant to be challenging, but not impossible. Teachers and resources are always available to help you, and the rewards these classes can bring, whether emotional, academic, or numerical, are 100% worth it in the end. I know when I look back on my high school years, I’ll be grateful for the people and experiences I encountered in the AP® classes I took—especially the computer science ones.”