As the school year kicks off some new members of the Science Academy talk about dealing with their classes, their schedules, and the extra pressure involved with being in the Science Academy.
The Science Academy gives students an opportunity to take advanced math and science courses. Students that are part of the Science Academy arrive at school for zero period at 7:00 a.m. Specific electives are given to those who are part of the academy. For sophomores and juniors, strictly in the Science Academy, the elective offered is tech analysis; a public speaking elective is offered to freshmen. An average 3.5 GPA is required. Field trips, like the freshmen trip to The Meadowlands Environment Center on Tuesday, October 15th, and activities, like Mole Day, are also part of the academy.
To freshman Sebastian Ortiz, being in the science academy is a completely foreign experience. His decision to join the academy was driven by his desire to get into a good college, although his parents also influenced his decision. “I haven’t decided what college I want to go to yet, but I hope that being in the science academy will help when I finally make my decision,” says Sebastian. His after school schedule is sometimes affected by being a part of the academy. He says, “Sometimes I have to stay after school so the teacher can help me with something, but that’s about it.” Taking on this challenge comes with certain sacrifices; Sebastian admits that the classes are a bit challenging, and he has had to sacrifice sleep to be in the Science Academy. “Some parts of it are really difficult; I’ve been struggling to keep my grades up.” Altogether, Sebastian looks at the positive aspects of the Science Academy that make the year a memorable one. He states, “My favorite thing about the science academy is the bond we form with each other. It is an experience and something to remember for the rest of your life. The lab experiments in chemistry and mole day have been really fun.” He encourages his classmates to join the academy in the future; he says, “I would like to get some more fun people involved.”
Rama Tutari, a sophomore at Leonia High School, also talks about her first year in the Science Academy. Aside from how much it will benefit her in the future, Rama states her reason for wanting to join the academy. “I [have] always liked biology, medicine [and] chemistry; I have always liked the sciences.” She says, “My favorite part [about the Science Academy] is AP Bio. It is early in the morning and I get 45 minutes just to learn about biology; [We learn] all the extra things that you don’t see in the normal biology classes.” However, Rama admits that the difficulty of the academy has taken her by surprise. “Honestly, a lot of us didn’t really understand what we were in for when we signed up for it. We take two science classes, some also take two math classes; we only get to choose one elective because our other elective is tech analysis. All this extra work […] is really stressful and time consuming. A lot of us are seeing our grades drop.” She admits that keeping up with the classes has been difficult and sometimes overwhelming. “The pace of the classes is really fast which is why it does become overwhelming.” Considering the pace of the classes and the extra work, Rama would only encourage her class mates to join if they are completely aware of the work that the Science Academy involves. “I don’t think I would [encourage them] unless they are willing to put in the extra effort.”
Although the Science Academy can become stressful and overwhelming, it is a highly beneficial academic group that anyone who is willing should join. The long hour of studying involved come with great academic and personal rewards.