By Brittany Roker, Community Relations Editor
At its meeting on Jan. 23, the Tredyffrin-Easttown school board presented junior Allen Zhu with an award recognizing his successes on the six Advanced Placement (AP) exams he took in his sophomore and freshman years, a prize only bestowed upon one other Pennsylvanian high school student.
The award, know as the Siemens Award, is distributed by the Siemens Foundation. According to its website, the foundation financially supports certain educational initiatives in the subject areas of technology, science, engineering and math. The award, given at the state and national level, is one of the programs that honor students’ achievements.
Zhu, who was notified on Dec. 6 that he was selected to receive the award, said he was initially quite surprised.
“I had known about the award previously but AP’s are counted [in the decision-making process] and I had not taken two of the eight AP’s. So, I was surprised,” Zhu said. “It made me immediately rather happy.”
Students who take the Biology, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Computer Science A, Environmental Science, Physics C: Mechanics, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism and/or Statistics AP exams are automatically considered for the award, according to Zhu. There are two students, one male and one female, who represent each state and are the ones who have scored the highest on the tests.
Later on, one male and one female are selected nationally. Students who have the greatest amount of scores of 5 on these exams could qualify for a scholarship ranging from $2,000-5,000.
For Zhu, his state-level award means a great deal to him when it comes to acknowledging the work he has been doing.
“I haven’t been taking AP’s for the sake of them but for the rigor of the classes,” Zhu said. “It’s really just recognition for what I have been doing in terms of my studies.”
Zhu already took six of the eight exams, receiving 5’s on all of them, and plans to take the tests for Chemistry and Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism this spring. He said that his passion for the subjects played a large role in helping him achieve this award, as opposed to the work he put into those subjects.
“I don’t normally spend a lot of time on the AP classes,” he said. “I mainly pay attention in class and I think through the material quickly. I spend a half an hour studying each day for the final AP test. I don’t study very much.”
Although Zhu is grateful of his accomplishment, he urges others not to focus on just the AP test.
“The award is probably less important than the rigor of the courses. The courses are quite interesting,” Zhu said. “So, I would recommend to anyone who’s worrying about the awards to simply take courses they enjoy.”
Brittany Roker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.