Emma Sulczynski, a sophomore at Homer High School, stands outside the school on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Emma Sulczynski, a sophomore at Homer High School, stands outside the school on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Student Spotlight: Emma Sulczynski

Depending on the size of the high school one attended, the memory of challenging Advanced Placement courses and final exams may still linger. For most, those classes come later in high school, round junior or senior year. One student at Homer High School is proving that you don’t need a whole lot of high school experience to ace a tough class.

Emma Sulczynski, now a sophomore, became the only freshman to score a five (the highest score possible) in an AP class exam last year, according to School Counselor Lin Hampson. Sulczynski took AP psychology with teacher Michelle Borland last year as a freshman.

There were 122 total AP tests given at Homer High last year, Hampson said.

Sulczynski said she thought she had done reasonably well on the AP psychology exam, but hadn’t anticipated that her high score would be that big of a deal.

“I was hoping to do well, and after I took the test I was thinking I’d get like, maybe a four, because I felt like I maybe could have done better,” she said. “And then I looked online and saw I got a five, which was really cool.”

Sulczynski credited Borland for her comprehensive instruction, saying she could not have scored so well without such a good teacher.

She took psychology last year because it’s a subject of great interest, and one she could see herself going into as a career. This year, Sulczynski is taking AP world history.

“I really wanted to get a jumpstart on AP classes,” Sulczynski said of enrolling as a freshman. “… I want to go to a good college and AP classes really help with that. I hope by senior year I can be taking … a few college classes.”

Sulczynski said her parents have emphasized doing well in school, something that’s bolstered by her own innate love of learning. She also hopes to take a college-level government class while in high school. That’s another area she could see herself going into for a career, Sulczynski said.

“I really want to be able to make change in the world,” she said.

Sulczynski was one of the youth speakers at the local iteration of the Global Youth Climate Strike last Friday. She routinely attends community meetings having to do with government or elected officials as well.

“I like to know what’s going on,” she said. “Because I feel like there is so much happening right now in the world. And I want to know everything I can so I can make good decisions going forward, and it’s hard to do that without all the information.”

Whether she goes into psychology or government, Sulczynski said she thinks the classes she’s taking will help her in her future goals. She likes to know how people work, and an education in psychology would certainly be helpful in navigating the world of government, she said.

Sulczynski said she appreciates having the ability to take advanced classes at a young age.

“I think it’s really cool that we have so many opportunities here,” she said. “And we have such great teachers.”

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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