New courses offer additional academic opportunities


Seniors Lily Black, Jordan Hundley, and Bezawit Abraha engage in a warm-up discussion in Political Science.

Aarthika Krishnan, Staff Writer

This year, Chantilly is offering several new courses to accommodate the evolving interests of its community. These options include AP Capstone, Political Science, Law in Action and Korean. Despite their recent addition to the course catalog, these classes have already received attention from students around the school. 

AP Capstone is an academic program consisting of two yearlong AP classes taken separately: AP Seminar and AP Research. As a prerequisite to AP Research, AP Seminar requires students to evaluate information from a variety of sources in order to create scholarly essays and presentations. In AP Research, students use their refined analytical skills to conduct a yearlong investigation into a specific academic field of interest. Overall, this program facilitates collegiate-level research, collaboration and inquiry-based skills in students.

“AP Capstone is different from any classes I’ve taken before,” junior Olivia Grindal said. “We learn how to develop an argument and write a research paper. [It’s] another way [for students] to separate themselves from the rest of the college applicants.”

After completion of the program, students receive one of two AP Capstone awards, the AP Capstone Diploma or the AP Seminar and Research Certificate, depending on if they passed at least four additional AP exams or not. Given its academic distinction, AP Capstone provides unique scholarship opportunities and other advantages beyond high school.

“[AP Capstone] is meant to prepare students for not only college but the workforce,” Grindal said. “In most jobs, there is a lot of writing involved as well as public speaking, and this class refines both skills.”

Another course, Political Science, is returning to Chantilly this year after not receiving a sufficient number of students in the previous year. This class instills in students a broader understanding of politics through classroom activities and hands-on experience.

“While we discuss the nature of politics in this country in the first semester, students are looking for an internship for the second semester,” social studies teacher Matt Miles said. “All students are required to get a job in a field directly related to government.” 

Another elective in the social studies department, Law in Action, introduces a unique set of knowledge and skills demonstrated in class by the teacher, experienced former attorney Keenan Goldsby. Students participate in mock trials, case studies and other real-world simulations.

“I’ve already learned so much more about the law,” junior Jay Van said. “Having the youth being educated about the law by an actual lawyer is more promising than having them learn it on [their] own.”

As the newest language course, Korean marks the first Asian language taught at Chantilly. Students learn about Korean culture and develop essential reading, writing and speaking skills.

Learning [the] Korean language requires stamina. I try to incorporate some cultural activities to keep the students more focused,” Korean teacher Young Lee said. “[Students] enjoy new cultures, new ideas and find a new way to enjoy life.”

Academics are an integral part of learning for all students. A varied and diverse course catalog will continue to promote student success in the classroom environment for years to come.

Having a well-rounded education for students is very important,” Van said. “Every student deserves a chance to try out something new and break out of [their] comfort zones.”