Local students head to Albany to advocate for making AP classes more accessible and affordable

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A group of local students went to Albany on Tuesday to advocate for making advanced placement classes more accessible. For many RCSD students, taking an AP course is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“A lot of kids, let’s just say first-generation students, they want to be different and be a change. And when you have this opportunity, anything is possible and you can get ahead in life,” said sophomore Hazel Roberts.

She said AP courses can get pricey when students are taking multiple of them, which is why being able to go to the state capitol with her peers to talk to lawmakers about funding and access really matters.

“It really means a lot that our voices are going to be heard and that they recognize as a city school district we need more exposure,” she said. “We need more funds and more opportunities like the suburban schools.”

According to district officials, there are currently 736 students enrolled in 1,018 AP courses. AP history teacher Diane Watkins said AP courses do a lot for student development.

“Another thing that being in these courses does for students is it allows them to build their own sort of smaller community within schools,” Watkins said. “Fitting in is a big thing in high school, so it allows them a space where they fit in and they can still be the smart kids and they can still be the hardworking kids and still be cool.”

Watkins said taking a trip to the capital is a great start for students who will eventually be the future.

“We tend to underestimate the power of their voice,” she said. “These students have something to say and we just need to sit back and listen and then put things into action to make whatever they desire come true.”