Introducing AP Computer Science


Eleni Aneziris, Commons Editor

Ever since Ward Melville alumnus Gary Ge decided to found Computer Science Club last year, members have been begging administration to consider introducing the class AP Computer Science to the list of courses offered. Senior member Sarah Sun commented, “Computer Science is such a popular field these days and it’s really unfortunate that it’s this difficult for us to be exposed to the subject before college. How are we supposed to know if Computer Science might be something we want to major in if we’ve never taken a class in it?”

In late July, students found out that the dream finally became a reality when the district sent out an e-mail informing students for the first time about the newly introduced course and asking all interested students to contact Guidance to request it. Within three weeks, schedules were uploaded to the Campus Portal, and while a majority of those interested were placed into 5th period AP Computer Science with Mr. Smit, there were still several people who were maxed out of the class. After numerous visits to the Guidance Office to try to snatch a coveted spot in case someone else switched out, students were still exiting with unchanged schedules. Guidance soon decided to open a second class, and 4th period was filled up instantly.

Within the first month of school, AP Computer Science has already introduced the basics of Java programming, while covering topics such as variables, returns, objects, methods, classes, and inheritance. Senior Harriet O’Brien says, “It’s a pretty fast-paced class sometimes, and writing a program with errors is really annoying, but it feels so great when you figure out what’s wrong and it finally works!”

Unlike most of the other science and math classes that students take, Computer Science allows for a surprising amount of creativity. Senior Amanda Liu says, “Right now I’m working on a program that has a hypothetical dog perform a certain action, such as barking or playing fetch, and the program tells me how the dog’s weight and happiness levels change because of the action. It’s a lot cooler than it sounds.”

Ward Melville students these days have grown used to budget cuts limiting their class options. It is thus extremely refreshing when their voices are heard and when they’re able to take a class like AP Computer Science, which serves as a truly invaluable opportunity.