Andrews High Grad Wins Car at ‘Cool to Be Smart’

659 graduates invited to the 2015 event

Greensboro, N.C. – Michael Wood graduated high school more prepared than most for the challenges of college thanks to the Advanced Placement courses he took at Andrews High, and now he has some new wheels to get him to class.

Wood jumped up and down for joy when his key opened the door to the 2015 Scion TC at Guilford County Schools’ “Cool to Be Smart” event, sponsored by Guilford Education Alliance (GEA). Now, with his new car and the preparation he received from GCS, Wood plans to study engineering at NC State this fall.

“It feels amazing. It feels great. I feel very blessed,” said Wood after winning the car.

He was one of 659 seniors invited to the event after passing at least five AP exams, IB exams or earning at least a B in five qualifying college courses during their high school careers.

“They had a multitude of AP classes to take at Andrews, and I took advantage of them,” said Wood.

2015 graduates passed a total of 4,490 AP and IB exams, including calculus, U.S. History, chemistry and more; 865 qualifying college courses, including college economics, college philosophy, anatomy and physiology and more; and 189 students passed at least 10 AP or IB exams or qualifying college course. That’s up from 170 students who achieved that feat last year.

And those are just the students invited to the event. In all, 1,848 or almost 35 percent of all 2015 GCS graduates passed at least one AP/IB or qualifying college course during high school. That's more than a third of GCS' 2015 graduates. According to a U.S. News and World Report, the national average was at about 12.5 percent in 2014.

Studies have shown that students who succeed in this type of rigorous course work develop college-level knowledge and skills in high school and are more likely to earn their college degrees on time. In an effort to encourage students to raise the bar, push themselves to new levels and eventually achieve that success, GCS created the “Cool to Be Smart” celebration, rewarding students for their hard work. 

“We want our students to succeed in whatever they choose to do once they leave GCS. Research shows that even if students don’t pass the AP or IB exam, just taking one course and challenging themselves to do more allows students to do significantly better in college than students who don’t,” says Dibrelle Tourret, executive director for academically gifted. “These courses give them that experience of more rigorous topics and workloads so they aren’t as overwhelmed when they get to college. They are also more likely to graduate in four years."

Earlier this year, 15 GCS high schools earned major national recognition for persuading average students to take college level courses and tests when they made the Washington Posts’ list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools.”

The rankings put the schools in the top 11 percent in the entire country, three were ranked in the top 10 for the state of North Carolina, and one school made the newspaper’s “Public Elite List.”"

- A Press Release

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