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July 11, 2014, 5:28 am

Masterman continues to excel

The Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School continues to set the bar for excellence high through its college preparatory curriculum for high school students and its various extra-curriculum activities.

“I’ve enjoyed my experience at Masterman,” said senior Chris Baldwin. “As a student you want to excel academically and get life experiences through people you interact with. I was fortunate to receive both here. At times it can get challenging with the workload, but it’s worth it in the end because it will help me prepare for college next fall.”

Masterman is ranked highly in the School District of Philadelphia, and is considered one of the best college-preparatory public schools in the tri-county area. The school has twice been named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. U.S. News and World Report ranked it as the top public school in Pennsylvania in 2012, and as the 61st in the nation. The school is also ranked 14 nationally in the magnet category.

“We have amazing kids that have been well-prepared in their elementary schools and our students are very dedicated and ambitious,” said principal Majorie Neff. “The level of instruction is high quality. Our teachers do their best to meet the needs of the students. This school is specifically designed to meet the needs of kids who show academic talent. So, we’re able to help them with academics through the accelerate curriculum. We take pride in helping them prepare for their future.”

Students at Masterman attain advanced levels of study in accelerated courses, including Advanced Placement in U.S. history, government, French, Spanish, French, biology, environmental science, computer science, English, calculus, statistics and music theory.

“The teachers are what helps make this school,” said senior Alex Goncharova. “There dedication makes you want to become a better student. They are always willing to help and demand the best from you. The curriculum is challenging, but it’s always helpful when you have a teacher who is willing to work with you. They want to see you succeed and achieve your dreams.”

Some students follow an even more accelerated program in Mathematics and study AP Calculus AB/BC in their junior year and take a math course at a local college in their senior year. Generally, 100 percent of the senior class attends four-year colleges.

“Not only has this school prepared me for college from an educational standpoint, but Masterman also sets the bar for its students to a level where the goals that you wish to attain increases,” said senior Rachel Hampton. “It’s nothing more important than being prepared for your future and to compete at a college level. The students here push each to get better, and the teachers make sure we are prepared for that next level. Failure is not an option, but hard work leads to success. Everyone at Masterman wants to succeed.”

Masterman offers a range of co-educational, interscholastic sports on both the varsity and junior varsity level and participates on unified teams with other schools in gymnastics and swimming. Masterman also offers many co-curricular activities including orchestra and jazz band, student government, webteam, dramatics, yearbook, newspaper, an award winning literary magazine, a nationally-ranked chess team, a championship mock trial team, and competition in academic contests.

“Masterman offers so many opportunities outside of academics, that it’s hard not to want to participate in something here,” said senior Tim Green. “That’s what makes this school so unique because, everyone here participates in something. We all have similar interests and goals. You can’t help but to grow as a student and person here. I’ve learned so much and it will be an experience in my life I will always remember.”

For senior Amirah Williams, the only way she found to inspire other students was by sharing her experiences through the various clubs she participates in. Williams teaches an art class, participates in the African American Culture Club, is a peer counselor, and president of the Hispanic and Latino Association.

“I wanted to make sure that I fully embraced my high school experience because not everyone gets as many opportunities that are offered here,” Williams said. “My opportunities are based on helping younger children; helping them realize they have options and opportunities that are there for them to help achieve their own goals. They get such a small view of the world, so I wanted to join activities that will help broaden their horizons.”

Senior Jacquee Aragon is already thinking about her future after she graduates from Masterman.

“I want to do nursing, so I’m already looking into UPenn, Drexel, and NYU,” Aragon said. “The workload at Masterman has helped me mentally prepare for workload at college. Even though my tenure here is coming to an end, I’m looking forward to applying what I learned here in my future endeavors. I’m ready for the challenge the future brings.”