Mandatory AP Classes Help Prepare Hartford Students for College

Achievement First Hartford High was ranked last year by the US News and World Report as the third best high school in the state.

One of the metrics is college readiness.

All students at Achievement First Hartford High take Advanced Placement (AP) classes.

Achievement First Hartford High Senior Brian Ozenne wants to erase racial stereotypes.

"People of color and minorities are portrayed in the media that we can't really do anything so when that's constantly portrayed, you start to believe it yourself," Ozenne said.

But, the philosophy at Achievement First Hartford High is AP for all.

"They put that into your mind freshman year. College first," Ozenne said.

He will take four advanced placement classes this year, which will give him eight AP courses by the time he graduates.

"Taking all those AP classes has been life changing, yeah it has," he said.

"When your teachers see something that you don't see in yourself, all those definitions society puts on you goes away," Ozenne said.

Ozenne reluctantly took his first AP class, world history, as a sophomore. His teacher's encouragement made a world of difference.

"She pushed me to join it because she said she saw something in me and she knew I'd be able to handle the work and I ended up getting a 3 on the exam and I joined all AP classed," He said.

The school's academic dean and teacher Brendan Callahan said Brian is far from the exception.

"I teach AP research. Everyone takes the class and the idea is that the more kids get exposed to rigorous classes in high school, the more they'll be ready when they get to college," Callahan said.

After college, Ozenne wants to earn his law degree and practice in Hartford. He said he also plans to give back to the school that has given him so much.

"I never thought I'd see myself at Achievement First. I thought it would be too rigorous, but now I want to give a big thank you for contributing to the person I am right now, always curious, thirsting for more knowledge, ambitious. Just gotta love this school," he said.

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