Senior receives national academic award


Benjamin Prengler

Angela Tang became one of fourteen students to earn the National AP Scholar Award for receiving exceptional scores for her AP tests. She was the only junior to receive this award.

Dom Mazero, Staff Reporter

In the 2013-14 school year, 596 students on campus took a total of 1226 AP exams.  While many students take multiple AP exams each year, senior Angela Tang had already taken nine different subject exams before her junior year was over. After all of those nine tests were scored, Tang became one of fourteen students to earn the National AP Scholar award for 2014. However, she earned it as junior, while the other thirteen were seniors in the 2014 graduating class.

“My first AP class was 2-D design during my sophomore year, and Mr. Mac (Brice McCasland) was the teacher,” Tang said.

To meet the criteria for the National AP Scholar award, one must score an average of four or higher on all of their exams and they must take at least eight exams. During her junior year, Tang was taking six more AP classes in addition to the three she took her sophomore year with six major exams in two weeks.

“For my AP exams, I usually like to play it safe, and study at least a month beforehand, but in the end, I just trust that my teachers and what I’ve learned throughout the year is sufficient enough,” Tang said.

With all that she participates in, including varsity swimming, seven AP classes, and making art to post on her blog, Tang has developed strategies to handle the stress that accompanies her busy schedule.

“I do get nervous, but I try to calm down and relax just like I do for swim meets, which is by listening to music,” Tang said. “I love listening to One Direction to get mentally prepared. Please no judgements. I also handle everything by not sleeping, just kidding. Well on top of making art, swimming, going to church, and working at Subway, I really have tried to master the art of time management. My parents have always been super supportive, and I think that they are the main reason why I have the ability to keep persisting everyday.”

Whether it is the countless hours of working on an art piece, studying for an AP test, or swimming laps in the pool, Tang’s parents have influenced Tang to adopt her enthusiastic attitude for everything she does.

“I want her to know that she should always persevere and never give up on doing what she loves,” Angela’s father Jackie Tang said.

With her choice to explore various subjects through AP classes, Tang eventually found something that she really enjoys, and wants to pursue for her possible career.

“My favorite AP class I’ve ever taken was AP art hands down,” Tang said. “It wasn’t like any other class where everything was based off a textbook and facts or laws. Mac makes the class not only rigorous but also intimate, and I felt like I was making art not for a grade, but for myself. Mac is also a working professional artist outside of school, and his passion for what he does has really inspired me to pursue a career down his path in the future. So after completing 2 AP art portfolios, I have truly realized the infinite potential in art.”

AP 2-D Design teacher Brice McCasland saw much potential for Tang in the very beginning.

“I had her first as a freshman in an Art 1 class,” McCasland said. “When she came in, I saw that she had a lot of skill, but she was definitely a different person. She was used to being the best, and not having anyone say like ‘yeah that’s okay, but you can do more’. So at first, I think it kind of perturbed her. One time there was this drawing that she did, and she finished, and I said to her ‘you know you are just unteachable’. It almost offended her. But from that day, she started listening more. It wasn’t about effort, but it was about trying to push yourself because there’s a difference in being good at something and being okay with that. Then there’s people that are really good at something, but they have enough nerve and grit to push harder.”

After excelling in McCasland’s Art 1 class, Tang chose to take AP 2-D design her sophomore year, even though McCasland urged her not to. AP 2-D design can be taken over the course of two years, but since Tang started it her sophomore year, McCasland knew he wouldn’t have her in his class during her senior year.

“I’m selfish, and I wanted to be able to have her in class for four years,” McCasland said. “Because you only get to take AP for two years. Actually right now, she’s not in this class, but she is still here. She is supposed to be in swimming right now (first period), but she leaves early to come here and help, and do her work. She is not in this class. She is not on my roll. She is just here. So really, it is just a selfish thing, and it’s not because I didn’t think she could do it. Now, there is not a sophomore on this planet that I would say should take on this class because it is not just about ability, that’s the easy part. It is the most work of any class that anyone could take. It’s just all about the commitment.”

Through the years, Tang has developed the ability to express her voice eloquently through her art.

“She uses simple things even from animals, to food, to her family, to communicate a lot of the things that we should all think about,” McCasland said. “One of the biggest changes I saw in her work was when she was in my AP class, and her pieces started to show more of her voice. And that is when you see people start to light up and change their approach and their understanding of the class. One of her pieces that showed this was in her concentration she submitted. It was about her being an Asian- American in a very Caucasian school. It was about the take of her friends, and how they see her. So she would plant these stereotypical images of Asian food and Chinese food in very everyday American things. So for an image of her eating breakfast, she would put a 100- year- old duck head to make a statement. It’s not actually what she is having; it’s just to make a statement. “

Although many students load up on AP classes to amass college credits or get a GPA boost, Tang has another reason for her rigorous academic schedule.

“I always like to keep challenging myself, and I love learning a broad range of studies, which is why I am attending a liberal arts college next year,” Tang said. “I saw the biggest gain from taking AP classes in learning more in depth about certain subjects, which in turn allowed me to implement what I learn into real life. I also had no idea what I wanted to be starting off high school, which is another reason why I took so many AP classes. I just tried to immerse myself in as many subjects as possible, so that I could find which ones I was particularly interested in.”