Juniors Jacob Durante and Keaton Ochoa study AP computer science.

Motivated juniors tackle AP computer science all on their own

Though juniors Keaton Ochoa and Jacob Durante aren’t enrolled in an AP computer science course, they will be taking the AP exam on May 7.

Ochoa and Durante are studying on their own, since SCDS doesn’t offer AP computer science.

According to Brooke Wells, head of high school, Ochoa and Durante can opt to attach the transcript of their class to their SCDS transcript if they score a passing grade (a 3 or higher) on the exam.

However, it won’t be considered an official class at Country Day, he said.

Ochoa and Durante study during their free Elective I in history teacher Bruce Baird’s room.

But although Baird has a background in computers, Ochoa and Durante do not typically go to him with questions.

“There’s no one on campus who really knows Java, which is a huge part of the exam,” Durante said.

So when they need help, they turn to Durante’s father, an electrical engineer at Intel.

Ochoa and Durante study from an online programming book titled “Introduction to Programming in Java: An Interdisciplinary Approach.” However, only the first chapter is available online. They will order a physical copy of the book after completing the first chapter, Durante said.

“Whenever we have problems with something we don’t understand, we have to talk it out between ourselves or wait to ask my dad,” Durante said.

“There’s no curriculum or set schedule, so we work a bit slowly. It’s hard to keep motivated.”

Ochoa has done programming in the past, as he was interested in how computers worked.

Although he is not planning to major in computer science, Ochoa thought the course would be the perfect opportunity to improve his programming skills.

Durante, however, is planning to ma- jor in computer science or computer engineering.

“I’ve always been around computers, ever since I was young,” Durante said.

“I really want to go into a career where I build computers or program them.”

SCDS has had an AP computer science course in the past, but it hasn’t been offered since the 2007-08 school year.

Wells is considering the addition of the course to the school once there is a suitable teacher and enough student interest.

Previously published in the print edition on Oct. 28, 2014.

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