Steamboat Springs For Steamboat students Charlie Stoddard and Anna Roder, winning the prestigious Scholar with Distinction Award from the College Board's Advanced Placement Program is par for the course.
The pair earned some of the highest scores in the nation on advanced placement tests last school year, with an average score of 3.5 or better and scores of 3 or higher on five or more exams, which are scored on a 5-point scale. The scores also mean Stoddard and Roder have earned college credit before graduating from high school.
Barb Tuchlinsky, who coaches Roder and Stoddard on the Steamboat Springs High School Knowledge Bowl team, said she was not surprised by their success.
"I know Anna. She's a beautiful musician, so I see concerts, soloist, violinist and I know that's her passion. I know she could do anything she sets her mind to," Tuchlinsky said.
About Stoddard, she said, "He has a lot of drive and could tackle anything he chose to."
Thirteen students at Steamboat Springs High School and three students from The Lowell Whiteman School earned lesser AP Scholar Awards, signifying they have completed three or more AP exams with scores of 3 or higher.
At Lowell Whiteman, Lauren Ladley, Molly Leonard and Lauren Ventrudo earned the award. Ramsey Bernard, Sam Chovan, Liza Darlington, Jamie Gay, Blaise Holden, Laura Holthausen, Rachael Ivancie, Lauren Marias, Cameron Niswander, Bryce Peters, Austin Pivarnik, Rebecca Rupnow and Michael Weston won the award at Steamboat Springs High School.
Joanne "Doc" Lasko, academic dean for Lowell Whiteman, said students want to take the tests for the potential college credit and because it shows admission officers they can handle a college-level course.
"We don't really encourage (students to take advanced placement courses), and we don't need to because students are really pushing to take them," she said. "For colleges, rigor of courses is an important consideration. Colleges look at your grade point average, in conjunction with the rigor of courses you're taking, in conjunction with standardized test scores."
Many colleges award credit for high AP exam scores.
Stoddard estimates he has more than 20 credits from the seven tests he has taken so far, and he plans to take more this year.
Of the 1.6 million students who took AP tests in 2008, 83,508 students - or about one in 20 - earned an AP Scholar with Distinction award, and 144,463 were named scholars.