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Santa Monica High School Senior Aces Placement Exam

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By Hector Gonzalez
Special to The Lookout

February 1, 2016 --More than 2 million U.S. high school students took more than 4 million advanced placement exams, which can earn them valuable college credits before graduation.

Of those students, Santa Monica High School senior Carlos Bustos was one of only 322 who earned every point possible on an AP exam, “a rare accomplishment,” said Gail Pinsker, spokesperson for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

(Left to right) Samohi Principal EvaMayoral, student Carlos Bustos and AP Spanish teacher Claudia Bautista. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District
By earning a perfect score on the AP exam, Bustos earned the equivalent of an “A” grade and received credits in the corresponding college-level Spanish course, Pinsker said.

School Board member Oscar de la Torre said he'll introduce a proposal at the board's meeting Monday to provide Bustos with a $100 scholarship.

“We spend enough time, money and attention on the bad kids," De la Torre said. "We should do something once and a while to honor the good kids.”

Samohi Principal Eva Mayoral said she's known Bustos since he was a student at John Adams Middle School, where he earned top grades.

He has earned straight A grades in every of the most rigorous courses we have to offer here at Samohi and John Adams Middle School because he is invested in mastery,” said Mayoral.

Bustos is a member of a team from Samohi's Regional Occuaptaion Program's Virtual Enterprise Class that competed in the Youth Business Summit in New York earlier this year ("Santa Monica High Students'Virtual Business Plan Takes Top Prize," March 5, 2015).

As a member of Samohi's AP Pals Club, Bustos also helped raise money to provide scholarships for 20 low-income high school peers who could not afford to pay for AP exams, said Claudia Bautista, his Spanish immersion teacher.

“Carlos is one of the hardest working and most eloquent writers I have ever had the pleasure of working with in a class,” Bautista said. “I can't wait to see his contributions to our society in the future.”

Administered by the College Board, the not-for-profit organization that also oversees the SAT and other college-readiness programs, advanced placement classes are designed to expose high school students to college majors and careers that interest them, Board officials said.

The courses “require hard work and focus on the part of students and their teachers,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president of advance placement and instruction at the College Board.

More than 30 AP courses are administered by the Board, officials said.

At Samohi, 876 of the school's 2,984 students took advanced placement tests in 21 different subjects last school year, with a majority of students scoring at least passing grades on the exams, said Pinsker.

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