Conant High School Graduate Evan Barr Earns State AP Scholar Award

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Evan Barr

A recent Conant High School graduate earned himself top honors in the State of Illinois for his involvement and achievements in Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

Evan Barr, a 2012 CHS graduate, received the Scholar with Distinction, State AP Scholar, and National AP Scholar award from the College Board, which is a national not-for-profit organization that promotes equity in education by providing scholarship and financial opportunities for students in grades K-12.

Of those awards, the State AP Scholar award is only given to two students in each state — one male and one female. Evan received the award by taking the highest number of AP tests from the College Board and earning a score of three or better. AP test scores range from one to five. He received a certificate from the College Board, in addition to congratulatory letters from Illinois State Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

“I did not anticipate receiving this award in the least; I imagined the maximum number of AP tests taken by an Illinois student to be at least 23 or 24,” Barr said. “I took 21 tests not for the award, but rather to take advantage of the last opportunity for the least expensive college credit anyone can earn, to accelerate my academic career, to better prepare myself for college, and to challenge myself to realize my full potential.”

Evan started taking advanced placement courses when he was a sophomore at Conant High School.

“His first AP test was really an achievement,” said Mrs. Linda Barr, his mother. “He took accelerated chemistry, and then took the AP exam. He never took the AP course and scored a five on it. Many of the scores he received he never took the AP course in.”

Advanced Placement courses help students acquire the skills and habits required for coursework at a collegiate level. There are examinations at the end of a course that help colleges and universities determine whether or not they will accept the AP course in place of a pre-requisite for a higher level course.

“Now that I’m in college and I am exposed to all sorts of college professors, I appreciate even more how dedicated the teachers I had in high school are, and just how good they are at what they do,” Barr said. “I must also mention that I have retained a vast majority of the knowledge I demonstrated on these exams. The AP experience wasn’t about cramming then forgetting. The knowledge has stuck with me.”

Evan’s expansive AP experience allowed him to begin his college career at a sophomore level. Now, he is studying at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and is in the molecular biology and bioinformatics programs. He hopes to produce gene therapies for people born with genetic disorders.

“Gene therapy is a very recent development in medicine with much promise for curing previously fatal or highly debilitating diseases,” he said. “Entering this field relatively early in its history offers a unique opportunity to shape future of this technology. I aspire to found my own company on the premise of genetic medicine. I especially aim to engineer a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.”

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