Independent leaders learn to work together


Standing up without using your hands, building puzzles with one hand and using many hands to walk across a tightrope isn’t what most think of when it comes to Boot Camp, let alone an Advanced Placement class. Marian held their second annual AP Boot Camp on Aug. 7. 

The camp was organized and led by  Jen Christen, assistant principal, and Stacy Tunink, chemistry teacher. They had several activities planned that taught key skills, such as teamwork and organization, to succeed in AP classes. 

The day started out with an activity in which one girl attempts to rise from the ground without using her hands and only her legs. Each girl tried it by herself then with a partner. Lastly, they tried standing all together as a group. “Standing with a partner was much easier. I learned that even though it does not seem like someone’s help will be effective, it actually is. I think this will really benefit me this year,” junior Aby Acevedo said. The activity was meant to teach the importance of teamwork and group sizes. 

Tunink concluded the activity with some teacher-words-of-wisdom: “Teachers know what they are doing when they have you pair up or get into groups of three or four. When making a study group or working on a project, use smaller groups, so you can work better as a team. Otherwise, it turns into a few people doing the problem solving and everyone following along.” 

However, in AP classes, there are times when grouping up with the whole class is most effective. Tunink and Christen planned two activities to teach the skills of communication and organization. These activities included slackers, puzzles and memory. 

The girls who attended AP Boot Camp are lined up to help each other walk across the Slackers rope. The activity included teamwork and listening skills.

The girls who attended AP Boot Camp are lined up to help each other walk across the Slackers rope. The activity included teamwork and listening skills. Photo by Maggie Peklo


“The purpose of this is to teach you to work smarter, not harder. Listen to the directions, and ask questions. Don’t just assume you have to start somewhere when you can be starting in an easier spot,” Tunink said to the group of 50 sophomores and juniors.

“This activity puts into perspective that it is okay to ask for help. I typically like to work alone, so I definitely learned skills to work in a group,” sophomore Meg Raabe said.

“The puzzle activity was difficult because we had to partner up and use one hand each, but I can see why teamwork is important because you both need to listen to each other and speak up. I would say this activity definitely taught me to look at the bigger picture first before rushing into something,” junior Anna Dailey said. 

Lastly, the students had the opportunity to ask college admission counselors about how to prepare for the application process. College representatives came from Creighton University, Midland University, Metro Community College, University of Nebraska at Omaha, St. Louis University and Kansas State University. The college representatives had words of advice about what classes to take and the success you should be aiming for. 

“I would say the thing that makes your application stand out is taking challenging courses and maintaining your success track. That means, if you have been getting A’s, then take the most challenging course you can get an A in,” Joe Bezousek,  Creighton’s Admission Counselor, said. 

“Also, get involved and do what you’re interested in. If you like science and math, take more science and math classes. Set up your classes based on what you like because that is how it will be in college,” Andy Soper, Midland’s Admission Counselor, said. 

The group will be meeting periodically throughout the year to reinforce these skills. Their next meeting is scheduled this fall. They will be discussing their classes and what skills work for them in hopes to gain more knowledge about how to succeed in AP classes. 

AP Boot Camp is proving successful by giving students skills they need to successfully tackle difficult classes. The group will be meeting periodically throughout the year to reinforce these skills. Overall, students are feeling more prepared and excited for challenging courses with the skills they mastered at Boot Camp.

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The Network is the student newspaper of Marian High School, Nebraska's only Class A College-Preparatory School for young women.

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