16-year-old completes majority of AP classes offered at BV

Hailey McEntee, Co-Editor

AP Calculus BC. AP Statistics. AP Physics B. AP European History. AP Chemistry. AP English Language. AP Biology. AP U.S. History. AP Spanish Language. AP U.S. Government and Politics. AP Psychology. AP English Literature. AP Microeconomics.
Sixteen-year-old senior Allen Zhu has taken every Advanced Placement class BV offers, with the exception of AP French.
By the time he graduates, he will have completed 12 AP classes.
Allen recently received the Siemens Award for Advanced Placement in the state of Kansas for 2011. This award is given to one male and one female in each state who earned the most fives on math and science AP exams.
Allen scored five fives on math and science exams — AP Physics, AP Chemistry, AP Statistics, AP Biology and AP Calculus.
Allen is currently taking AP English Literature and AP Microeconomics.
“This year I have been light on homework, but last year I had around five hours of homework every night,” he said. “I really wanted to do extracurricular activities, so I really had to work at my efficiency and even then I still stayed up until 1:30 or 2.”
With all the homework, Allen said he had to give up a few extracurriculars.
He participates in Scholars Bowl, debate, forensics and tennis.
“There were some I had to pick and choose at,” Allen said. “The ones I feel were the most time-consuming were debate as well as tennis because those have tournaments and practices that would last up to 5:30 for tennis as well as half of your entire Saturday. So whenever I wasn’t doing anything like that, I really had to devote my time to homework because I didn’t have time for anything else.”
Allen said he doesn’t take AP classes to wear himself down.
“I am taking these classes because it’s something I have to try at, and it’s a great way to prepare for college,” he said.
Allen’s dad, Daming Zhu, said he encourages his son to take hard classes.
“In some ways, I must have helped influence him,” Daming said. “I basically push him a little bit. You want to take the classes that challenge you rather than take classes that are easy.”
Allen said his desire for knowledge motivates him to take AP classes.
“I just love learning, and I want to learn throughout my entire life and never stop learning,” he said. “AP classes provide the most material you can get out of a class, and that’s probably why I take those classes. I just want to build up a broad academic knowledge just to get the most I can out of high school, as well as building up a strong work ethic.”
Although he hasn’t decided on a college yet, Allen said taking many AP classes will benefit him.
“I feel like since I did a bunch of extracurriculars, as well as all these difficult classes, I’ll learn how to manage my time more,” he said. “I will become a better studier, and that will definitely help out in college.”
Daming said he is pleased with Allen’s achievements.
“We are happy about how much he has accomplished in high school,” he said. “I am proud of what he has done academically and socially, but there is always room to improve. But I’m satisfied, and he’s a good kid.”
To manage his time, Allen completes worksheets and handouts first and then the more time-consuming reading work.
“After a while, I started building up an AP class work ethic,” Allen said. “The stress is a motivator. I worked hard and eventually turned stress into a helping factor.”
Daming said Allen spends much of his time doing homework.
“He handles all the work, and pretty much everything, very well,” he said. “We help him out a little bit in the time management. He has a tendency to do too many things, so we try to keep him focused on things he should be a part in.”
Allen said he is able to take so many AP classes because he took Honors Geometry and Honors Algebra II before high school and tested out of Pre Calculus.
“Once I could do that, I had room for more AP classes,” he said. “It’s like I am the architect of my own education.”
Allen started kindergarten one year early. Halfway into Allen’s sixth-grade year, he was moved up to seventh grade.
Allen said receiving the Siemens award made his hard work worthwhile.
“It makes me feel like the effort has paid off,” he said. “When I look back on the classes I took, I had to do a lot of studying, and now it’s really paid off. I got out what I put in.”