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The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill


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2023 APES Platoon Cheer Competition

Lunchtime at Arcadia High School (AHS) on Aug. 23 brought an unexpected thrill to an otherwise typical day: 12 AP Environmental Science (APES) classes gathered on the grass area in front of S-Building in 12 distinct colors, uniting for the annual APES platoon cheer competition.

The competition features a variety of elements, such as cheers, designated platoon names, and students showcasing creativity in embodying their class spirit. The 12 APES classes competed in units, with each color being represented by a different period taught by one of the four APES teachers. The winners were decided through votes, with a reward of extra credit for every student in the winning classes: “Delta” (1st place), “Hotel” and “Lima” (tied for 2nd place), and “Alpha” and “Bravo” (tied for 3rd place).

Whether it’s the energized opening statement of “Welcome to Delta Airlines” to enliven the slogan “Delta”, or birdie the cartwheel to cheer out “Golf”, students from all classes brainstormed their own creative ideas to embrace the APES spirit. First introduced in the 2014-2015 school year, this year holds even more significance not only due to a higher student population, but also because it marks the competition’s 10th anniversary. 

Junior Emerson Chen, a student from Ms. Charlene Nguyen’s period 5 APES class who cheered for “Hotel”, shared his enjoyment about the competition.

“It was a great experience; everyone was so energetic, [they] seemed really into it,” said Chen. “I learned how to [do] team work and collaborate through this cheer competition and the Boot Camp.”

The APES Boot Camp is a week-long preparation activity focused on the soft skills that students require to succeed in the course. During the week, students take part in activities like solving puzzles and working together in groups, which are designed to improve their communication, teamwork, and success in the course.  

Ms. Flora Ung is currently in her second year of teaching APES at AHS, sharing her perspective on the competition and the APES class.

“Even if it’s a competition, it’s a friendly dynamic. It’s really nice for me to see everyone supporting each other; a lot of people are really cheery, put a smile on their faces, and they can see their friends goofy.”

“The Boot Camp and cheer competition is a fast way for everyone to know each other better,” said Ms. Ung. “All the work we do in APES revolves around group work; they are making a family you can rely on. It’s a really fun way for students to get that class bonding, and in a way that is very different from other classes.”

Similarly, Mr. Peter Vo, the Activities Director and a former APES teacher, holds the competition and the APES spirits in high esteem.

“I know the first few days classes are generally used to cover syllabus and class rules, so being able to just focus on games and challenges is a welcome break for the students,” said Mr. Vo. “I love that within five days of school starting, students already break down the awkward social barriers that would normally take months to get through.”

“With all the challenges that the classes go through, it’s great to see the different types of leaders that emerge. The cheer competition itself is a fun way to publicly show the creativity that each class has and how they interpret the challenge,” Mr. Vo added. “Being out of APES for three years, I personally enjoy how the four current teachers have taken the class and turned it into an even more engaging course.”

The APES class has become highly popular in recent years due to its distinct and unique activities. With AHS’ academically-focused atmosphere, the annual APES competition undoubtedly sets a welcoming and friendly tone for the new school year. 

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