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Enhancing the Testing Experience

 Students pose with a testing survival kitState High’s ninth-grade and 10th-grade senates have a great deal going these days: sweets to make springtime tests easier to swallow.


Senate members are offering testing survival kits for sale, at $12 a pop, to raise money for their eventual junior and senior proms. In addition to candy, each kit contains a water bottle, gum, mints, stickers, pencils, erasers, a fidget toy, and a personalized card.


But beyond holding a fundraiser, the senates wanted to support their classmates as they take International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement and Keystone exams. Already, they’ve asked faculty and staff to consider donating to the cause by purchasing boxes and writing messages of encouragement.


“This is meant to be our fundraiser of the year, but we also want to improve students’ approach to test-taking, to try to alleviate some of that stress that comes with test-taking with this box,” sophomore Aaron Le said.


Faculty member Jen Shawley, the joint senate advisor, said the idea for the kits came from the two bodies working together for the first time and realizing they had enough hands to do the project. Plus, it had never been done before.


“We decided this would be a great experiment,” Shawley said. “Let’s raise money, but let’s also have fun doing it and let’s show that the senates do more than just put posters up or advertise for dances. We really care. The students were behind this 100 percent from the start.”


Testing kit with candyIn May, the kits will be offered and delivered in three waves, with the first for IB tests, followed by the AP exams and then the Keystones. Senate members hope to deliver kits to all test-taking students, so toward that end, Shawley helped secure a grant to cover purchases for students who can’t afford the cost. Grant funds also may end up subsidizing extra kits.


“With every box, we want students to feel prepared,” Shawley said. “We don’t want anyone coming to a test feeling bad that they don’t have a pencil or an eraser. We’ve got you. I’m excited. I could not ask for a better group of students to work with for this endeavor.”


Le is looking forward to making this spring a little better for his peers.


“I just really like being able to help people, and this is the first chance I’ve ever had to really help on a large scale,” he said.


Sophomore senate member Elliott Mathews shares his classmate’s enthusiasm.


“It’s really nice to be working toward a larger goal,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of boxes to fill, but I’m excited to see how this is going to end up.”


Story and photo by Chris Rosenblum

Published April 11, 2024