By ANTHONY SPAULDING
Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School
SPARTA — For most high school seniors, taking the SAT is not the fondest memories that they remember during their time growing up.
After all, they would usually have to wake up incredibly early on a Saturday morning and drive to a school that they are not too familiar with or have never seen to take a three-plus hour test in hopes of scoring high enough to help them get accepted to college.
Fortunately for Pope John XXIII Regional High School seniors, they got to experience this test on Wednesday in the confines of their own classrooms at Pope John, as the school was a testing site for the first time as part of The College Board’s SAT School Day.
“It’s a big deal for us,” Pope John XXIII Regional High School Director of Curriculum Brian Vohden said. “It’s the first time we’ve proctored the exam in our school. It gives the students a chance to take this exam in the comfort of their own school and with faculty who they know.”
According to The College Board’s website, SAT School Day “lets schools, districts, and states offer the SAT to juniors and seniors in school, on a weekday, expanding access to a globally recognized college admission test that's accepted at all U.S. colleges.” The College Board estimates that close to “three million students in roughly 3,000 districts and 8,000 schools have participated in SAT School Day.”
For Pope John, participating in SAT School day was an easy decision, given the school’s great pride it takes in helping its students get into colleges.
“It was a no brainer,” Vohden said. “We made this decision at the end of last school year and we felt that this was something we should be doing here.”
Pope John seniors such as Chase Nugnes and Noelle Newman were so glad that the school was a testing site. Before Wednesday, both students had taken the test twice at other schools.
“It was a lot more relaxing than being at another school,” Nugnes said. “At another school, you are more nervous. But here, you are with your friends and teachers, you know the area. I was just an overall better experience.”
“It was definitely better to take it here,” Newman said. “Before today, you had to wake up on a Saturday, drive to another school where you don’t know where you are going or know anyone. You are nervous just going there, let alone being nervous for the actual test. It was just easier to come to school and take it.”
Though the SAT School Day program is only about five years old, the hope for participating in this program is that the scores for Pope John students will increase.
“Statistically, students who take the SAT during SAT School Day tend to do better because of the familiarity in the environment,” Vohden said. “We hope to see an uptick in that as well.”
Regardless, the SAT will be present at Pope John for years to come.
“No doubt about it,” Vohden said. “Next year, we plan on offering the full SAT with essay. This was a non-essay SAT, but we intend to offer the essay because students are looking to take that part of the test as well.”