KAMSC Student Chooses Academics Over Social Time

By Abigail Hauke

Emma KAMSC
Freshman Emma Borden shows up to her first KAMSC class early in order to work on a science project involving the growth of radish plants. She often makes personal and social sacrifices for a higher grade. Photo Credit, Claire Goodwin-Kelly

“I only recommend KAMSC because some people enjoy and get a lot out of it. However, it’s for those ‘scholarly few’ who can handle it,” said freshman Emma Borden.

Borden is a freshman here at Loy Norrix, but for the first three hours of every day, she isn’t in the building. Emma attends the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center accelerated education program, known more commonly as KAMSC.

KAMSC is located in the building that was once Kalamazoo Central High School on Westnedge Road, the same building that houses Chenery Auditorium. It is an academic program “designed to deliver educational experiences to selected students,” according to KAMSC’s website. KAMSC opened its doors to students from all across Kalamazoo and nearby cities 33 years ago and is still thriving today.

Whenever the typical student hears about KAMSC, they usually regurgitate the common narrative: the workload is unbearable, and it takes away almost all of a student’s personal time. For three KAMSC students, one still in the program, one preparing to leave next year, and one who left her freshman year, this seems to be true.

Emma Borden is the first of those three. She took the required exams in eighth grade and was accepted into the KAMSC program. As a 4.0 GPA student, she believes being in the KAMSC program will look good on college applications. Emma is an extremely bright student but sometimes feels like KAMSC has hindered her in some ways.

“Academically, it does teach a lot more,” said Borden about what KAMSC has meant in terms of her high school experience. This experience has included an additional workload Borden faces in the program, “At first, it wasn’t too bad, but midway through the year it just became a lot.”

“I really hate missing out on cool things I could have done [due to KAMSC],” said Borden. She wishes she could participate in Peace Jam or have a lunch period, which KAMSC students sacrifice.

As of now, Borden is unsure of her plans on remaining in KAMSC. “I might,” she hesitated, “But it is a lot of extra work,” Borden said.

Claire Goodwin-Kelly is also a freshman here at Loy Norrix. Her experience with KAMSC is similar, but she is adamant on leaving the program next year.

“As the workload in KAMSC has gone up, I’m starting to realize that there isn’t always time for me to hang out with any of my friends, from KAMSC or Norrix, which is really unfortunate,” said Goodwin-Kelly. “I feel like if I was just at Norrix I would feel closer with the school and have a better time adapting to high school.”

Senior Rebecca Thompson was in the KAMSC program as a freshman but left after the first year. She has participated in a multitude of different activities since her departure, including starring in the winter musical and competing in Forensics. “The majority of KAMSC students are often very stressed. For a select few, it requires minimal effort, and for others, it seems impossible,” said Thompson.

For the student that might not participate in too many extracurriculars or wish to spend time outside of school with friends, KAMSC might seem like a good deal. But for others, it can make or break a freshman’s first year of high school.

“It may not be fair, but I can only hope that sacrifices now will make up for the future,” said Borden.

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