The Hardest Class: APUSH

Mr. Reader posing with a student

Photo Credit: Twitter

Mr. Reader posing with a student "doppelganger"

Giancarlo Chelotti, Contributing Writer

Classes at Haddonfield Memorial High School generally are challenging, pushing students to their fullest potential. Advanced Placement (AP) courses offered at HMHS are the most difficult of all. These courses require the most work and dedication. Once completed, the courses may be used for college credits. These classes naturally push students to their limits in the quest for learning. There are many AP courses available, from history to science to language and math.

One AP course has an unrivaled reputation as being the most difficult course one can take at HMHS. Even students who have never taken the course regard it as challenging. This class is AP United States History,  APUSH for short. The course demands some of the most work in the school: Document Based Questions (DBQs), tests, primary sources, projects and long essays. Students and APUSH alumni were interviewed to see if there was any truth to this local legend.   

The feedback gleaned from the interviews was astounding. The students interviewed did not view APUSH as a simple course. To them, the class is a lifestyle. Students who had taken the course believed it was the pinnacle of the high school. “APUSH is the elite of the historical students in Haddonfield Memorial High School,” said APUSH alumnus Sam Raus. These self-titled “APUSHers” had more than just kind words for the course. 

The APUSHers had group chats dedicated to the course. They discussed the class and what occurred during the day. The group chats allowed them to talk about previous classes. The students would also inquire, research and debate various topics relating to the course. The chat allowed students to look back on classes, brushing up on topics they missed in class. They also expanded their knowledge by interacting with other students. 

The students talked about many subjects during their interviews ranging from funny to serious, but there was one subject that every person brought up about the course, the teacher, Mr.  David Reader. He is the teacher of APUSH and an aura of mystery surrounds him. 

The APUSHERs had many loving words for their teacher. Former  APUSH student, Sam Raus referred to Mr. Reader as “Our god and leader, our teacher Mr. Reader.”  Declan Carthy, another APUSH alumni, praised Mr. Reader’s teaching methods: “He instructs you on the way of the world.”  It was hard to know if it was true or fabricated by the dedicated legions of APUSH alumni. Mr. Reader had to be interviewed directly to see if any of this was true.

Mr. Reader was the last to be interviewed. The statements that students made about him seem to be too far fetched to be true. Mr. Reader laughed at the idea of being a god. He said all comparisons to a god were false and one should not worship false gods. He remarked, “If I were a god, I would make more people take my course.”  He felt that not a lot of people take his course because of the legends surrounding the class. 

He does not believe that the class is particularly difficult, in fact, Mr. Reader thinks this perceived “hardest class” is actually relaxing. He described it as a healthy challenge. The course has numerous outlines, DBQs and tests. The course also is in preparation for the AP test which allows students to gain college credits if they score well enough. The AP curriculum is rigid and tough to prepare students.   

He pays little attention to what people have to say about him, leading him to not fully know why the course is regarded as so difficult. Mr. Reader has a hunch it comes from the two tests per quarter that the course demands. The course is quite fun for him to teach, except on primary source days if no one prepares.  

The investigation into APUSH was started to see if the myths surrounding the course were true. Asking the students who had taken the course seemed to not only confirm the myths, but expand them. Once speaking to Mr. Reader though, the myths and rumors surrounding him were proven to be false. Mr. Reader presented the course as a personal challenge, one meant to push students to learn. The juxtaposition of the teacher and students create an enthralling course. APUSH is not the toughest course in the school. It is a class with proud and dedicated students who push their learning further each day under the leadership of a great teacher.   

Photo Credit: Twitter
Mr. Reader in a lighthearted moment while on the Senior Trip.