All posts by Teia Robinson

APES Air Quality Project

Four AOIT sophomores created a very impressive program in their first semester APES class. The students were challenged to make a program that will solve air quality issues prevalent around the world.

Check out the video below that shows the process that the boys took to create this program called the NoxFinder!

Click here to see their presentation that gives some insight into the air quality and pollution their product can help to solve!

This awesome project was created by students Aman Anas, Mudhathir Sharif Khaja, Connor VanDerMark, and Cecil Wilder. Great job guys!

Meet 2019-2020 Academy Intern, Jillian B.


My name is Jillian Brannock, and I am this year’s AoIT Intern! I’m a senior at Apex High and plan to go to college to major in Communications in Journalism. Throughout my high school career I have been involved in various activities such as managing the volleyball team my freshman year and being apart of the Student Council for the past 3 years. As well as my internship, I work as a crew member at Chipotle in Apex. I’ve been working there for a year and a half. 

I could best describe myself as being very outgoing and sociable. I enjoy meeting new people and going to new places. I think my ability to work well with others is going to get me far in my career, whether it is journalism or not. 

During my internship at the school I will not only be helping the AoIT teachers clerically but also teaching myself a new form of code called WordPress. This will be so that I can update the website and alter it so that it is easier to navigate. It will have information that all students in the academy will need, and information that individual classes will need. There will be many videos and PowerPoints attached to the site that students who missed any meetings should refer to for the information they missed. Not only that, but parents of current and possible future academy members will be able to find information that they need too. I will also be running the various AoIT social media that students can follow to stay updated on any last minute changes with in the AoIT cohort. 

I can’t wait to see what else this internship has in store for me!

-Jillian Brannock

Honors vs. Advanced Placement

Honors vs Advanced Placement Paths in AOIT

By: Kylie Griep, AOIT Intern

When you are in AOIT you will get to a point when you will have to decide between taking AP classes or Honors classes. During your sophomore year, you get your first choices with science and history. You can either take AP Environmental Science (APES) or Earth Science (Honors). I took AP Environmental Science to get that AP credit and it’s definitely not a bad class to take as my first AP. I recommend the challenge of APES because I have heard that Earth Science is very easy and it will get you ready for any other APs you take in the future by getting you into the college level mindset. The other AP choice is a little more important because it will determine the classes you will take for your Sophomore AND Junior year. You will have to choose between AP Human Geography (APHuG) or American History I (Honors). If you take APHuG you will have to take the APs in History AND English for your Junior year. Same with American History I, you would have to take the honors classes for History AND English in your Junior year. Mainly because when you take American History I, you take American History II the next year. I ended up taking American History I in my sophomore year because of this reason. I didn’t enjoy having to choose between taking only 3 APs or only 3 Honors and it was an all or nothing deal. I believe they mainly do this because Honors English and Honors History were taken as an A/B schedule, as well as the AP English and AP History. An A/B schedule means that both classes are taken year long in the same period and they are alternate every day. For example, you may have English on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while History is on Tuesday and Thursday. Then it flips the next week. When I took these classes, only the AP classes had an A/B schedule which meant that you couldn’t take one AP and one Honors. I felt like I could have done well in an AP English class but maybe not as well in an AP History class. It didn’t help that a B in an AP class would be like an A in an academic class when it comes to GPAs. So I chose to be safe rather than sorry.

American History I was easy in my opinion and to be honest I am glad I took the honors classes over the APs. I feel like I obtained the information and actually learned it a lot better in the honors classes than if I had taken the AP. Because majority of my grade of AOIT took the APs, there was only one class period for the honors. I had the same people in that class and because none of my best friends were taking the honors route, it was kind of nice to have the same familiar people. It also was nice because I now have friends that I probably never would have had if I took the APs. I didn’t take the APs so I can’t tell you how hard or easy they are but from what I have heard is a lot of times people are complaining about the class and then they will come back and say I should have taken it, so I honestly don’t know. I do know that I am happy I took with a class that was my level and when you are making the decision to take the AP or Honors path, makes sure you consider your level instead of just taking an AP to look good for college.

Sphero 2.0

Everything to know about the Sphero 2.0

By: Abby Farrell, AOIT Intern


Last week, AOIT received a new friend, the Sphero 2.0 robot. Students will have access to the robot and will be able to learn and utilize it. But before you use the Sphero 2.0 it is important to learn about what it is, the features it has, and how it will be used in the classroom.

What is the Sphero 2.0?

Sphero is a spherical robot toy designed by Sphero (the company). It is a white orb wrapped in polycarbonate plastic, capable of rolling around, changing colors, running programs, and being controlled by a smartphone or tablet. Sphero allows people of all ages to learn the basics of programming.


What features does Sphero 2.0 have?


  • Rolling: Sphero 2.0 can roll at a given speed and direction.


  • Colors: You have the ability to change the color of Sphero 2.0 to any color you want.
  • Sensors: This robot has internal sensors. Two of these sensors are the IMU and the Locator. The robot is able to sense when it has run into an object, thus turning around and moving in a different location.
  • Bluetooth: The Sphero 2.0 can connect to devices such as iPads, iPhones, and Android tablets and phones.
  • Various Robot Languages:This robot supports three programming languages. These languages are Macros, OrbBasic, and Oval.


Programming Sphero 2.0

Sphero 2.0 teaches users about the basics of programming. There are three different ways the robot can be programmed. The various ways allow the Sphero 2.0 to be used by people with all varying programming abilities.


  • Draw Programming: This simpler method of programming is intended for grades PK-2, and is simply named “Draw”. Users draw lines to program their robot and can modify the speed and color.
  • Block Programming:Intermediate coders can utilize the familiar block-based drag and drop interface. Pre-programmed blocks allow for a wide variety of actions and variables.
  • Text Based Coding: A more advanced method for grades 6-University where users can program with a text editor to write custom syntax.



Sphero 2.0 in the Classroom

Sphero 2.0 is not only fun to play with, but it also incorporates technology with collaborative STEM activities. The robot can be used in the classroom to promote group collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking.

Should I Dual Track??

Dual Tracking

Kylie Griep, AOIT Intern

A big thing about AOIT is the two different course paths you can take. On one side, there is the Programming track, where you take courses like Programming I, Programming II, SAS Programming, and AP Computer Science. On the other side, you can take the Web Development track, where you take courses like Multimedia and Web Design, E-Commerce I, and Business Advanced Studies. However, if you are like me, both might appeal to you.

Coming in as an AOIT Freshmen, I kind of already knew I wanted to take both tracks because the year before, my brother joined the AOIT program and he ended up dual tracking so I knew the gist of it. Even so, there were a lot of things to consider before committing to dual tracking.


  • Space in your Schedule:

If you want to dual track, you need to have space in your schedule for it. Dual Tracking means you may not have room to take all year (both fall and spring semester) electives because of conflicts. Things like band, languages, and some art classes can cause conflicts because you may have to take one class in the fall semester then another in the spring semester.

Personally, I had a lot of trouble with this when I got to my Junior year. Most colleges require at least two classes of a foreign language and I wanted to take German. The problem was that I needed to take E-Commerce, SAS Programming, and AOIT English III Honors in the first semester, as well as, I really wanted to take Art III (so I could get into Art IV/AP Art in my senior year). This meant I had no room for German I. After being rejected once and a lot of emails to my counselor, I ended up being able to take German I and German II online. An important note here is that previously, you could take any online class with North Carolina Virtual Public Schools (NCVPS). However, starting my junior year (2017-2018 school year), they had it changed up the so you could only take online classes that were not offered at the school or that you needed to graduate. It all worked out in the end but you should still be careful and know what classes you will want to take in the future.


  • About the Web Development Track:

In the Web Development Track, you will be required to take Programming I, Multimedia and Web Design, E-Commerce I, and Business Advanced Studies. Programming I is required by both tracks but I put it here because it is a good way to see if you have a hidden passion for programming. The thing about this is if you take the Web Development track, you will be taking the Programming I class when the Programming track is taking Programming II. This would make it very hard to switch to the other track if you wanted to. However, if you dual tracked and realized you didn’t like programming, you can just drop that track and stay in the Web Development Track. I took this track mainly because I am a very artistic person and this is definitely the more visually creative of the two tracks.

In your sophomore year, you will take Multimedia and Web Design as your first class (not including Programming I) on the Web Development track. You get to learn software programs like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Website development using HTML/CSS, and Video editing software. In your junior year, you will take E-Commerce and go more in depth into Website Development using HTML/CSS and learn about business online. Finally, during your senior year, you will take Business Advanced Studies where you will learn a new website design software called Dreamweaver and work on creating a Senior video for your AOIT class. (learn more about Programming I under the “About the Programming Track” section)



  • About the Programming Track:

Within the programming track, you will be required to take Programming I, Programming II, SAS Programming, and AP Computer Science. When I first came in, I originally took this track because my brother really enjoyed the classes when he came through before me. I had zero programming experience beforehand so it was definitely new to me, but overall I am really glad I took this path because I found another passion here with programming and it gave me a very logical mindset to go with my already creative mindset.

During your sophomore year, you will take Programming I, which is required by both tracks, and it is a great way to learn if the Programming track is for you. You will learn Visual Basic in this class and the main thing about programming languages is, once you have learned one, if you want to learn another it is very easy. By learning one programming language, you learn the basic logic towards a lot of other programming languages and plus the syntax (how you write the code) is, in most cases, very similar as well. In the next semester of your sophomore year, you will take Programming II, which builds off the general programming logic you learned in Programming I but instead of learning Visual Basic, you will be learning C#. Like I said before, it is a fairly easy transition between the two languages but the part that most people struggle with is the logic. You learn a LOT more on the logic side which can be intimidating, but like any other class, if you study and learn the material you will be more than fine. When you get into your junior year, you will take SAS Programming I and compared to Programming II, I felt this was a breeze. Before I had said the syntax was in most cases very similar, well this is one of those cases where it isn’t quite the same. That doesn’t mean it was too difficult to learn though. Lastly in your senior year, you will get to AP Computer Science. In this class you will learn Java (which is completely different than Javascript). I haven’t taken this class yet but I have heard that it is very similar to C# in Programming II.



  • Seeing what you like:

One of the benefits of Dual Tracking is that you always have the option to switch out of one track and just take the other. Say you decide to take the programming track and you are in Programming II and you realize you don’t want to take the programming track any more. It will be difficult to switch because you will have to take Multimedia before you can get to E-Commerce and you might not have room to switch out of the class or it might be a little too late. Or say you were taking the web development track and you experienced Programming I and loved it but you are taking it in the second semester when the programming track is taking Programming II. By now if you decided to dual or switch tracks it may be hard to fit in all your required class for the track because you are behind. If you had dual tracked in the beginning, you can always try out both of the tracks and when you start taking them, you may realize you love both or you hate one or the other. But this way, it gives you more wiggle room if you wanted to drop one track and only take the other.


Dual Tracking allowed me to meet a lot of new people from both tracks because I wasn’t put into classes with only half of AOIT. So in the fall when you are deciding which track you want to take, consider the option of dual tracking because you never know what you might love or hate!


Why is Communication Important? 6 Major Tips!

Written By Shawn Beekman // Apex High AOIT class of 2018

Communication used to be essential for survival in the wild. Being warned of incoming danger through verbal or nonverbal communication could be the difference between life and death. Today it’s not as extreme but if you want people to trust, respect, and understand you clearly, it is essential that you master the art of communication. Here we go over some tips to help improve your communication so you can succeed in any career path:

1. Listening

Listen to hear what they’re saying, show interest, and further the conversation.

Communication is an “exchanging of information or news”. This means there are two sides to the exchange: talking and listening. Listening shows respect, interest, and allows you to understand what the other person is saying. Whenever you talk you want to be responding to what the other person is saying to further the conversation and further the understanding. It’s important to focus on them while they are speaking and what they are saying. It helps to repeat the words they say in your head and looking at them so you don’t get distracted. While it is important to think before you speak, it is more important that you hear everything they have to say. Don’t keep a response in bouncing around your head and say it as soon as they stop talking because then you just missed everything they were saying by thinking about what you were going to say.

2. Body Language

Have good body language to show interest, be more likeable, and engaged.

Your body language subconsciously has tells which let the other person know how you are reacting to the interaction. Facing towards them, looking them in the eyes, nodding your head, smiling, and standing up straight are things you should be doing to show you are interested – the other person will feel respected and understood. Turning away from them, not showing eye contact, negative face expressions, and slouching are signs that you don’t want to be in the conversation and make them feel disrespected. It’s important to identify how your body language comes off to other people and how other people’s body language reacts to you to gauge how well the conversation is going.

3. Think Before You Speak

Think before you speak to collect your thoughts and better convey ideas.

The major key to speaking clearly and getting your point across is rehearsal. With enough time anyone can figure out the perfect way to change their wording to get a point across and the best way to do that is rehearse it in your head or write it out. Before you engage the conversation it’s helpful to play out how it will go, how they will react to what you say, and how you will react to that, etc. because the conversation flows better when you already know what to say and you can figure out how to convey your point.

4. Confidence

Be confident because it makes you more likeable, reliable, and trustworthy.

The most important skill anyone can have is confidence. Confidence is walking into a room and not caring what other people think of you, you feel comfortable or confident in yourself to function normally without worrying about what people think. Arrogance is walking into a room and expecting everyone likes you. There is a fine line between being confident in yourself – being able to perform at your maximum ability – and thinking you are a gift to humanity. Confidence undoubtedly shows in your presence, body language, and attitude when talking and sells you to be more respectable and trustworthy. This makes a huge difference in how you come across to people and how they treat you.

5. Open-Mindedness

Be open-minded because it makes you more likeable, knowledgeable, and aware of different perspectives.

People have their own opinions and nobody likes to be told they’re wrong. Understand that even when you think or know you are right that you shouldn’t argue with someone or call them stupid for being wrong because that ruins your personal image. Being open to new ideas and other’s opinions also means you are more well-rounded and able to see things from different perspectives, which is important to making important decisions.

6. Build A Connection

Build connections with people to have friends, conversations, and earn favors in the future.

People have all the power in the world in the workplace. It’s important to be friendly to people and make friendships. If you want that job, raise, or promotion you will want to be liked by the boss because they’ll be more likely to give a raise to the good worker who is friendly than the good worker who doesn’t talk to anyone and is always serious. Or on the other side, if you are the boss and want your workers to want to do work it’s important to be friendly to them and treat them well so they want to work for you and do their best work for you. If people hate their boss then they won’t give their work 100%, they’ll do 70% or 60%. Essentially you should have mutual relationships where you get what you give. There’s a middle ground with this though. Being a people pleaser is risky because you are easily abusable and will often get walked on so know your line. But being unpleasant to people will make you widely disliked.

Although some of these tips are hard to implement into your daily life it is very helpful to at least know about them and remember them occasionally. If you listen, have good body language, think before you speak, have confidence, be open-minded, and build connections then you will be way more successful than someone who doesn’t.



Doyle, Alison. “These Are the Communication Skills Employers Look For In Employees.” The Balance, 28 Nov. 17 ADAD,

Community Service Opportunities

Lately we have been flooded with invitations to give back to the community in one way or another. Below you will find the information to the events that need volunteers.

24th Annual Spring Daze Arts & Crafts Festival

The Town of Cary’s 24th Annual Spring Daze Arts & Crafts Festival is coming up on Saturday, April 29, 2017. It takes over 150 volunteers to make this festival possible and we need your help! The Spring Daze Arts & Crafts Festival has great opportunities for high school students age 16+, or high school students under 16 who volunteer with a parent/guardian. Additionally, there are opportunities to volunteer in pairs and groups, allowing for great team building.


Click here to access the sign up. If you want to tell anyone else about this sign-up, ask them to search “Spring Daze Volunteers” at for the link.


Slots are available Fri. 4/28 and Sat. 4/29 in durations ranging from two to four hours. Feel free to sign-up for multiple shifts or on multiple days.


NOTE: A mandatory volunteer training for first-time volunteers in on Sat. April 22, 2017 at 1 p.m. in the Bond Park Community Center. All first-time volunteers are required to attend or they will not be allowed to volunteer. Return volunteers are welcome to attend if they would like to listen in on this year’s changes in the festival.


Additionally, the 41st Annual Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival is returning this summer on Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27. We know that it is hard to get in contact with schools and students over the summer, so please help me make your students aware that the sign-up for Lazy Daze will go live on Monday, July 17, 2017. This festival takes over 300 volunteers, so the support of the entire Wake County community is needed!


If you need any assistance or have questions in signing up, please feel free to reach out to me (my contact info is in the e-mail signature)!


If you would no longer like to be included on this e-mail list, please reply stating your preference.


Deirdre Lewis

Cultural Arts Program Assistant


Apex 4th annual 5K and play with Founder’s Day

Together we have brought in many sponsors and hope to have over 300 runners this year.  There are several things I would like to ask to see if you can participate in the event on April 8th.  Attached are forms etc.

It is run by the Apex Kiwanis club. These are things I hope that Apex High and the students can be a part of:

  • Need help with social media and setting up twitter/Instagram etc and getting the word out
  • The day of the race we would like a photographer and video for future marketing and web site
  • Volunteers for community service hours before/during and after the race…many opportunities
  • Would like to invite cheerleaders, stunt, band, henna club etc to be a part of the day and encourage runners
  • Get a team of runners from Apex…want to challenge Friendship?
  • Looking for sponsors
Contact Information:

AOIT NextDoor App Comments

Check out what people are saying about AOIT!

Post in Recommendations

Apex AOIT program

Christine Lennon from Haddon Hall · 1d ago

Hi, does anyone have any experience with the AOIT program at Apex High? What is the benefit of this program vs taking desired computer/programming classes separately?
Any input is appreciated!!

Shared with Haddon Hall + 73 nearby neighborhoods in Recommendations


Julia and Ram thanked Christine

Jodi Schuh from Haddon Hall · 2d ago

I have a senior and a sophomore in the program and the soft skills that they learn in the program is more valuable than anything. They learn interviewing skills, presentation skills, how to work in a group, plus the Microsoft certification and how to make a great power point. Whether you think your child is going to be in a technical field or not I think it is a great program. They also do an internship beteeen their junior and senior years that is required. The one thing that you might want to take into consideration is that they do not have as much flexibility in their schedule because there are required AOIT classes that fills up a lot of their schedule.


You thanked Jodi

Stacy Boxell from Haddon Hall · 2d ago

I have a freshman in the program, and it’s awesome. Jodi is exactly right with what she said. My daughter, at this point, doesn’t plan to have a computer or technical career. She wants to be a lawyer or actor, so the presentation skills learned here are fabulous. It’s different than taking the classes separately, because in AOIT, they assign projects across the classes. One project might have a component they work on in each of their classes…math, english, science, history, technology…so they receive a grade in each of the classes they are in that semester for the portion of the project that relates to that particular class. It’s all very integrated. Plus the program incorporates field trips for more hands-on application that your student also wouldn’t be part of just taking the classes separately. There are pluses and minuses to what Jodi mentioned about schedule flexibility. It’s true that AOIT students can’t take chorus (and band maybe?), but I think overall they have less trouble getting their schedules set as AOIT students are scheduled first. From what I hear, my daughter was lucky to get drama (and her other first choice elective) this year, as that’s another class that normally conflicts with AOIT schedules. We’re keeping our fingers crossed she can get more drama classes in the future. Either way, she has LOVED the AOIT program, and chose to do it even with the chance she couldn’t get any drama electives.


You thanked Stacy

James Devlin from Beckett Crossing · 1d ago

My son and daughter both were in AOIT. This was back in 2007. They both got a lot out of it and has been great on their job resumes. He is now a Nuclear Engineer working at a Nuclear power plant. The skills they learned will benefit them for the rest of there life’s. Go for it.


You thanked James

Darian Poliachik from Shepherds Vineyard · 1d ago

My third AOIT kid is just about to graduate. Great experience for all three. They learned how to get their resume together, how to interview (for a real paid internship they were required — and helped — to get over the summer after Junior year), and how to make presentations. They enjoyed the comraderie of having a smaller group within the big high school, and got to know the other AOIT kids well. Highly recommend.


You thanked Darian

Chuck Mihaliak from Haddon Hall · 1d ago

My son is a senior in the AOIT program. I can echo the above comments that it has been a great experience. The level of preparation, both academically and professionally, is fantastic. I’m also a member of the AOIT Advisory board which is mostly parents who are highly involved in supporting the Academy – all highly dedicated.
Regarding internships, the call is out now for companies who might be interested in hiring a student for the summer. If you know anyone who could use a well trained student with strong IT skills, let me know.


You thanked Chuck

Thom Haynes from Mandavilla Way · 22h ago

My son was in Apex’ AOIT pgm, finished around 2009, it was great, a unique and lucky opportunity for Apex students. He went on to a Comp Sci degree at UNC Charlotte and is a software engineer in Cincinnati now, with a huge Indian consulting firm, doing very well.


You thanked Thom

I-Ting Huang from Holt Rd · 12h ago

My son was graduated from Apex High’s AOIT program last year. I have asked him to give you some input. Here is what he wrote: The Academy of Information Technology aka AOIT has one of the most misleading names I have ever encountered in my life. Although we did work a lot with technology e.g. coding, website design, etc., the Academy really tries to focus on preparing students for their best possible futures in many aspects other than technology. We focused a lot on developing soft skills, like presentation skills and ways to work effectively in teams. These are also the exact things the Academy fails to advertise/showcase time and time again. I came into the program thinking I was going to do hardcore programming stuff and that thought process quickly disappeared within the first year.

AOIT contains a cohort of 90 students chosen through a lottery system of all who had applied. Chosen students are then placed in special AOIT-only classes where the only students in the class are in AOIT in addition to their regular classes. These classes can include anything from biology class to english class, classes that have absolutely nothing to do with technology; however, AOIT incorporates multiple projects and required presentations into those classes that are largely nonexistent in “regular” non-AOIT classes. Because you are taking many classes with the same people i.e. the people in AOIT that are in your grade, friendships are easily formed. I must say that AOIT helped me a lot in transitioning into high school in this regard. Making friends was easy through projects and conversations and adjusted me to the high school environment quickly. Many of my close friends today are/were from the AOIT program.

We also go on many AOIT-only field trips as a cohort; some are fun like going to the zoo or a high ropes course, but others are serious preparations for the future, such as the visit to NC State’s campus for practice job interviews. You most definitely do not get these opportunities outside of AOIT and the aspect of building relationships with your fellow AOIT classmates is again emphasized. As you progress through high school, the amount of AOIT-only classes decreases (I had only one AOIT-only class and seven regular classes my senior year) and field trips become less common, but the bonds you forged with your AOIT friends remain solidly intact.

The biggest thing that I thank AOIT for is their internship program. Graduation from the program requires each student to have an internship the summer after his/her junior year. In the process of getting an internship, we had to write resumes and interview with real company recruiters; this was the real deal. Although students are ultimately responsible for getting an internship, AOIT board members and staff immensely aid students in the process. This opportunity is absolutely invaluable. It is ludicrous for someone to already have internship experience before even coming to college, and it makes finding internships in college a whole lot easier. Not only do you get paid more than your average fast food summer job would (AOIT requires that the internship selected provides compensation), you get to see what life is like in an actual real-life work environment and learn hands on how to communicate with your coworkers and manager, manage projects, and countless other practical scenarios; it’s downright incredible.

The only downside to AOIT would be that some AOIT-only classes may conflict with the regular classes that a student may want to take in regards to time scheduling. For instance, I was unable to enroll in a band class my freshman year because I had so many AOIT-only classes that were the same time as the band class.


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