Middle school mathematician takes on high school


Cassidy Taylor

Seventh grader, Max Kroll, writes the quadratic equation on the whiteboard. The quadratic equation is a crucial part of Algebra and Precalculus.

Cassidy Taylor, Assistant Editor

On occasion, an underclassman at Carlsbad High School may be seen taking an advanced placement course among upperclassmen. However, it is exceedingly rare to see a middle schooler in a class with juniors and seniors. Max Kroll, a seventh grader at Valley Middle School, is enrolled in Pre-Calculus Honors at CHS, a predominantly upperclassman course. 

Before Kroll attended high school he was home-schooled, which helped him to be placed in a class so many years ahead of his grade. Through home school, he was able to work through units faster and get farther ahead than he would in a public school. 

“I did homeschool for a couple of years,” Kroll said. “I used Khan Academy while I was home-schooled to get ahead. Then, I had to take a placement test and I got put here.” 

Kroll has taken many courses in the past to prepare him to be in Pre-Calculus Honors as a seventh grader. However, he has seen that hardships come with taking an advanced class at a high school level. 

“The class is definitely harder than the math classes I have taken in the past for sure,” Kroll said. “I guess that is one way to differentiate it.” 

Kroll has noticed that the biggest challenge for him has not been the course itself. It has been the time and schedule differences between Valley Middle and Carlsbad High School. 

“There is not too many challenges,” Kroll said. “The hardest thing is to switch over from the middle school and come over here. It is just a little bit of a process. The schedules are confusing.”

Ms. Alfonso, the Pre-Calculus Honors teacher, was shocked to learn that a seventh grader would be joining her advanced class. Her initial reaction was one of mixed emotions. 

“I was surprised and a little more than concerned that he was going to be overwhelmed by everything because that is a huge transition,” Alfonso said. “It was a little concerning and kind of exciting too. It is cool to see that.”

Despite the challenges, Kroll finds many positives in being in such an advanced course. He enjoys the contrast between students in high school compared to middle school. 

“My favorite part about being in an older class is the age of students and the maturity level,” Kroll said. “It is cool seeing all the big kids and working with them. It is interesting.” 

Over the past couple of years, many students have experienced what it is like to be homeschooled. Kroll, similarly to many others, is glad to be back on campus and in a classroom with peers. 

“I like seeing the way school life is like at the high school,” Kroll said. “I have not been in school in so long and it is interesting to get back into that environment.”