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New Hope-Solebury seniors reach their APEX


For three weeks at the end of their senior year, students at New Hope-Solebury High School leave the classroom as part of the career-oriented Active Personal Educational eXperience — APEX — Project.

It’s a 50- to 60-hour internship with a professional of their choosing. During this “experiential phase,” students gain insight into their chosen field that can’t be found in the classroom.

“It is an opportunity for seniors who are about to take the next step in their lives to get out in the real world and get an experience, whether it be something related to their future profession or just an area of interest,” said Andrea Korn, APEX Project coordinator, in an interview.

The APEX Project is New Hope-Solebury’s version of the “Culminating Project,” a graduation requirement under Pennsylvania law since 2002.

According to the law, the projects are designed to show that “students are able to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information and communicate significant knowledge and understanding.”

It’s a unique project at a unique public high school. With only four schools in the district and a graduating class of fewer than 150 students in any given year, faculty members are able to keep the seniors on track over the three weeks.

“I think that we are so fortunate to have the close-knit community that we have,” Sarah Reeder, temporary APEX Project coordinator, said in the same interview. “We have to really make sure that they (the students) understand the expectations going into it.”

“There’s just so many moving pieces,” Korn added, “There’s so many kids and it’s going in so many different directions.”

High School Principal Patrick Sasse is an advocate for experiential learning.

“Would I recommend it? A hundred percent I would, truly,” he said. “We certainly take a lot of pride in having the career exploration happen here.”

The APEX Project is part of New Hope-Solebury’s effort to provide career-readiness opportunities for students. Other opportunities adjacent to APEX include a career fair, a summer internship opportunity for juniors that’s starting this year and mock job interviews for all students.

Some students have changed or found their majors because of the project.

“We’ve had some students who didn’t know what they wanted to do,” Korn said. “We had them go with one of our talented staff members in one of the other buildings, and they realize ‘oh my gosh I have a passion for teaching.’”

The mentors, called Experience Facilitators have given overwhelmingly positive feedback on the project and the students it sends their way. Faculty members say they can recount stories of facilitators asking if they could hire students after the internship, or take on more students the following year.

“We like for our students to have the opportunity now, before they go into the college ranks or the post-secondary ranks or wherever and spend a lot of money and go through a lot of classes and majors just to realize ‘maybe this isn’t for me,’” Sasse said.

Korn said the high school is always on the lookout for businesses interested in facilitating an APEX Project. Anyone interested in learning more is asked to email Korn at or Lori Soriano at

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