North County students raise money to fight COVID-19 through AP instruction service

Level Up Prep raised $5,600 for a hospital fund that was started to help fight COVID-19.

By organizing an initiative to help their peers prepare for advanced placement courses in science, technology, engineering and math, a group of North County students raised $5,600 for a Rady Children’s Hospital fund for its fight against COVID-19.

The initiative, Level Up Prep, offered online instruction over the summer for students entering AP STEM courses. A $200 fee to enroll in each course went to the hospital fund.

“I wanted to pass down my prior experience and knowledge to other students and help them along the way,” said Erika Li, 17, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy.

She and the other Level Up organizers reached out to friends, family and classmates to recruit prospective students for the three courses they offered: calculus, physics and chemistry. They developed the curriculum for each course based on their experiences taking AP courses. The sessions they offered, which were limited to about 10 to 15 students, took place virtually using Google Meets. Course materials were distributed using Google Classroom.

At the end of each course, students received reports that detailed their strengths and weaknesses.

“They were all super motivated,” Li said, referring to the students who enrolled. “In the end they sent messages saying how much this program was helpful for both being able to delve deeper into some of the topics they were interested in, which were either chemistry, calculus or physics, and they also thought it was super helpful because we provided a lot of presentations and notes and other practice problems that they can also refer back to for their future classes.”

Lynne Xu, 17, a senior at Torrey Pines High School, said when the pandemic first started, she thought there “had to be a way I could contribute more to help them,” referring to health care workers.

“Nurses, doctors, health care staff, they’re all sacrificing their lives every day caring for people,” she said.

Lily Pfeizer, 17, a Canyon Crest Academy senior said launching Level Up provided “a really good opportunity for me to use the skills I have acquired through my education to make change and give back to the community.” She added that it provided a good way to support health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Something that I really learned through the experience is, despite all the tragic things that can happen in a year, I think hope can be found when people come together and unite,” Pfeizer said. “Level Up showed that we’re all capable of creating change, and my dream is to create a community where I can see hope.”