PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Advanced placement classes were once reserved for gifted students only.

But Brashear High School has opened the door to others, as long as they are willing to work.

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The AP program was recognized earlier this week by none other than “The New York Times.”

Brashear principals Kimberly Safran and Angel Washington say the three-year program is sponsored by the National Math and Science Initiative.

“Finally, our kids who work hard every day, who come to school every day, through circumstances that most people probably can’t even fathom, are getting the recognition that they deserve,” Washington says. “So, it makes us very proud.”

“Brashear has some great things going on here,” Safran adds, “and we’re really excited to showcase what’s going on here. And “The New York Times,” you know, it’s the best paper in the world.”

“The New York Times” focused on AP scholar Maura Fritzley, who describes herself as an average student. Did she ever wonder what she had gotten herself into?

“Yes, definitely,” she laughs. “That was about 90 percent of my thought process. I was like, ‘Oh jeez, what am I doing?’”

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Her A’s in mainstream classes turned into B’s and C’s in AP, but she says, “You want to surround yourself with people that are better than you so you can strive to be better, rather than bring yourself down. You always want to better yourself as a person.”

Like most kids her age, she didn’t quite grasp the impact of “The New York Times.”

“My math teacher told me, ‘You don’t understand,’” Maura says. And I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s cool.’ And he says, ‘No, you don’t understand.’”

Then, a friend saw the article in Peru.

“And I was like, ‘Yes, it’s a pretty big deal.’” she admits.

Maura will attend La Roche College in the fall.

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