Tuesday, July 31, 2012

IB Diploma Graduates

At Westchester Academy for International Studies, 21students have earned the prestigious IB Diploma, program leaders report.

International Baccalaureate Diplomas awarded to 21 students
Twenty-one seniors enrolled in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Westchester Academy for International Studies (WAIS), a district charter school, have earned the prestigious IB Diploma this year, program leaders report.
 Program Coordinator Valerie Harelson reports that May’s class of IB Diploma recipients is the biggest in Westchester history. In addition, the average score for all IB Diploma Candidates in this special program has increased from 3.5 in 2009 to 4.1 this year. Exams are scored from 1 to 7, with 4 or above as passing scores.
 “Both teacher and students have worked hard, and we are proud of the results,” Harelson said. “Our goal is for our WAIS students to challenge themselves and be prepared and confident as they pursue their post-secondary goals. We’re also pleased that our IB Diploma program attracts an increasing number of full IB Diploma student candidates as well as students taking one or more individual IB courses.”
 WAIS was formed a decade ago as a district charter middle and high school campus. This year’s IB Diploma awards add to this district charter high school’s recent accolades. Last fall, WAIS received the nation’s highest ranking from the U.S. Dept. of Education, the Blue Ribbon School designation.
 In the past three years, 35 graduates have won the highly regarded IB Diploma: 13 diplomas were awarded last year, 16 in 2010, and six in 2009. A total of 63 IB Diplomas have been awarded since the first graduating class of IB Diploma students in 2007.
 To earn the IB Diploma, students devote their junior and senior years to fulfilling a lengthy program, which requires English, a foreign language, math, science, history or social studies, and a fine arts class, as well as a Theory of Knowledge course.
 In addition, students write a 4,000-word research paper, fulfill other class activities and participate in a variety of activities, including traditional community service projects.
 IB Diploma recipients this year included three Bilingual Diploma award recipients, all of whom are fluent in Spanish. They are Kelsey Miller and Roger Torres, who plant to attend the University of Houston, and Leticia Trevino, who will join the freshman class at Rice University soon.
 An additional IB Diploma recipient, Jarred Gillie, was accepted into the nation’s top training school for naval officers, the U.S. Naval Academy located in Annapolis, Md.

The 17 other new IB Diploma graduates and their colleges and universities are:
  • Jennifer Andrade, University of Texas at Austin 
  • Gabriela Belmarez, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass. 
  • Yvar Carcaces, University of Houston 
  • Rachael Dunn, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Wash. 
  • Nathan Dwyer, University of Houston 
  • Gwenn Fineran, St. Edwards University, Austin, Texas 
  • Lilly Gonzales, University of Houston 
  • Lupita Herrera, Sam Houston University, Huntsville, Texas 
  • Theodore Leung, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 
  • Iman Mazloum, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa. 
  • Craig Miller, University of Texas at Dallas 
  • Liam Miner, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas 
  • Richey Puntarelli, Not Available at This Time 
  • Johanna Rauch, Karl-Franzens Universitat (University of Graz), Graz, Austria 
  • Kent Robinson, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State Univ., Blacksburg, Va. 
  • Elena Streuding, Blinn College, Brenham, Texas 
  • Emily Taylor, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

May graduate Jennifer Andrade plans to major in biology at the University of Texas at Austin. Today, she is thinking about medical school and a possible career as a pediatrician. She believes that the structures of independent inquiry and study found in the IB program will help her at UT.
 “IB is very different. You are on your own with many projects. For me, it was a good experience and I do believe that I am better prepared for the college lectures and note taking. IB, like college, is for those who are comfortable with independent study and learning,” Jennifer said.

 Trinity University-bound Liam Miner is considering medicine, too. When a summer assignment rolled in from Trinity’s first-year program to compile an annotated bibliography, Liam neither cracked a sweat nor reached for a Google dictionary explanation. “I said this will be easy. I’ve done this before. In IB, overall, you have to be more organized than the average student, and I think that’s a good thing,” he said.

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