At a special ceremony to recognize Hillcrest High’s 2016 IB graduates, retiring coordinator Dr. Brian Bentley described students who completed the notoriously challenging college-prep program this way: “They saw an opportunity to make more out of their educational experience and they took it, even though it meant making sacrifices.”
Ninety-four students received recognition for their efforts; 38 IB diploma recipients, one career program recipient and 55 certificate recipients. These students graduated last spring from Hillcrest, one of a dozen schools in Utah approved to teach International Baccalaureate classes. The ceremony is held retroactively due to a lag time in the national reporting of IB exam results, and it’s scheduled each year in early January to capitalize on the holidays when many of the student honorees are home from college.
This year’s event featured remarks by IB graduate Anthony Cheng, and National Merit Scholar and Presidential Scholar, and Dr. Bentley who stressed that the IB Programme is “designed to be a means, not an end” to students’ education. Success in life, he said, has little to do with intelligence and is more dependent on hard work, and a person’s willingness to remain teachable and to use their acquired knowledge to serve others.
IB diplomas certainly can open doors. Many colleges now include a special “IB diploma” field on their applications, and members of Hillcrest’s Class of 2016 have matriculated at institutions such as, MIT, the University of Pittsburgh, UC Irvine, University of North Carolina, University of Utah and Brigham Young University. As a group, they were offered $2.8 million in scholarship awards.
International Baccalaureate, overseen by a nonprofit agency in Switzerland, is offered in 143 different countries worldwide and is designed for students who seek a curriculum that emphasizes critical and creative-thinking skills. To earn an IB diploma, students must take six IB courses in at least five different subject areas. They must pass some tough exams, write a comprehensive essay and complete service in schools and communities.