Bellaire presented 20 International Baccalaureate (IB) diplomas last week to high-achieving students. Receiving diplomas were: Muthuraman Alagappan, YangYang Chen, Christopher Fan, Jenny Fan, Zachary Garber, Lauren Gardner, Alexander Jefferson, Franz Kogler, Vladimir Lankevich, Alicia Lau, Daniel Petkevich, Harvey Powers, Sailesh Prabhu, Karthik Prasad, Itai Ronen, Omair Shariff, Sylvia Sun, Lena Warsi, Janet Wiles, and MingQian (Shelley) Xie . High School
The students graduated from Bellaire last May, but the IB diplomas are not conferred until late in the summer. The ceremony was held in January because the majority of the students were home on break from their universities. Fourteen students gathered to reflect upon what an IB diploma meant to them. IB classes, like AP classes, have an advanced, college-level curriculum. Unlike AP classes taken in individual subjects, IB classes are part of a curriculum that can lead to a diploma recognized by universities worldwide. Over the course of their junior and senior years, diploma candidates take six IB courses in addition to an epistemological class called The Theory of Knowledge. The program cultivates internationalism and teaches students to be active learners and engaged citizens.
Looking back on their experience with the IB program, the former Bellaire students shared their insights with current IB students. Itai Ronen, a freshman at UT Austin, said that he pursued the IB diploma “just to see if I could do it.” He found that it made college courses seem easier academically.
“Now I see the endless possibilities and the choices we can make (as a benefit of having the diploma),” Ronen said.
Daniel Petkevich, a freshman at Yale University, praised the Theory of Knowledge course that was required by the diploma.
“Mr. Casteel (the TOK teacher) did such a great job of leading discussions. There is a way of thinking that the IB program engenders that is very valuable,” said Petkevich.
Sylvia Sun, a business student at UT, cited the holistic approach of the IB program. “It was the first time I had to work towards a long-term goal rather than focusing on the next test or the final grade,” said Sun.
Bellaire currently has 29 seniors and 13 juniors working toward the IB diploma according to Jamey Schaaf, Bellaire’s IB coordinator.