IB students get jump on college, citizenship

Published 6:59 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Among the graduating seniors at King’s Fork High School, 20 are members of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

The IB program has been at King’s Fork since 2009 and is described as the most rigorous program in Suffolk public schools.

IB was founded in 1968 in hopes of “creating a better world through high-quality, international education.” The global organization is designed to help prepare students for college and requires a challenging international education and thorough assessments of all its students.

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“The beauty of this program is that we are preparing students not only for college but to be successful global citizens,” said Shawn Barnard, IB specialist at King’s Fork.

IB is a two-year college preparatory program for juniors and seniors. However, at King’s Fork, these students apply by submitting a writing sample, transcripts and teacher recommendations before joining “pre-IB” as early as 8th grade. These courses help prepare students for the college-level classes they will take later in high school.

Participants are also getting involved in the community to complete a 150-hour creativity, activity and service project. Each student will complete a 4,000-word research paper on the subject of their choosing.

With its heavy workload, the students obtain several skills that a typical high school student may not possess, including critical thinking, essay writing and time management all the while earning college credit for their classes. Many of the students say they feel more prepared for college because of these skills.

“I feel that the program helps us with time management skills and how to live a balanced lifestyle between school and everything outside of classes,” said Lance Cody, a graduating senior.

“I also feel like it helps improve your social skills,” added senior Nikita Pandey. “I feel like you meet more people and make more connections that you maybe wouldn’t otherwise.”

Even though the IB students work hard inside the classroom, they are still encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities. For example, Cody is captain of the soccer team, Rebecca Hutchings is captain of the golf team and Pandey is involved in a tutoring club that she started as a senior project as part of IB’s community involvement aspect.

“If you only focus on academics, you’ll get burned out by sophomore year. Getting involved in things outside of school keeps things fun,” Cody said.

This is an exciting time for the students, as most of them have received their college acceptance letters and are now faced with the decision of where they want to attend. Regardless of where they end up, they have big dreams.

Cody is pretty confident that he wants to major in chemistry at William and Mary. Hutchings is keeping her options open but hopes to get a doctorate in orthopedics. Pandey is still deciding between a couple of universities but plans to go to medical school and become a physician.