MOUNT VERNON – Three out of four candidates for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme recently passed their tests and completed the requirements for their IB diplomas. Daren Lu, Lesley Iyamu and Prescilazoe Nyarko, Mount Vernon High School Class of ‘23 graduates, were awarded with the diplomas in early July.
“The rigorous curriculum of the IB program has not only sharpened the critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management skills of our students, but it has also challenged our dedicated staff to continually refine their instructional approaches,” said Dr. Pauline Pearce, principal at MVHS. “We eagerly anticipate witnessing the implementation of IB Teaching and Learning Approaches in all our classrooms, as we strive to provide the best education possible.”
The curriculum is made up of the Diploma Programme (DP) core and six subject groups. These courses provide a rigorous curriculum that makes up most of the students’ schedule. Over the course of two years, the students completed five college level courses. The DP core also consists of a creativity, activity and service project and an extended research paper of 4,000 words or more.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” said Alexandra Sherlock, IB language and literature teacher at MVHS. “I knew they were going to do well because I have been working so closely with them for two years. You have a good sense of who they are as people and the work that they produce. But it was still really emotional seeing the scores and knowing that they did do really well and how that must feel for them.”
On Friday, August 11, 2023, Prescilazoe spoke to students currently enrolled in the IB Diploma Programme. She encouraged them to continue on and reach out for help from the advisors, who helped keep her focused throughout her two years in the program.
“It means a lot to me because I think it’s the first time that I decided to go through with something, and I completely finished it all on my own,” said Prescilazoe. “I’m really proud of myself for sticking with it for the whole two years. It’s really just like all my hard work has paid off. I highly recommend it. I think that it really helps students become well rounded and it pushes students to do more than just academics. And I really feel like I’m prepared for college now.”
Prescilazoe conducted her extended research paper on Japanese motivations during and before World War II. She believes that the difficulty level of her IB courses and assignments give her an advantage going into college because she has felt the weight of a heavy and challenging course load. She is enrolled at New York University on a full ride to study digital media communications and public relations.
Colleges and universities give great consideration to IB diploma candidates, and each of the three diploma recipients received scholarships to their schools. Lesley Iyamu is going to Columbia University on a full scholarship, and Daren Lu is attending the University of Rochester, also on a scholarship.
IB advisors assist students with achieving their diploma, but they also work with them to get into college and prepare for their futures. Following Prescilazoe’s presentation to the current IB students, Ayami Ogura Abel, IB math teacher at MVHS, told the class that IB students have a 40% higher chance at getting into top colleges and universities.
“I extend my congratulations to the brilliant recipients of the IB diploma!” said Dr. Pearce.
“I also want to recognize and commend the IB staff and students for their unwavering dedication, hard work, and perseverance in supporting our scholars to achieve this remarkable milestone.”
Each student also earned the New York State Advanced Regents diploma. Moreover, they were all members of the National Honor Society, Chapter 95 at MVHS in which they participated in several school-wide service activities including 60 hours of peer tutoring.
The diploma recipients were honored at the Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, August 15.