By STEVE LENOX
PATERSON, NJ – Despite the challenges of learning in the midst of a global health emergency, four students in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at International High School’s Class of 2021 have met the rigorous requirements to earn the distinguished IB Diploma.
On Wednesday Superintendent Eileen Shafer announced the four, all now enrolled in 4-year colleges, including two at Rutgers University, one at New Jersey Institute of Technology, and one at The New School – Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, have increased the district’s total of IB Diploma recipients to 12.
“The pandemic has impacted all of us in so many ways, but it didn’t stop these IB Diploma graduates from achieving their very best,” Shafer said of Jose Correa, Gerson Del Orbe, Alyzae Coleman, and Aileen Ni. “We are very proud of these very special Paterson Public Schools alumni. They are among the district’s dozen of IB Diploma recipients in just two short years that have been largely marked by the pandemic.
Amaya Perez, who went on to the Ivy League as a University of Pennsylvania student, became the district’s first IB Diploma recipient in 2019, the year the first class of the IB program graduated.
In 2020, seven students earned the IB Diploma:
Emily Cruz, who is now a student at Johns Hopkins University
Nishat Hossain, who is now a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Rosa Rijo, who is now a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology
Lisbeth Zenon, who was accepted to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the New York Institute of Technology, and Penn State, but chose to serve in the United States Air Force
Cindy Munoz (IHS valedictorian), who is now a student at the University of Pennsylvania
Nicole Velecela (IHS salutatorian), who is now a student at Cornell University
Angel Leonora, who is now a student at Seton Hall University
“Overcoming adversity to achieve excellence is an inspiration to us all. I want to thank the IB Diploma graduates for their hard work, as well as their teachers, supervisors, and principal for their dedication to our students. And I especially want to thank the parents of these graduates. Their unfailing devotion to their children helped them achieve great success.”
In total there were 59 IB students in IHS’ graduating Class of 2021, with 22 students vying for the IB diploma
Also of note, Shafer said, IB Spanish was offered for the first time at International High School during the 2020-2021 school year. All 17 students passed the course with a score of four or higher, and five of those students earned perfect scores of seven. All of the IB Spanish students are now eligible for college credit. A new IB math course called Applications and Interpretations was also offered for the first time, and 17 students of the 29 passed with a four or higher making them eligible for college credit.
Students also excelled in the challenging IB Physics course with 13 of the school’s 18 students enrolled scoring a four or higher while 10 of 16 enrolled in IB Mandarin earned a score of four, with two of them earning a perfect score of seven. Finally, 23 students out of 32 enrolled in IB World Religions earned a score of four or higher, with two students earning a perfect score of seven.
“We are immensely proud of our students who took on the challenges of the IB Program and have reaped the rewards of preparing for college and, in many cases, earning college credit,” said International High School Principal Catherine Forfia-Dion. “We are looking forward to the rest of the year ahead, and all that our current students will accomplish through the IB Program.”
To earn an IB diploma, a student in the IB program must take six exams in different subject areas during the junior and senior years of high school and score a minimum of 24 total points. Each exam has a maximum score of 7 points. An IB diploma also requires a student to have completed an extended essay, the Theory of Knowledge course, as well as a Creativity, Action and Service project. One to three bonus points can be added for completion of the Theory of Knowledge course and the Creativity, Action and Service project. The extended essay and the exams are graded externally by the IB worldwide organization.
The highest possible score for an IB diploma is 45 points. Candidates can earn 45 points by getting the highest score of seven on all six of the required exams (for a total of 42 points), plus getting another three bonus points for the extended essay and the Theory of Knowledge course.
International High School is the only school in Passaic County, and only one of 17 schools in New Jersey, to offer the IB Program with other schools including Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, Donovan Catholic in Toms River, East Side High School in Newark, Morris Knolls High School in Rockaway, Newark Academy in Livingston, Red Bank Regional High School in Little Silver, and Science Park High School in Newark.