Long Beach High School Senior IB Recognition Ceremony

Schools and Libraries

June 13, 2013

Long Beach High School Senior IB Recognition Ceremony


At Long Beach High School’s second International Baccalaureate recognition ceremony, 40 seniors gathered in the high school commons on the evening of June 5, in the presence of family and friends, to be recognized for their outstanding achievements in fulfilling the rigorous requirements of the IB diploma program. After completing two higher-level and three standard-level IB courses, internal assessments, external IB exams, a Theory of Knowledge course, an extended essay, and 150 hours of community service, this proud group of students stood tall at the ceremony marking their extraordinary shared accomplishment.

One by one, as each name was called, they rose to receive their International Baccalaureate stoles, which they will proudly wear on graduation day. As a group, they shared a special bond that was forged by their common journey into the unknown. As individuals, they all gained something unique from the experience, shifting their intellectual boundaries while expanding their view of the world, their perceptions of others and their ability to push beyond perceived limitations. Although each will take away something different from the program, these 40 students – Ashley Alvarado, Kirsten Anderson, Katrina Ayala, Taylor Barje, Alexander Blum, Scott Blumenfeld, Jordan Bochner, Zuzana Calbo, Drew Castillo, Christy Fox, David Fuchs, Lorena Garcia, Isabella Georgopoulos, Darling Gutierrez, Bryan Heran, Melanie Jasper, Edwin Jung, Jarrett Levine, Ashley Martin, Jennifer Nash, Hugo Paredes, Ashita Patel, Natalia Podboraczynska, Nerio Rodriguez, Alexis Romano, Shannon Romig, Jordan Rosario, Carlo Sevilla, Michael Solomonic, Elyse Stark, Mason Steinberg, Ethan Sukonik, Joseph Sweeney, Casey Talay, Brian Vega, David Velez, Neil Wall, Harli Weitz, Noah Wiesner and Andrea Wilkins – will remain forever bonded.

Each of the evening’s speakers added a unique perspective in describing the IB experience. Principal Gaurav Passi began by saying, “Tonight we do not only honor academic achievement, but we honor the journey that our IB diploma candidates embarked upon. Somewhere during their sophomore year, they made the decision to enter into the world of the International Baccalaureate, and today we celebrate that they persevered to come out on the other end.”

“You have spent a lot of time and energy to get to this moment,” added IB coordinator Dr. Andrew Smith. “The experiences, the challenges, the reflection and the friendships all help to make IB a different path. Your journey through IB has made you better, more worldly and open-minded people.”

IB diploma candidate Alexis Romano was chosen by her peers to describe her impressions of the last two years. “Most of us knew that we were signing up for major class work, community service and an extensive research paper, but what we didn’t know when we chose the IB path, and what we know now after completing the program, is far more important and valuable,” she said. “We have all grown to be questioners. We know never to accept that something is important simply because someone told us so. We have embraced a questioning nature and we apply it not only to our academics, but to our lives.”

The students selected math teacher James Fiola as their keynote speaker, who shared his insights about making connections, becoming effective problem-solvers and recognizing the importance of firsts. “It is important to celebrate all of your achievements as you go through your life,” he concluded. “This is one of the big ones. I see many others in your future. My hope for all of you is that you have long, happy, successful and balanced lives. It has been my privilege to teach you.”

Long Beach High School became an International Baccalaureate World School in 2010. The IB diploma program is a comprehensive two-year academic program that is designed to prepare young people to meet the academic demands of college while motivating them to become thoughtful, caring and active citizens. Classroom instruction is designed to encourage students to be inquirers, well-balanced, thinkers, caring, reflective, knowledgeable, principled, open-minded, risk takers and communicative.