Long Beach High School Senior IB Recognition Ceremony

Schools and Libraries

June 9, 2014

It is no easy feat to complete the rigorous requirements of the International Baccalaureate diploma program, but at Long Beach High School's third International Baccalaureate recognition ceremony, 37 seniors gathered in the high school commons in the presence of family and friends to be recognized for their outstanding achievements. 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 wear on graduation day. As a group, they shared a special bond that was forged by their common journey. 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 students Christine Acuna, Kum Kum Ahmed, Samuel Berk, Christina Carvalho, David Coronel, Brenden Donlon, Falynn Enright, Max Esformes, Chandler Gregor, Max Hakim, Daniel Hanson, Maxwell Kramer, Arielle McManus, Chandler McMillan, Anthony Mitthauer-Orza, Jamie Morgenstern, Jonathan Muratori, Mariza Navera, Jonathan Orozco, Stefan Pitts, Gonzalo Quinones, Maria Quintero, Lindsay Ricci, Elizabeth Rourke, Richard Ruiz, Jason Santiago, Shelby Saroka, Justine Smith, Bryan Snow, Benjamin Steinberg, Perri Steiner, Emma Thurston, Kimberly Trabulsi, Gerome Vetura, Samantha Walsh, Melissa Ward and William Watson will remain forever bonded.

Each of the evening's speakers added a unique perspective in describing what this third class of IB diploma candidates has brought to the IB experience.

"When I tried to come up with a way to describe you, I thought about all the traits that you show every day at school," said IB coordinator Dr. Andrew Smith. "You are smart, friendly, outgoing, hard-working, and you have a strong passion for learning. But the one trait that stands out is your spirit spirit for school, spirit for our community and spirit for life."

IB diploma candidate Emma Thurston was chosen by her peers to describe her impressions of their shared journey.

"The IB diploma program is largely about the education of young people in such a way that what they have learned translates easily into tools for their real life," she said. "Rather than memorize and regurgitate facts, only to be forgotten the second 'pencils down' is called, we have been taught for understanding. I think all of us learned that if you're doing something that you love, the work will come easily."

The students selected teacher Anthony Balsamo as their keynote speaker, who congratulated them on making it through the most rigorous course of study offered at their school.

"You are the Navy SEALS of the Long Beach High School community," he said. "Instead of sea, air and land, you speak, evaluate, analyze, lead and, most importantly, serve your community."

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.