The International Diploma Program at North Central High School
Shared from Andrew Hodson, International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Coordinator
The Origin Story
The world’s mighty nations destroyed each other during the World Wars. From these conflicts emerged the Cold War, and its threats of global nuclear annihilation. Humanitarians, scientists, politicians, theologians, and other intellectuals were aghast at the destructive capacity of human nature; with our tendency to tribalize, divide, and conquer. This realization sparked educational innovators to think not only about what it is best to teach children, but how it is best to teach them.
In 1968 the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program launched in Geneva, Switzerland. It was designed to facilitate learning that would make its graduates less likely to see education as a means to an end, and more as a means to continual improvement. There was an emphasis on self-reflection, requirements to be multilingual, and a strong role for student inquiry. Originally intended for the children of international diplomats and business people, whose frequent repostings disrupted their children’s education, soon lots of communities began to see the wisdom in viewing education through IB’s lens:
The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect…
…These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
IB Arrives at NCHS
In 1987 the Superintendent of our township, Dr. Philip McDaniel, saw a need to find a program that would help MSDWT, ‘…find ways to continually attract families with high-achieving students…’. Thus, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program found a new home at NCHS.
In the intervening 32 years we have seen well over 500 diploma candidates walk the halls of North Central, with nearly 90% of them earning their IB diploma. This is no easy feat. The IB Diploma is the most rigorous path a student can take through NCHS. They have been mentored along the way by legends in our community like Judy Libby and Bill Gulde, just two of the many that built a strong foundation for the program. These graduates went on to prestigious schools and impressive careers, living the values described in the IB Mission Statement above.
Hannah Reid [class of 2015 and pictured to the left] said, ‘I had a great experience in IB. I was much more prepared for college than other students and developed a much more worldly view. I feel like being part of IB definitely helped shape me into who I am today.’
Camelia Manring [class of 2016 and pictured to the right] wrote about her experience, ‘When I came to college, I realized that not everyone is taught critical thinking/problem-solving skills. Because of the IB program, I was never overwhelmed by my college workload, and I had already developed a sense of time management. Yet, above all, graduating from the IB program showed me the power of academic exploration and inquiry- to have your world views and assumptions challenged in high school is a great privilege that I never would have found outside IB.’
It is clear the the DP helps students prepare for the rigors of university, and exposes students to a unique high school experience. Perhaps not coincidentally, both Hannah and Camelia have expressed interest in Peace Corps service after college. We see the IB Mission made manifest in their stories: knowledgeable and caring young people, creating a more peaceful world.
The DP of the Future
The Diploma Program continues today. There are currently 31 candidates working hard on fulfilling their dreams. They are not alone; the DP leadership team is also dreaming, and working hard on those dreams. We are dreaming of a larger, stronger, and more inclusive IB Diploma Program. Our vision is supported by the Advancement Center. They have been generously providing financial support to students for years by subsidizing the costly IB and AP program’s testing fees. But we all know that this is not enough.
We are looking to recruit and retain candidates from every corner of our community. We are actively pursuing new ways of reaching out to students and supporting them within the program. As part of this outreach we are hoping to build an IBDP Alumni Network. We would love to reestablish our relationship with those 500+ NC DP graduates. We believe that this network would be an invaluable recruitment and support tool for the future. Advice coming from alumni on college choice and career advancement will be authentic. Sharing the stories of alumni overcoming challenges and accomplishing their goals will inspire and motivate more young people to become DP candidates themselves.
This survey is designed for anyone that participated in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at North Central High School. By taking the survey you will give us the opportunity to reach out to you and begin building our community. Please, share the link to this survey with other NC DP alumni that you know, unfortunately not everyone receives the Advancement Center newsletter.
Together we can honor our shared history and build a better tomorrow for the students we guide.