Past and present International Baccalaureate students – including Graham Hiscocks (below) – and teachers celebrated the program's 35th year at Semiahmoo Secondary last week.

Past and present International Baccalaureate students – including Graham Hiscocks (below) – and teachers celebrated the program's 35th year at Semiahmoo Secondary last week.

35 years of IB celebrated at Semi

Semiahmoo Secondary's IB program last week celebrated 35 years of student achievement.

by Alex Wilks – Special to Peace Arch News

Semiahmoo Secondary’s IB program last week celebrated 35 years of student achievement.

Wednesday afternoon, past grads, present students, teachers and friends gathered in the school drama room to reminisce and to offer advice to current and future IB students.

“For those of you currently studying in the IB program, you’re part of an amazing legacy for Semiahmoo Secondary,” said principal Claudine Bunyan.

The IB program – International Baccalaureate – is a Grade 11/12 internationally recognized program that allows motivated students to get ahead in their education. It prepares them academically for the challenges they will face in university and often offers the students more opportunities to compete for major scholarships.

Aaina Sood, 16, began her studies this past September. She thought that the IB program offered a good opportunity to get ahead and to challenge herself.

“I feel that my transition into university will go a lot smoother,” Sood said.

“I will be more knowledgeable once I complete the program (and) I will be able to organize myself and my time management.”

Graham HiscocksIB graduate Graham Hiscocks, 28, believes that he owes his success to the program.

“It forced me to understand what my strengths and weaknesses were academically,” he said. “It allowed me to become a scholar of the world.”

Hiscock believes that critical thinking – a skill taught in the IB program – is something students should explore before graduating high school.

“You have the ethics of academia engrained in your head by the time you graduate,” he said. “You don’t realize what an advantage that is until you get into a University environment where people are learning it for the first time.”

Hiscocks was not the only graduate that felt he owed the IB program a thank you. Past student Fred Zhu, 20, also said that IB prepared him thoroughly for post-secondary.

“I don’t think there was any way I could have gotten into to Cambridge without the IB program,” Zhu said. “I learnt to organize my time and get everything done before the deadlines piled up.”

When asked if he could offer a piece of advice for those starting out in the program, Hiscock said, “I’m so glad I went into the IB program because it forced me to learn how to work hard. Your hard work is worth it.”