14 local teens earn prestigious international honor through multi-year program of rigorous coursework, exams

by: WOODBURN INDEPENDENT - The class of 2014 from Woodburn High School boasted 14 IB diploma recipients.A record number of Woodburn High School students earned the prestigious International Baccalaureate diploma after completing the program in May 2014.

A total of 14 were awarded the prestigious honor this year, which requires the completion of a rigorous, multi-year curriculum of additional coursework and examinations, out of 27 — also a record for Woodburn — who enrolled full-time in the program.

Many of those fell just short of being awarded the IB diploma, with five WHS students finishing just one point shy, and four more missing the mark by only three or fewer.

“We’ve been steadily building the numbers since we started the program,” Woodburn Superintendent Chuck Ransom said. “This is a big group of kids to attempt it and a high number to succeed, so we’re very proud.”

The International Baccalaureate is a global nonprofit educational foundation. According to Ransom, in many countries, the senior year in high school is more equivalent to the freshman year of college in the U.S., so the aim of IB is to “standardize the rigor for that final year of high school.”

“For American students, it’s a big step up, because they have to accommodate that first year of college equivalency their senior year,” Ransom said.

Ultimately, it means graduates have a diploma that meets international standards for college readiness anywhere in the world, but the prestigious distinction also makes students eligible for scholarships and even course credit at many domestic universities.

Ransom said the program, which Woodburn joined in 2001, has also been a boon to the school district, helping officials raise the overall quality of academic programming, and demonstrating in a powerful way what local students are capable of accomplishing.

“This has shown us that there is absolutely nothing our kids can’t do, if they have the support and encouragement they need,” he said.

Woodburn High School’s 2014 IB graduates, along with their academy and the college they will be attending in the fall, are:

Sandra Ambriz Perez, Academy of International Studies (AIS), Western Oregon University.

Maria Cabrales, AIS, University of Oregon (UO).

Melissa Escalona-Vasquez, AIS, George Fox University.

Jose Leon Cornelio, AIS, Chemeketa Community College (CCC).

Cesar Ramos, AIS, Portland State University.

Gail Sanchez, AIS, CCC.

Domitila Castro Encinas, Woodburn Academy of Arts, Science, and Technology (WAAST), Northern Arizona University.

Alicia Morales-Baca, WAAST, Portland State.

Angelica Ruiz, WAAST, UO.

Ekaterina Seledkov, WAAST, George Fox.

Anna Tkachenko, WAAST, CCC.

Guadalupe Astorga-Ramos, Woodburn Arts and Communications Academy (WACA), Warner Pacific University.

Tyler Lulich, WACA, Brigham Young University

Magdalena Munoz-Rivas, WACA, University of California-Santa Cruz.

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