PATERSON – Four more members of the International Baccalaureate (IB)Program at International High School’s Class of 2020 have been notified that they met the rigorous requirements to earn the distinguished IB Diploma, Superintendent Eileen Shafer announced Monday. That brings the total number of successful recipients of the prestigious diploma to seven in this year’s graduating class.

To say we are proud of our IB Diploma graduates would be a huge understatement,” said Superintendent of School Eileen F. Shafer. “These Paterson Public Schools graduates worked very hard during this adverse time of the pandemic to achieve academic excellence, and that is an inspiration to us all. I thank them, as well as their teachers, supervisors, and principal for their dedication and focus. And I offer special gratitude to the parents of these graduates, whose unfailing devotion to their children helped them achieve great success.”

The seven IB Diploma graduates of 2020 follow Amaya Perez who became the district’s first IB Diplomas recipient in 2019, the year the first class of the IB program graduated. There were 46 IB students in IHS’ graduating Class of 2020, with 25 students vying for the IB diploma. Two students who missed qualifying for the IB the diploma by 1-2 points who will be reevaluated in May 2021. Five students from the Class of 2019 who narrowly missed qualifying and were originally scheduled to be reevaluated in May will now be reevaluated in November.

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Other members of the Class of 2020 earned certificates that qualify them for college credit in particular courses. Thirty-one qualified for college credit in IB Language and Literature and 18 graduates qualified for college credit in IB Mandarin, two graduates qualified for college credit in Environmental Systems and Societies, 13 qualified for IB World History of Africa and the Middle East, nine qualified for IB World Religions, 11 qualified for  IB Physics, 12 qualified for IB Mathematics, and one qualified for IB Art. 

“The IB Program presents great challenges to our students, but it also offers great rewards,” said Principal of the IB Program at International High School Catherine Forfia-Dion. “We are proud of all of the IB Program’s participants for taking on the program’s rigorous challenges during the unexpectedly challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

To earn an IB diploma, a student in the IB program must take six exams in different subject areas during the junior and senior years of high school, and score a minimum of 24 total points. Each exam has a maximum score of 7 points. An IB diploma also requires a student to have completed an extended essay, the Theory of Knowledge course, as well as a Creativity, Action and Service project. One to three bonus points can be added for completion of the Theory of Knowledge course and the Creativity, Action and Service project. The extended essay and the exams are graded externally by the IB worldwide organization.

The highest possible score for an IB diploma is 45 points. Candidates can earn 45 points by getting the highest score of seven on all six of the required exams (for a total of 42 points), plus getting another three bonus points for the extended essay and the Theory of Knowledge course.

International High School is the only school in Passaic County, and only one of 17 schools in New Jersey, to offer the IB Program. The other schools are Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, Biotechnology High School in Freehold, Donovan Catholic in Toms River, East Side High School in Newark, Howell High School in Farmingdale, Fort Lee High School, Freehold Township High School, Linden High School, Morris Knolls High School in Rockaway, Newark Academy in Livingston, Red Bank Regional High School in Little Silver, Salem High School, Science Park High School in Newark, Shore Regional High School in West Long Branch, West Morris Central High School in Chester, and West Morris Mendham High School in Mendham.

 Class of 2020 IB Diploma recipients are:

  • Emily Cruz, who is now a student at Johns Hopkins University  
  • Nishat Hossain, who is now a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick 
  • Rosa Rijo, who is now a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology 
  • Lisbeth Zenon, who was accepted to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the New York Institute of Technology, and Penn State, but chose to serve in the United States Air Force
  • Cindy Munoz (IHS valedictorian), who is now a student at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Nicole Velecela (IHS salutatorian), who is now a student at Cornell University
  • Angel Leonora, who is now a student at Seton Hall University

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