West’s Exclusive Program for Motivated Students

Daniel Jimenes-Ablecop, Reporter

West Anchorage High School is currently ranked #24 in the nation for its diversity, with 1,899 students speaking over 99 different languages. West stands out from the other seven high schools being the only school to offer the International Baccalaureate program in Anchorage.

The IB program at West offers students a chance to take classes that are more advanced, give them the chance to even get ahead, and possibly even get college benefits. West offers a variety of IB classes, such as: literature, history, languages, math, and art. Some IB classes are weighted which means if students pass with C, it’s really a B, and a B is really an A, pretty much being worth an actual extra point then your final GPA.

Bianca Batac, a junior, says “the IB program isn’t hard to get into at all I only went because I was recommended and am glad I did. It’s really challenged my perspective and has improved my work ethic.” Batac currently balances a 3.89 GPA and says,  “If I didn’t take any IB classes my gpa would be at a 3.69, dropping my class rank by several numbers. Had I not been in IB, I may of missed my chances at getting scholarships.”

Another junior , Kameelia Gugalani, is enrolled in IB literature and IB World History of Americas. This is also her first year taking IB Gugalani says, “ever since I started taking Ib classes it hasn’t only challenged me but classes, are taken way more seriously than regular ones, which makes learning easier with less disruptions.” Gugalani says she has “learned several skills that she feels may actually benefit her in college, such as writing skills, reading, and determination.”

IB director John Ruhlin, had quite a lot to say about the program. The Baccalaureate program requires an application in order to be accepted into IB classes. After being head of the program for 12 years, Ruhlin says “ The program itself is a lot of work and can be stressful but I love doing it anyway.” Ruhlin says that the program really pushes students and that he is glad that West was given the opportunity to be the first school to offer this.

The IB program does have an optional test for seniors who have been in the program for two years. The test is a overall examination of everything that the students have learned the last couple of years. If the students do well on the exam, they are given college credit for the high school classes they took. Many colleges around the nation take interest in seeing that students completed the program in high school. Some colleges even also offer in-state tuition for students that graduate with the IB diploma program which a student can get they take all IB classes and meet the requirements for two years. West Anchorage High School has very competitive students, which allows for this program to fit in great.