IB grads

Eight Nogales High School seniors who graduated in May earned the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma in addition to their regular diploma. The recipients were honored before the faculty, staff and governing board of the Nogales Unified School District at the district’s Welcome Back ceremony held on Aug. 2.

Jennifer Valenzuela, honors coordinator at NHS said the IB graduates successfully completed a 4,000-word essay, a “Theory of Knowledge” class and more than 150 hours in community service projects, in addition to passing six exams.

“With the completion of the program, and with the addition of some AP courses, these students have earned financial aid and college credits and will enter universities with multiple advantages,” she said.

The eight students also earned a designation for a bilingual IB diploma, which means they successfully completed requirements in Spanish to earn them up to 16 college credits.

While a relatively small number of students fulfill all the requirements to earn the IB diploma, Valenzuela noted that large numbers of students take a class or more in the program to be prepared for college.

“Many students like to take this challenge, take the test, and get college credit,” she said. “This happens often in IB history, English and Spanish because these are the higher-level courses.”

The following snapshots are based on the narratives that were read as the eight 2019 diploma-earners and their parents were welcomed to the stage.

Nicole Rios Anaya

Rios Anaya’s formal education began at Kinder-Cri Cri Jardin de Niños and Nogales English School in Nogales, Sonora, then continued at Desert Shadows Middle School and NHS. Now she’ll attend Occidental College in California.

“I suffered, but I also learned and became passionate about many of the things my classes and teachers taught me,” she said.

She plans to major in biology and ultimately work to the benefit of the immunotherapy field and/or marine environment.

Francisco Javier Sauceda, Jr.

The valedictorian of the NHS Class of 2019, Sauceda’s educational track also included Coronado and Challenger elementary schools, and Desert Shadows Middle School.

His next stop: the University of Arizona, where he’ll major in anthropology. His goal is to travel around the globe to understand different cultural perspectives.

As for the IB program, he called it “an opportunity to learn what it means to be human through the different perspectives in history, language, science, mathematics and the arts.”

David Aguilera Garrobo

Aguilera Garrobo is set to study at the University of Arizona after having attended Mary L. Welty Elementary and Wade Carpenter Middle schools prior to NHS.

“In my two-year experience in the IB program I was able to complete rigorous courses that strengthened my intellectual curiosity and writing skills, as well as grow as a person by participating in community service and acquiring new values,” he said. 

His goals for the future are to earn an architecture degree, become licensed as an architect and practice in Arizona.

German Parra

“IB has allowed me to learn about different cultures and perspectives while challenging in a driven and self-motivated environment,” said Parra, a product of the Little Red School as well as NHS.

Parra traveled to China to study Chinese language and culture before starting his studies at University of Notre Dame, where he’ll major in computer engineering and minor in business.

His goal is to be able to give back to the community that gave him the resources and helped him reach his aspirations.

Edgar Hiram Tavera

After starting his education at Instituto Vanguardista Marcel in Mexico, Tavera went to Coronado Elementary and Desert Shadows Middle schools before reaching NHS.

“It was a long and difficult road, but I am glad I pushed through and got my diploma,” he said.

He’s now headed for the University of Arizona, with a long-term goal of becoming a doctor and helping the less fortunate.

Jesus Ernesto Robles

“IB to me means growth,” said Robles, the salutatorian of the NHS Class of 2019. “IB prepared me for the challenges that college will bring. It created an environment with driven students who I was fortunate enough to get close to throughout the two years.”

Also a product of Coronado Elementary and Desert Shadows Middle schools, Robles is now set to study computer engineering at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Jorge Andres Armenta

This candidate started his education at Instituto Andes de Los Mochis in Mexico, then came to Nogales to attend Lourdes Catholic Elementary and Middle schools.

“You know you’re in IB when you spend seven days a week at Starbucks,” the recent NHS graduate said.

He’ll attend Stanford University to major in management science and engineering and would ultimately like to complete a master’s in business administration.

Jason Angel Canizales Galaviz

Canizales Galaviz studied at Instituto Vanguardista Marcel in Mexico up to the sixth grade. Then he transferred to Coatimundi and then Wade Carpenter middle schools.

“In life there are no limits, only obstacles. It is our decision and determination to confront those obstacles and break the limits,” he said.

Canizales Galaviz will attend the University of Arizona with the goal of starting on the path toward a career in medicine.

(From a news release submitted by Kathy Scott of the Nogales Unified School District.)

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