IB Seniors Showcase Research, Extended Essays at Annual Expo


IB Coordinator Laurie Ainsworth (left) and Principal Billie-Jean Bensen (right) chat at the IB Extended Essay Expo. Seniors presented their two-year, 4,000 word Extended Essay projects which they must complete in order to receive an IB diploma. –Meklit Bekele

International Baccalaureate (IB) seniors presented their extended essays to parents and teachers at the Extended Essay Expo Nov. 21.

The IB program requires its diploma candidates to write a 4,000 word research essay on a scholarly subject. Students begin working on their essays junior year in Theory of Knowledge (TOK) classes and are required to meet with an advisor throughout the research process for guidance on their subject.

The Extended Essay Expo began with an introduction by IB coordinator Laurie Ainsworth and a musical performance by IB seniors Liyi Yi, Mitchell Rosenthall, Sydney Parker and Nicole Beiglarbeigi. Attendees then had the chance to talk to the IB students regarding their research and final product, the Extended Essays.

Because IB students choose their content area junior year, they are permitted to choose any IB subject as their topic even if it is not offered as a class at their school. IB senior April Velasco chose film as her essay focus.

“The IB program at RHS doesn’t offer [film] so we had to learn all the vocabulary we needed to use ourselves a�� It made the process of writing and researching challenging and interesting,” Velasco said.

However, many IB students selected topics from subjects they take in their daily schedules. IB senior Karen Kane chose English and discussed how dialects in literature enhance thematic characterization and development.

IB senior John Baldwin focused on biology and was required to support his research in an experiment for his extended essay. Baldwin studied whether the human eye could more easily perceive in dimly lit conditions.

If a grade of A or B is received on an extended essay, students may be exempt from an introductory course in college, depending on their essay topic.

“Although it took a lot of thorough research and time, I know I’m prepared for college because I know I’m going to have to write research papers in college a�� It’s also nice to know that my hard work can potentially exempt me from English 101,” Kane said.

Following the exhibition of essays, IB seniors Betsy Gorman, Kate Lipman and Nicole Beiglarbeigi presented the IB senior superlatives. The IB student community advocated to continue the superlatives, after agreeing to decrease the time to present each award.

One superlative was for senior Robert Hackman, who won the award for best-dressed.

“I was impressed by the students’ work and sophistication of the topics they wrote about. Also, it was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the students’ hard work,” Mary Jordan, mother of IB senior Sean Jordan, said.