Senior IB candidates look forward to celebration

Gift exchange provides a well deserved break

Johanna Kaplan

Every year, students who complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) program are tasked to write an “extended essay” which spans over a year-long process. To celebrate its completion, seniors have arranged a gift exchange; in true “secret Santa” fashion, students pick gifts for one another to deliver before the celebration. 

According to senior Leo Dworsky, Feb. 17 marks the celebration of their hard work.

“I am super excited because us (IB candidates) have been working on our extended essays for over a year, and we just finished them,” Dworsky said. “The fact that we can celebrate that with all (of us) and all the teachers and parents is just amazing.”

In previous years, the celebrations would’ve played out differently according to senior Elie Grassley. 

“Normally we have this whole (celebration) for extended essay where there’s food and our parents are invited and our supervisors, as well as the juniors for the extended essay. So, this is another fun thing to do with it all being online,” Grassley said.

Accommodating students during such a chaotic time is key, according to IB Diploma Coordinator Jenny Magdal. 

“Any way to make things a little more normal during a year of complete havoc is what it comes to,” Magdal said. “I’m excited that (the students) wanted to do something special for each other.” 

According to Dworsky, this gift exchange provides an opportunity to set aside all else and celebrate this accomplishment with each other.  

“Because everything is over Zoom and our lives are entrenched in it, the fact that we can make something fun out of it by doing this secret Santa can help us forget about what’s happening in our world,” Dworsky said. “ Just to take a moment and enjoy each other is really cool.” 

Magdal said completing these extended essays is no small task because the writing process is challenging and lengthy.

I’m excited that (the students) wanted to do something special for each other.

— Jenny Magdal

“The reason we want to celebrate is just because it’s not something that’s required of our high school. It’s something that is part of the IB (program) that is a huge accomplishment,” Magdal said. “To take a moment to recognize that, is really important.”