Park Center senior Katie Wang needed a challenge – something mentally stimulating in her high school experience.
So, she decided to work towards an International Baccalaureate diploma, rather than the standard high school diploma. She took 14 different exams and wrote extra essays in her strictly IB courses this spring in hopes of being awarded the diploma. She is one of five students at Park Center who took only IB courses.
“It’s challenging, but not impossible,” she said. “There’s moments that are really hard, but eventually you kind of get past that and you’re able to do it if you have the right mindset.”
Along with her aspirations for an IB diploma, Wang had no shortage of school activities to tend to during her time at Park Center. She w
as vice president of the Senior Class Cabinet, which plans school dances. She coordinated school blood drives. She was also captain of the soccer team. She’s part of the National Honor Society.
On top of all of this, she will graduate at the top of her class.
“Personally, I don’t like to be bored. I like having something to do all the time,” she said. “So even though [it was] a lot of homework and a lot of work and I always had something more to do, it was nice for me to have my day filled.”
“It was a lot of stress, but it was kind of a good thing, and I think it really prepared me for next year,” Wang added.
“She’s bright, she’s talented … she’s just a good kid,” said school counselor Mike Vecellio.
IB courses were rewarding, the lessons and content were varied and included a global perspective and were often hands-on, Wang said.
“My history class—we had to make advertisements and commercials regarding what we were learning, like propaganda for whatever war we were learning about,” she said.
After graduation, Wang will be attending Central College in Iowa, where she will play soccer and study biology and biochemistry. She’s considering a career in surgery.
She looks back fondly at the bonds she formed with other soccer players at Park Center.
“It’s kind of like another family,” she said. “We would have team dinners every day after practice and before a game … so we saw each other every single day.
“We were always together,” she added.
At times, it was difficult “juggling everything and feeling like you’re a person and not a robot that’s doing every task on demand,” Wang said. She’s looking forward to being able to pick her classes and have more flexibility, she added.
The decision to go to Central College was partly influenced by Wang’s desire to play soccer at the collegiate level, she said. The fit felt natural, she said.
“It’s so cliché, but you just kind of know. I didn’t believe anyone when they told me that.”
While Wang enjoyed high school, she said she is ready to move on to college.
“I’ll miss parts of it, but I think it’s kind of time to move on,” she said. “It’s been a good couple of years.”
Contact Kevin Miller at [email protected]