The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a rigorous, comprehensive and internationally standardized program of study, preparing 16-19 year old students around the world for success in the 21st century. The curriculum has been carefully designed to be not only rigorous, but also meaningful, balanced, conceptual and connected.

IB students learn to become independent, critical, logical thinkers while developing advanced global competencies and communication skills. In the 50 years since IB was founded it has grown to be offered in over 150 countries. The IB Diploma is recognized and respected by leading universities and colleges globally. It is one of the highest credentials attainable for high school students in the world. GNGHS is one of four schools in Maine which currently offer the IB Diploma program.

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CAS Coordinator

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IB Alumni Testimonials


Max Lambert
GNGHS Class of 2016
IB Diploma
College: Washington College Class of 2020
Major: Environmental Studies
Future Plans: Interested in Working with Environmental Conservation and Environmental Policy

Being an IB student at GNGHS gave me many skills which have served me well in my college life. These include the ability to conduct real research, manage my time among multiple assignments, and have sophisticated conservations on complicated topics. The skills I learned in IB certainly set me up to succeed in college. I was prepared for the difficult workload and intelligent discussions which are required to truly achieve. While my freshman peers needed to adjust their time management or mindset in order to get the grades they desired I had spent two years already doing that. Certainly, college requires further growth than simply what you can accomplish in high school, but the IB program instills in you experience which places you several steps ahead of your peers.

Most importantly for me, the IB program instilled a sense of adaptability. The ability to recognize issues when they arose and then adapt in response has helped me immensely in post-high school life. When I struggle in a class, I do not panic since I have faced difficult situations before. I examine what isn’t working in my approach and implement new, hopefully, more effective techniques. In addition, the adaptability I gained in the IB program has served me well outside the classroom. Through programs and internships, I have spent time in the nations of Belize, Guatemala, and Tanzania, where my ability to adapt to local customs, languages and large workloads has been incredibly useful. I credit at least a portion of these skills to my time in the IB program.

IB courses are difficult. They were the first truly challenging work I faced in my life. But life is about being challenged, and I do not think I would be where I am today if I had simply turned away and gone the easier path. The obstacles I have faced since high school have been difficult, and I am glad I had my GNGHS IB experience to prepare me for them.

Olivia Giles
GNGHS Class of 2016
IB diploma
College: Bowdoin College Class of 2020
Major: Government and Legal Studies Major
Future Plans: Immigration Lawyer or Public Lawyer that works with immigrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa

Despite that I only got one IB credit at Bowdoin, I feel that the IB diploma not only helped me get into an elite college but it helps me contend with the many students at Bowdoin who went to prestigious private schools. As my grades reflect, due to the skills I acquired while at GNGHS, I am able to read, write, and analyze information at an advanced level, which has been invaluable to my liberal arts education. In addition, the IB diploma requires a lot of work, and it taught me to be driven and self-motivated,
which has allowed me to keep up with my course work. Most importantly I developed a thirst for knowledge and I learned to value my education and always put my best effort into class whether it be doing my homework or participating in classroom discussions.
IB courses are a huge commitment, but having them on your college application helps you stand out and allows the school to compare you to students from schools they may have more information about. In addition, the final exams may seem daunting
when you first begin, however, if you keep up with the work and make sure to study thoroughly for each in-class exam, then the official IB exams are a simple review. Outside of your core classes, make sure to take advantage of both CAS and the EE, as they force you to find something you are passionate about which is a great speaking point on college essays and during interviews.
The IB Diploma is a world recognized program, and by participating in such a program, you stand out as a student who wants more than a basic textbook understanding of the world around you. I am so glad I was an IB student and I recommend that other
students take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

Sam Shampine
Class of 2016
GNG IB Diploma recipient
Currently studying at Boston University
Double major in Math & Economics

1.What skills did you learn as an IB student?

Time management. Before IB I had a completely different idea of what a “big” homework night meant. The workload of IB forced me to become a grand master of time management. I learned the power of lists. Lists for the week, lists for the day, hourly lists with things to be completed and checked off in thirty minute intervals. This is an essential skill for college, internships, and even everyday life, and I’m glad I leaned it in high school.

2.What is the value of an IB education?

First off, being an IB student gives you mad respect in college. I go to a pretty international school so all my friends know IB and think I’m a huge nerd for it, a compliment I am honored to receive. Second, an IB education develops you as a thinker. For me, education before IB was a lot of worksheets and developing yourself as a “parrot”, reciting information given to you that you then memorize with flashcards. An IB education gives you the opportunity to analyze and create your own ideas, whether it be about a moment in history or a piece of Islamic art. And in my opinion, parrots don’t change the world. People who can see a problem and have the confidence to trash methods that are consistently failing to develop new approaches are those who change the world, and as IB kids, that’s a pretty common goal of ours.

3. Did the IB program prepare you for the work of college?

Yes. While there are points in college that do require more hours of work than my years in IB, I was certainly prepared to handle that feeling of intense fear that arises, for example, the week before finals. Also, the writing that IB requires definitely prepares you for writing in college. I was able to handle my freshman year college writing seminars with confidence.

4. What should GNG students know about IB courses?

IB courses are unlike courses you’ve taken before. Something that surprised me is that a lot of IB projects are less about the outcome and more about how you got there. Where your thoughts I began, and how you led yourself from that initial idea to where you ended up. The ability to recognize this process and explain yourself is very applicable to college and I was lucky to develop this in high school.

5. Is there anything else you wanted to share regarding IB?

In college, I had a professor who hated flashcards. He wanted us to focus more on developing how we think and less on what we think. As an IB alumni that was perfect, that was what I had been groomed for. All those long nights in IB analyzing religious texts and thermodynamics had prepared me to handle the “whys” which is exactly what college expects from you. Additionally, IB completely changed my global perspective. The IB program gives you the opportunity to explore other cultures, languages and ways of life in an engaging way. Something I’ll always remember is sitting in IB World Religions video chatting with a classroom in Palestine, listening to their experiences, and sharing ours. That’s an opportunity that very few of my peers now received in high school.

Updated January 22, 2024