Testimonials from Eugene IHS Alumni

by Eugene International High School on

TESTIMONIALS FROM EUGENE IHS ALUMNI

CLASS OF 1987
Seth Blackshaw: “I was present at the creation of IHS, and am delighted to see that it has succeeded beyond my or anyone else’s wildest expectations. Keep up the great work everyone!”

CLASS OF 1989
[First 4-Year graduating class of Eugene International High School – started in 9th and had the opportunity to earn the IB Diploma when IHS became an IB school in 1987]
Colin Babb: “I was a member of South Eugene’s first complete IHS graduating class in 1989…   The DC area is a fantastic place for someone with an IB degree and I’ve become a complete East Coaster, but I do miss Oregon (hay fever season and the rain, not so much though).”

Natanya (Myers) Desai: “I was in the inaugural class of the IB and it has laid the foundation for what turned out to be a global career path. I still remember being faced with a blank map of the world and having to name all the countries – and I can still do most of them!  I received a full year at the UO for my IB certificate, so started one credit shy of being a sophomore at the Clark Honors College.”   

CLASS OF 1992
Courtney Leonard: “I have fond memories of all my teachers… The main things I valued about IB were the connections I made with other students, studying like crazy before all the exams.  IHS was a bright spot in high school, and because of my experience, I went on to major in international studies, French, and history…”

CLASS OF 1993
Kim Burkland:
“The quality of the education at IHS is on par with the nation’s top private schools.  The teachers and students at IHS serve as a testament that public education works and should serve as a model for the rest of the State of Oregon and the country.”

Brady Lahr: “IHS helped me understand the world more clearly and it has helped me with the international aspects of my business.”

Andrea Olson: “Because I took three IB exams (History, Literature, and Biology), I received a full semester of credit at American University.  I took this semester to study in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.  My time in Central America shifted my perspective on International Development and my own personal philosophy about how to create the change we wish to see in the world.”

CLASS OF 1994
Kellee Blanchard: “With the IB I was able to graduate from the honors college at the University of Oregon in three years instead of four, enabling me to open my first dance studio at the age of 21.  Having met many people over the last 20 years who went to schools from all over the United States I feel that IHS does a great job in preparing students to achieve their goals. It is not just the vast knowledge that is important but the time management skills, confidence, and perseverance that are the biggest assets gained from the strenuous academic program.”

Sharon Fendrich: “Wow, hard to know where to begin.  I didn’t attend Sheldon, I attended IHS!!!  I am forever a devotee of the curriculum and the teachers.  I want my daughter to attend an IHS and am currently seeking a Spanish Immersion program for her, to start in preschool.  My IB education really prepared me for college and helped me with placements.  The world would have seemed so small and foreign to me without IHS and Spanish Immersion.  I’m happy to help any students with international career/college/etc. questions.”

Peter Jewett: “I loved the strong community that IHS formed.  I am still in touch with a number of people.  From an education standpoint, IHS challenged me to look at the world as one unit.  It initiated a desire to travel and know a bigger world which has driven my travel and career choices.”

Tayan-Lin (Rathje) Butler: “IB diploma…I skipped a year in college…but used it up studying abroad.”

Dayna (Ruhoff) Linderman: “Between being part of IHS and traveling internationally, my point of view on life was different from those I encountered in college. It helped me look beyond the things within my grasp to a broader picture. I even forced my boyfriend (now husband) to travel internationally on his own, knowing that if he was going to truly understand me, he had to have that broader perspective. Thanks IHS!”

Heidi (Stout) Tretheway: “I think IHS is an exceptional program to raise the bar for high school education.  I developed writing and composition skills that helped me in college tremendously.  The global breadth of the program has served me well both in travel and study abroad, and also in an international company with 254 offices in 51 countries.  It helps me have a broader perspective when working with professionals outside North America, and I think it has made me a more adventurous person—from appreciating a wider variety of literature to being willing to try unique food.”

CLASS OF 1995
Kristen Faust: “Technically, I probably owe my current job to IB. It is not a well-known program in NJ, and
the administrators and superintendent who interviewed me were shocked when I said I’d not only heard of the
program, but graduated from an IB school. I spent the past 5 years helping build the IB program in our school, which I could not have done without the knowledge and skills I gained from the program. My knowledge about the program itself, how colleges recognize the courses and exams, as well as the communication skills learned, and my conviction that it is a valuable program with benefits that far outreach the college credits and knowledge that I gained, helped me convince my school community that IB was the right program for us. In our second year as an IB school, 89% of our graduating class earned an IB diploma. I couldn’t be prouder. On a more holistic level, IB prepared me for our global society and gave me perspective and confidence in my abilities and responsibilities as a member of this society.”

Brian O’Kelley: “I started my career as an internet entrepreneur at IHS, and can’t believe it’s been 20 years since I launched my first web site from a computer in the IHS office at South Eugene (and then was almost kicked out of school for doing so).”

Christina Heid: “I feel very lucky that I was able to attend a public international high school. I received an amazing education and it prepared me for my undergraduate and graduate school experiences. My education at IHS really helped me for my future career path, although I didn’t know it at the time!  People I meet in DC and from other countries are always impressed with my international-focused education in high school.”

Nicole Speulda: “I loved my IHS experience… I particularly remember some of the best teachers, Ron Lancaster to name one. I also appreciated the breadth of knowledge it allowed me to acquire regarding world history. I felt much more prepared than my fellow university students. The curriculum was such that I was inspired to attend George Washington University’s Elliott School for International Affairs. Thanks IHS!”

Bronwyn (Wenger) Brestle: “All was outstanding!  My IB experience allowed me a semester off my junior year to work and earn money to complete my Middlebury education.  IHS holds some of my best memories about high school for sure!”

CLASS OF 1996
Tiffany (Cragun) Goff: “Mostly I remember teachers for the kindness and interest they showed in me… I also remember going to Washington, D.C. on the Close-Up program that is intended to give students a glimpse into the workings of our government.  That experience taught me two things.  First, that I never want to live in D.C.  Second, that there are many ways to serve my country.  ‘Acting patriotic’ is very seldom the best service I could give.  I’ve been trying to act on that conviction ever since.”

Kirsten Harma: “I’ll always remember my IHS experience and especially creative learning experiences like Meeting of the Minds and the Theory of Knowledge rafting trip!  I must stay that my IHS classes were more challenging than some of my college courses!   They certainly prepared me for college and primed my interest in international affairs, perhaps inspiring my interest in combining international work into my work on environmental issues.”

Robin Harris: “IHS was so wonderful.  I would do it all over again!”

Renee (Purdy) McKenna: “When I look back now as an educator myself, I realize what an amazing public school education I was afforded. IHS taught me to think globally and critically. Not to mention, I met some incredible life-long friends along the way.”

Hanna Scholz: “There are many things I appreciate about my IHS education.  The world perspective and conversations as well as the small school within the large South Eugene were very influential to me.  The three week trip to Tanzania, Africa junior year was also an extremely important event in my high school life.”

Sarah (Withrow) King: “Nothing prepares you better for success than Eugene IHS!”

CLASS OF 1997
Michelle (Cairney) Schierer : “Loved Eugene IHS, feel I received a superb high school education.  I am always telling people about the Eugene IHS program and how great it is, and how other schools should model their programs after Eugene IHS. I had an incredible high school experience because of Eugene IHS and Spanish Immersion.  I entered college with a leg up academically, and an open mind about the world around me.”

Justin Forster: “I always knew I was getting a quality education in the IHS/Spanish Immersion program, but not having anything to compare it to I couldn’t appreciate how good it really was.  It was while tutoring kids who were struggling in the overcrowded San Francisco public school system that I became aware of how incredibly fortunate I was to have been able to attend IHS.  I would like to thank IHS 1994-1997 teachers.  Their superior skill, dedication, and caring made a difference in my life.  Thank you.”

Kathryn Gaines:  “IHS prepared me to exceed expectations and accomplish my dreams. IHS gave me a wonderful education.”

Sarah (Gross) Gradis: “I received the IB diploma in 1997. A lot of hard work went into that diploma and I learned a lot about my ability to study and push myself academically. Academics did not come especially easy for me so I really worked hard in high school. I learned how I learn! And this has been invaluable for me in life. I was pushed and challenged in critical thinking and I found I could accomplish whatever I wanted if I just put enough effort into it.”

Marian Hart: “IHS contributed significantly to the well-rounded person I am constantly striving to be.  Thank you.”

Joe Lowry: “I think that IHS was great in getting me ready for school.  I learned a lot there and still apply it today.”

Krista (Robinson) Reiman: “I have many fond memories of IHS, especially of Leslie Skelton.  What a fantastic teacher!”

Erin Vranas: “I first heard the term global citizen as a freshman in IHS.  It made me think…and I haven’t stopped!  The effort to educate youth from and towards an international, humanitarian perspective is, to me, critical to our future as a planet…and entertaining in the present.  I’ll never forget IHS-learning all the countries in Africa before memorizing the 50 states!!”

CLASS OF 1998
Hunt Allcott: “IB (and AP) credits sped up my undergrad career and allowed me to finish a BA and MA within four years.  Coming into Stanford, I remember feeling that our preparation…put us on par with classmates from prestigious private high schools….”

Kate Bonamici: “Still enjoy using my French Immersion skills, and still hoping to live overseas one day.”

Dara Finkelstein:  “The world view I gained at IHS has been useful in dealing with international clients on a day-to-day basis.  While I hated Shoup’s world geography and having to memorize where every country in the world was, it is also very helpful to be able to find countries like Djibouti on a map without searching!”

Jake Klonoski: “…No one could have been better prepared for college than this 1998 graduate of the South Eugene International High School.  My worries about the adequacy of my education began to evaporate when the entire School of Foreign Service freshmen class joined in what is traditionally a practice of mass failure.  Each student is presented with a map of the modern political world and is asked to essentially identify everything on it.  As I watched other students throw down their pencils and give up, I reached back to the high school classes taught by Robert Veeck, Ron Lancaster and Howard Yank and was able to press on, identifying the participants in the Soccer War, the rivers of Central Africa and the island nations of the Pacific.  In my class of more than 800, five students passed.  Thanks to my former teachers’ hard work, I was one of them….  I was an IB candidate and the hard-nosed dedication and focus I learned at South IHS for the IB set my trajectory for the decade and a half since – through school in DC and work on Capitol Hill, through military service underseas and in war zones, and in the rigor of Stanford Law and the US Attorney’s Office.  I still use the same study techniques I was taught during the IB prep sessions.  Thank you IHS!  The service, sweat, and dedication you all provide to students is amazing and has seen me around the world and back again and to the height of academic and professional successes, while at the same time reminding me of my responsibility to serve others. My IHS experience and the IB has opened so many doors for me I have lost track – stick with it, it pays off big!!!”

Navid Moshtael: “IHS was such an important part of my education and played a large part in my development as a world citizen.”

A. Claire (Payne) Okeke: “I attended middle school in Nairobi, Kenya, so Eugene IHS helped me in my transition to the United States. My school in Nairobi had MUN, so I was delighted to find that Eugene IHS had MUN also.  I loved each one of my Eugene IHS classes.  I took several IB exams.  Eugene IHS helped me feel challenged and excel in school as a teenager, and it helped me with my international career.”

Marie Sweeten: “At the time, Shoup’s Global Geography class often seemed like pure torture.  Now that I look back though, I am so grateful for the skills and discipline I learned in that class, as they proved to be invaluable throughout college and still today in my career.”

Justin Volmert: “Loved it [IHS]!  IB was great-plus it got me a lot of college credit.  Senior thesis was a really important experience.”

CLASS OF 1999
Loic Fabricant: “The IB diploma gave me excellent preparation for my graduate and medical educations.”

Carolyn (Frosaker) Williams: “IHS helped foster my love of travel and my desire to see the world. It also helped me understand that knowledge of the world, especially first-hand, would help me become a better teacher and a better citizen.”

Katrina (Hecht) Henry:  “IHS was a great experience.  I enjoyed the challenge and it helped me to take ownership of my education.  It prepared me for college and taught me to think about things from other perspectives.  I feel proud to have been a part of International High School.”

Melinda (Mindy) Dalcour Jones: “IHS provided me with a well-rounded education that more than adequately prepared me for college as well as the ability to see life from a different perspective. I have an appreciation for different cultures and peoples of the world. In 1995, I had the privilege of traveling to Australia for the IB Conference with some other IHS students. It was an amazing, eye-opening experience. A couple years later,
I traveled to Japan as an exchange student. Both of these international experiences and IHS have shaped the way I view the world today. In the future, I plan to travel to other countries on short term mission trips as a nurse.”

Ryan Lamb:  “The IB placed me at a quantifiable advantage in college and beyond. It honed my writing, forced me to adopt effective study habits and provided a unique, nuanced approach to problems and issues that has continually informed my work product.”

Lisa (Miller) Stroup: “We studied all the countries and capitals of the world, debated global issues as representatives of different countries in a conference…read…stories from around the world, studied world religions, wrote many papers, performed plays…and researched our senior project. IHS prepared me for college in many ways – the writing, speaking, and research made college so much easier. I sailed through while I watched others struggle with things I had done in high school. I didn’t do IB, but the regular workload was enough that it prepared me for college courses and standards. Not only was I ready for college, but I felt ready to travel the world as a global citizen. I think the global perspective prepared me for living in Latin countries and gave me an appreciation for other cultures. It was an invaluable experience I have appreciated continually since graduation… The global focus in history and literature helped me to see a bigger world beyond Oregon.  I have great friends for life from IHS and still enjoy seeing former teachers like Mr. Hamill, Mrs. Jagger, Mr. Sutton, Mr. Smith and others in Eugene when I visit…”

Jennifer (Miner) Weaver:  “My IB experience was phenomenal, and I will always tell people this! It laid the foundation for a successful transition at the UofO Honors College, which in turn led to successful transitions into a doctoral program and to the current academic position I now have… The IB experience was a wonderful preparation for the pace and intensity of college life. IHS has served me well in so many ways!  In speaking to friends over the years who did not attend IHS, I’ve really realized how unusual and special IHS is in its training. I especially appreciated the wide array of literature we read and the exposure we got to other cultures. Thank you IHS! It is a rare opportunity to have such a great high school as part of a public curriculum, and I’m so glad I was able to attend.”

Gillian Schauer: “IHS was a wonderful preparation for college and for life.  The IB test provided me with advance credits at Northwestern University, allowing me to graduate a quarter early.  The focus on international awareness has served me well throughout my professional career, allowing me to better relate to a wide array of customers, colleagues and peers.”

Kelly Vranas: “My IHS experience really prepared me for college…. Because of IHS, I have developed a love of literature, humanities and the arts…making me a more well-rounded person and future doctor.”

Brian Wilkinson: “I was a full IB candidate and I appreciated not only receiving college credit as a freshman but also the fact that many colleges and universities recognized my distinction among my peers. The IB program is worthwhile for the purposes of preparation for college (especially in simulating ‘finals week’), and promotes tenacious learning for a future in academia.”

CLASS OF 2000
Sam Boush: “I would not have done as well at OSU if not for the IB’s and IHS.  Thank you!”

Emily Hamblen: “The IB program gave me a running start for college.  Many of my classes at IHS were more difficult than many college classes.  I am very appreciative of the faculty and friends that I met who helped me become the person I am today.”

Melanie (Jahnke) Manning: “I think that the best part of IHS was the encouragement of well-rounded students and of higher achievement in education.  IB got me some credits and was worth it.  I didn’t have to take credits in college that were way beneath me as an IHS student, with years of experience already under my belt in certain subjects.”

Ashley Marks: “…I felt the IB education prepared me well for college—it even got me some college credit.  IHS definitely set the foundation for my future studies and my future career.”

Shanti Michaels: “The IHS experience was great college prep; engaged students, caring and engaging teachers, challenging but thrilling…built camaraderie to do diploma program with other candidates.  The IB diploma got me one year off of college saving me about $37,000.”

McKenna Morrigan: “…Throughout college, I appreciated the thoroughness of my college preparation, particularly through the IB program, and pleasantly noted that the rigor and depth of my high school coursework had contended with that of the expensive, private prep schools of the Northeast…IHS is a shining example of a public education system that provides all students an opportunity to expand their minds and explore their own talents…”

Blake Slonecker: “Eugene IHS first taught me how to think critically and to act compassionately.  My career move into History is also directly related to the pleasure I had in leaning History from Ron Lancaster.  My research is not in an international field, but my thinking has been shaped by my IHS (and Spanish Immersion) experience.”

Alison (Stark) Leiman: “Looking back on my experience with IHS I now realize how important it was in shaping my comprehensive understanding of the world around me.  I credit the program with teaching me to love learning and my subsequent success in college and graduate school.  I felt that I started college ahead of my freshman peers in terms of my writing abilities and time management skills.  Plus, it made me really good at Jeopardy.”

Nate Sutton: “Combined with AP, IB provided me with ALL my prerequisite credits for the BA and the Honors college, not to mention essential testing and writing skills.  I have great memories of IHS teachers, class camaraderie, assemblies, and graduation.”

Anna Tabet: “I think doing the IB was great and made my freshmen year much more manageable.”

Amy Temes Clifton: “IB exams prepared me for all those college finals-well worth it.  I’m so glad I was a part of the IB.  IHS made me realize how important it is to be well rounded and aware internationally, whatever your career or passion may be.”

Sara Ventura: “Everything about IHS paid off for me.  It served as a great foundation for me heading into college.”

CLASS OF 2001
Cassandra (Aanderud) Thonstad: “Being an IB Diploma recipient enabled me to skip an entire year of college at the U of O.  That saved me time, money, and gave me the opportunity to study abroad for my Masters degree. I also found college to be a less stressful opportunity due to the rigor of courses through IHS and the IB programs  What a blessing!!  In terms of fond memories, I enjoyed being with a consistent group of friends for almost all four years.  And who can forget Sophie’s World, Stavrianos, TOK, and Mr. Lancaster’s impersonations?”

Sarah Bliss: “IHS really helped me explore the world and realize there are amazing things outside the U.S. borders.  I am very thankful to have been exposed to an international perspective long before college.”

Lindsey Carlson: “The IHS program served me well in preparing me for college.  I am grateful for the experiences that I was able to have because of the program and consider it a very valuable asset to my education.  As a recipient of two IB Certificates, I can say that, while they have not given me any notable gains, the respect that is offered to one who has had an international education is remarkable and opens doors that might otherwise be closed to someone as young as myself.”

Allison (Carnahan) O’Sullivan: “So many times I have been thankful for the education I received through IHS, both the academic preparation it gave me, but also that it helped develop my open-minded, global outlook.  The projects, activities, group-work, it all taught specifics about literature, geography and history, but more than that it taught us how to be life-long learners and to critically think about information given to us.”

William Clayton: “…it was a strong program that gave us good preparation for college largely because of its pervasive writing component…I found the exposure to world history, culture, philosophy, and religion to be a great asset as I’ve moved through the world….  The topic of my extended essay…is still a topic that is very dear to my heart. So I would like to thank IHS for ‘forcing’ me to actually delve deeply into a topic such as that.”

Jennifer Davis: “IHS provided a great foundation for critical thinking and a global perspective. I was a full IB candidate, however I did not pass one section of the test so I did not receive the diploma. I did receive college credit for various IB test scores but the credit was not as important as the experience that prepared me for college and more.”

Benjamin Farkas: “IHS is the reason I decided to pursue the International Studies degree.”

Amy (Farris) Baker: “I learned a lot in IHS about school and people.  I really believe it is a very beneficial program to go through. Whenever I think back to high school I remember how much fun I had in IHS.  All the great teachers did such a great job of integrating fun into their subjects.  It helps so much with remembering what they were trying to teach us! I really enjoyed my time in IHS. I felt like I had a lot more freedom to express myself and be creative because of the program.”

Kevin Lee: “Being part of the IB program helped prepare me for college and gave me an advantage over other applicants. At visitation to Gonzaga, they read my profile as an example of high caliber applicants based partly on my involvement in an ‘extensive IB program’. Thank you for a great experience.”

Sarah McCaffrey: “I’ll always remember the care and affection of my IHS teachers, embodied in Ms. Cooper’s Friday farewell:  ‘Have a good weekend and BE SAFE.’”

Sharma Rapoport: “As I went through my college years, I realized the privilege of such a high school education…. The rigor of the IB diploma senior year gave me a passion for intellectual scholarship, and furthered my love of learning….  The credit I received from those tests allowed me to graduate one year early…. I look back on my IHS years with many fond memories.  Mostly I remember the teachers….  College professors never met even a fraction of the teaching skill and care of the IHS teachers I was so privileged to have known…”

Lindsay Schauer: “I loved IHS.  My teachers there inspired me to travel.  I want to be an IHS English teacher.  I did the full IB and, although I did not get much college credit for it, I am glad I participated.”

Kate Stephenson: “The IB diploma gave me the opportunity to graduate six months early, saved my parents thousands of dollars, and I even still remember a few things about warm water ports and guns and butter.”

Sara Votipka: “All my memories of IHS are fond; mostly the friendships and dedication from teachers and also other students.”

Rebecca Williams: “I am very grateful for the broad background afforded to me by Eugene IHS.  The education I received prepared me well to be successful in college and beyond.  With my IB and other college credits earned during high school, I started college at Oregon State University as a junior with many of my baccalaureate core course requirements completed.  Also, my IB senior project led to a research position in genetics at the University of Oregon the summer after I graduated from high school.  The work I started for my IHS senior project went on to be published in proceeding from the National Academy of Sciences.  Thank you IHS for the great start!”

Diana Woodworth: “I often think about how grateful I am of my IHS education.  I remember the freshmen weekly vocabulary quizzes.  To this day there are several words and idioms in my vocabulary that I can attribute to that year…I remember learning the names and locations of all the countries of the world, learning about the values and beliefs of other cultures and countries…and so much more.  When I arrived at college, I actually found the workload easier than in high school because IHS had prepared me so well for college level coursework.  I can still remember my Writing 101 teacher telling me that my writing skills were one of the few that met college standards…”

CLASS OF 2002
Cara Abrams-Simonton: “I have such wonderful memories of my IHS classes-the interesting people I met and grew to know so well.  Senior year was especially great.  I loved History and Theory of Knowledge.  I actually felt I learned a lot of things that I actually use and think about today.  I am very thankful for my IHS education. I continue to reflect fondly on my experiences in Eugene IHS and with the IB certificate. I developed passions for literature, travel, languages, the arts, religion and history that continue to this day.”

Margaret Albright: “IHS was very helpful when entering the college atmosphere.  I felt very prepared and didn’t seem to stress as much as some of my other peers.”

Elizabeth Allcott: “Though I received the IB diploma, it unfortunately didn’t earn me any credit at Cornell.  The education, however, was invaluable.  Many thanks to the talented and dedicated teaching staff at IHS!”

Corey Barber: “IHS inspired me to pursue international education and gave me a stronger high school background than many of my peers in college. I recently impressed my boss with the fact that we read parts of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the US in Eugene IHS.  Thanks Eugene IHS for exposing me to an international take on traditional high school classes and exposing me to different ways of looking at the world.”

Sky Brandt: “IHS was a great opportunity and it set the stage for my academic work in college and graduate school. One of my brothers just entered the program at South and I made a point of warning him about coloring between the lines in geography class, although, we didn’t have Google Earth back then.”

Samantha (Evans) Rayack: “I had a great time in Eugene IHS. The close-knit community learning style really worked for me, and I still have great friends I made in IHS. I always liked the map coloring in 9th grade geography.”

Jacque Leigh Fitzgerald: “I attribute most of my ambitions, need to travel, love of knowledge and education, and fond memories of my formative high school years to IHS.  My senior year in Mr. Knox’s Theory of Knowledge class showed me how a group of seemingly incompatible people can merge together under a general understanding that we are all students and will always be students.  I developed friendships with people that I still keep in touch with and continue to value their opinions and different perspectives.  Not only that, but the rafting trip on the Upper K rocked!!!!  My friends and I still talk about how important IHS was to our development and how we see the world.  It’s inspired me to want to teach in a high school that has adopted the IB program.  IHS was invaluable to me, and I think that all students deserve to have a similarly profound high school experience.”

Emily (Gilkey) Palmer:  “I loved IHS.  It was awesome to have a group of smart well-informed friends.  Between my IB and AP credits I started college with 76 credits—almost junior status; so I saved a lot of time and money…which allowed me to graduate with a double major in less than three years.”

Emily Mosqueda: “IB served me in these ways: excellent education and preparation for a university honors college; 24 credits entering my first year (2 certificate tests); and gave me an opportunity to share my IB experience with potential IB students in Buenos Aires, Aregentina.”

Jennifer (Ouimet) Yeager: “IHS taught me to think outside the box, push myself to find subjects that interest me, and to gather knowledge and information that helped me achieve my personal and professional goals.”

Cara Simonton: “At my university I have met many international students who did the IB and they think it’s so incredible that I did the same in Oregon.”

Joshua Walker: “Law school was my first experience with private education.  After 16 years of attending public schools in Eugene, I suddenly found myself surrounded by colleagues whose well-intentioned parents had paid $25,000 a year for them to attend preschool, and whose education only got more expensive from there.  What was remarkable to me was that, without ever sending a bill, the concrete halls of IHS had provided a better educational foundation and a more comprehensive worldview than the marble columns of East-coast boarding schools had provided my monied friends.  This stunning achievement in education taking place every day at the hands of teachers so many of us took for granted in our teens is something I will be eternally grateful for.”

CLASS OF 2003
Corey Chavez: “After graduating from IHS, I felt extremely well-prepared for college.  The quality of IHS classes is comparable to many college courses.  I remember reading Sophie’s World, The Good Earth, The Scarlet Letter, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  I also remember a great lecture by history teacher Ron Lancaster concerning 19th  century Russia’s need for warm water ports!”

Diana Carolina Delgado: “It was amazing how many credits I obtained in college from obtaining the IB diploma.  Almost all of my Baccore credit was taken care of, that saved me a lot of time and money.”

Jessica Duggan: “The education I received as part of IHS, continues to serve me on a daily basis! Teaching at an IB school, I am constantly reminded of how fantastic the program is and I am excited to be able to share that experience with kids on a daily basis!”

Courtney Dunham: “IB gave me a few college credits (I only took 3 exams) and I do believe it prepared me for college….  I feel all IHS classes prepared me for the types of lecture and learning that I am experiencing here at UPS.”

Leslie Dunham: “…I remember all the little things that make IHS so unique, including Danish Rounders, the Eurasian Conference, the senior paper, all the great teachers, and 7:28 am class! Good times!”

Grace Eickmeyer: “I remember 10th grade Global History class fondly. We hauled around a heavy book, affectionately called “Stavi,” and learned about, among other things, the explorations of Chinese diplomat Zheng He. Interestingly enough, Zheng He has come up several times during my Peace Corps service here in Ukraine. Most notably, a Crimean Tatar (if you don’t know who these people are, I encourage you to find out, you insatiably curious international high school students) man related to me, in Russian, how he had recently read in a magazine about the Chinese forays into the world in the late 14th and early 15th centuries with their innovative ship design. I immediately realized he was talking about Zheng He. We had a minor disagreement about the main explorer and diplomat’s name and he went upstairs and came back with the magazine. He was in awe that I had been correct and I told him that I was fortunate enough to learn about such things in high school. Thus ensued a discussion about the quality of our respective educational systems. Moral of the story: pay attention in Global History class and try hard to learn a foreign language during your required four years. You may have interesting conversations about what you learned in high school on the other side of the world. IHS helped me cultivate my intellectual curiosity. In speaking with my friends who did not attend IHS, I realize how lucky I was to have such a rigorous, stimulating high school education. IHS put me on the path I am today, continuously exploring, questioning, and wondering about the world. I remember when IHS was reevaluating its mission statement. At the time, I found it a bit trite and did not fully appreciate its meaning. Now, I truly feel like I am a global citizen and I owe a debt of gratitude to IHS for giving me my start in becoming one.”

Michelle Li: “My IB diploma really provided a lot of good knowledge and content that was very useful in my college courses.”

Raili Marks: “IHS prepared me for college in a way few other high school experiences could have, as well as nurtured my strong desire to see and experience the world outside the U.S.”

Joseph McCaffrey: “I have nothing but incredible memories from IHS: volunteering at Food for Lane County (and helping build a sprinkler system for their community garden), attending Courtney Leonard and Ron Lancaster’s dynamic history lectures, learning how to think philosophically from Marilyn Curtis and Dan Gallo, eating several cookies in front of Jim Holm’s class to demonstrate the concept of “diminishing returns,” learning to write creatively and analyze literature from Melodie Soczek and Rebecca Hammons, and many, many more. IHS, and my IB diploma, prepared me extremely well for my college studies: while others struggled during their first semester at Colorado College, my advisor asked me if I was ‘being challenged enough’ since IHS made the transition to college life so smooth!”

Erin Noble: “My teachers exposed me to the realities and possibilities of the world… The most important thing I came way with from all of this? Curiosity. Reading Siddhartha changed the way I view the world. I read it to this day. Grinding away my IB Diploma while (seemingly) everyone else was enjoying their senioritis helped me manage my college coursework.”

Lindsey Petrushkin: “I had a wonderful experience in IHS. I believe had it not been for IHS I wouldn’t have traveled and lived abroad. I felt more than prepared for college and decided to become a teacher because of the impact my IHS teachers had on me. The teachers in IHS were more than teachers, they were mentors in life. I kept in touch with a few after high school and into my college years. They cared for students as people and treated them as such. IHS helped me form an understanding of the world and the different people in my own while guiding me to see the big picture in life.”

Lauren Snow: “IHS was good preparation for college – particularly writing.”

Jamie Suter: “Throughout my travels and advanced education, I have come to realize how much participating in the International High School program has helped me.  I feel that I was more prepared to work with international students, classmates and co-workers as a result.  Also, as I study more about teaching English as a second language, I find that I have greater understanding of the material as a result of the work that I did within the IHS program.  I felt more capable and eager to travel abroad because of the knowledge I gained from my high school classes.  I can remember when I was in high school and we would learn about other countries and cultures through literature and religious ideas.  The geography and economy classes taught me about the world, but the values and literature classes taught me about the people.  We were able to gain a deeper understanding about ourselves and others.  As a result, I have become very internationally involved and many more opportunities have opened themselves up to me.  I feel lucky to have gotten the opportunity to learn so much about other countries early on in my education.”

CLASS OF 2004
Lisa Allen: “IHS prepared me for the work load in college and I will always remember the great group of students I got to know so well over those four years.”

Nikos Aragon-Herbert: “My IB education has served me well at Clark Honors College.  The exams and essays are very similar to those we wrote in IHS and my teachers definitely laid a strong foundation for college.  IB and IHS create an environment in which one hardly realizes one is learning until, faced with daunting college essays, the lessons kick in, and writing is no longer difficult, but fun instead. I always think upon my Eugene IHS experience fondly, especially in the fall.  I remember my first few days and weeks as a Eugene IHS student – the papers we had to write, the discussions we had in class.  And I always remember how many wonderful friends I met during my four years.  It consistently amazes me to think that as a freshman I met about 80-100 new students, most of whom have in the passing years become incredibly successful, innovative people in a myriad of fields.  I am always impressed to learn what my classmates are doing.  To think that so many people all came from the same school in the same year is very remarkable.  It certainly was a special group and I feel very lucky to have been a part of it.  I’m so glad you guys do this.  It’s fantastic!  Stay well!  Greetings from Spain!”

Christopher Barnes: “I loved the global focus of my high school education. It helped me have a more open perspective to what exists outside of Eugene, Oregon. When I lived in France and in China, I was more open to new experiences and to the history of the countries than my colleagues. My IHS education just accentuated the point that the more you learn, the more you realize you need to learn. I felt this in high school and I certainly have felt this at BYU, in France and in China. Eugene IHS taught me how to work hard and get my work done. It also opened up my eyes to international events and opportunities (both historical and current).”

Sean Chappell: “As an IB diploma student I didn’t come to appreciate the importance of all that work until college.  It more than pays off…allowing a much lighter course load, being better prepared in nearly every academic sense for undergraduate work and having the confidence and knowledge that ‘you’ve been through harder work than this’… many GE requirements were waived due to the diploma. It allowed me to easily pursue a second major while still taking a handful of elective courses for fun.”

Robert Coolman: “For myself and many others IHS was much more than just a quality education. It was a social network, a think-tank and a skill-building forum. Together we learned what it meant to see ourselves as global citizens, part of larger framework, while honoring the value of our local communities. The critical thinking skills I acquired have been invaluable in my academic and professional life, as I’m sure they have been for other alumni. My experience in IHS was overwhelmingly positive and I’m continually grateful for the dedicated teachers and staff that contributed so much to the educational foundation I draw on every day. My physics professor was impressed by my senior project and cited it in a 300 level lecture.  Fifteen credits from IB chemistry saved me a lot of time and money… Years after getting C’s in history, I find myself suddenly interested in how things used to be affects the world of today.  Wikipedia is nice, but IHS it ain’t.  Some advice to students:  get as much of learning in IHS as you can.  It’s a special place with special perspectives that you won’t find anywhere else.  IB pretty much represents the caliber expected to excel in a well-rounded academic setting.  It sure doesn’t hurt to get exposed to that as early as high school.”

Rachel Dental: “Eugene IHS was a great experience for me.  It helped me greatly for college preparation.  The full IB diploma allowed me to graduate college in three years and I have already started my career.  The teachers were all enthusiastic and very supportive of my goals.  Thanks for four great high school years!”

David Farmer: “I’m quite happy with the international curriculum, as I now understand what a number of people from other countries are talking about.  I also appreciate the hard work, as it prepared me in dealing with college.  IB allowed me to skip a few general university requirements and save money.”

Jacqueline Fitzgerald: “The program still fuels my passion for teaching and learning. I attribute much of my success as an educator to my experience as a student in IHS.”

Katherine Harrison: “That devilish senior paper really prepares you to write a college level research paper, and the Eugene IHS curriculum kindled an interest in the wider word that led me to major in International Relations at NYU.”

Holly Jackson: “I’ll remember IHS as the place where, when a teacher asked if anyone had any appropriate music to accompany a passionate art making session inspired by ‘Heart of Darkness,’ at least three students pulled African music out of their backpacks.”

Mollie Johnson: “IHS is a great program that prepared me very well for college academics.”

Jen Madeira: “All around IHS was a great experience.  It has really helped in college and I feel so ahead of the curve compared to most students.”

Scott Rauch: “IHS was a wonderful and cherished experience.  IB was the best choice I made during high school.  The credit I received from it eliminated the tedious general education requirements at the University of Oregon.”

Jenny Risley: “I felt like IHS was a ‘community of learners’.  It was a tight knit learning environment and helped me really enjoy learning.  I loved the international perspective that was taken in our learning.  I lovedmy IHS experience.  It has opened my eyes to the world!  IHS has honestly shaped me to be the person I am today…”

Nate Risley: “I really loved IHS and my experiences there have really enhanced my view on life and the world around me.  It was good stuff!”

Heidi Roberson: “I made friends in IHS that are still dear to my heart today, and the foundation it provided has served as the launching pad for my other academic achievements.”

Caitlin Adams Schauer: “In the process of writing my senior research essay, I made academic connections with professors at UCSD’s Scripps Oceanography Institute, which enabled me to more easily pursue internships and research opportunities that might otherwise have never existed.  IHS prepared me for college…I have yet to have a professor who compares to any of the IHS teaching staff, they are truly one of a kind. Eugene IHS was just the stepping off point for me in my education and motivation to constantly see what is out there in the world.  The Eugene IHS staff and professors I had way back in 2004 encouraged me to look beyond the traditional education and work opportunities that have come along and to seek new experiences that not only broaden my horizons but also open my world professionally and personally.  Thanks for planting the seed that has eventually, somehow lead to my current adventure!  I attended a National Science Foundation lecture on Frost Flowers in a laboratory science lecture in McMurdo, Antarctica and was reminded of my senior paper I wrote for Eugene IHS.  The constructive feedback and encouragement I received from Eugene IHS professors pushed me to write a senior paper that I really felt passionate about, and that is something that has stuck with me throughout my life.  It’s great to be reminded of those things we did so long ago and reflect on them with pride and a sense of accomplishment.”

Meredith Schwieger: “The group of students I went through my IHS experience with were some of the brightest and most interesting people I have known.  No doubt they are all experiencing great success!  I loved my TOK class; it is still the best class I have ever taken. Special thanks to Mrs. Soczek.”

Kelly Stephenson: “I have such happy memories of last-minute studying with friends in the Harvest Lane Church parking lot before IB tests senior year.  I love talking about IB curriculum with international students I have met abroad.”

Alan Stout: “The senior project totally prepared my writing for college essays… The values and beliefs component of IHS set me ahead of fellow students who had never had any experience or interaction with other cultures. This also set the stage for a passion for the study of how religions can have constructive dialogue and a mutual appreciation for each other while being true to their own traditions. Interesting fact: you can now get admission to medical school directly from high school if you score a 38 on your overall IB diploma. The IB was a great thing for me, and I don’t think I ever appreciated the fact that I might be living and WORKING abroad one day. To my mind, the most important class in all of IHS? Geography.”

Eric Trachtenberg: “IHS definitely helped prep me for a challenging curriculum in college. It was in this program that I first started practicing my time management skills and my ability to push myself and work hard. It was a very well rounded liberal arts program. Unfortunately, my full IB diploma did not earn me any college credits. My fondest memory of Eugene IHS has to be the segment of Steve Knox’s study of humor in his Theory of Knowledge class. There may have been a Star Trek reference, some bad jokes about books we were reading, followed by the funniest solo presentation known to man (which required leaving the room in laughter).  Shout out to Erik Stafl, Danny Patton, and Kevin Kahle on that one. We all still remember that day…”

Meagan Votipka: “I found my best friends in IHS.  We still keep in touch even though we are on many campuses.  No program could have better prepared me for college.  I love IHS.”

Lee White: “IB was a worthwhile experience because I got to learn how to work hard.  It was not the hardest I’ve had to work but it was a good preparation. IHS was the launching pad to base my interest in improving medicine around the world through engineering.”

CLASS OF 2005
Christopher Bradley: “My IHS experience was a springboard to international study, and now international living. I appreciated the global curriculum, which now serves me as I go forward with my studies and my life in Western Europe. I look back on my time in Eugene IHS with fond memories, and, given where I am now, I can’t help but be thankful that I had the opportunity to get started on the international road so early.

Carly Bradshaw: “…I feel truly lucky to be able to use what I spent 16 years learning in my daily life.  Living in another culture at first was slightly disorienting, but there are many pieces of literature, authors and ideologies which tie together the human experience across geopolitical borders.  For me, IHS laid a pluralistic ideological foundation.  We were exposed to literature from many different parts of the world, challenged by our teachers to find the connecting thread between cultures.  Not only did I enter college with a high level of writing organizational skills, but also I have been challenged to jump into new cultural experiences and to keep my eyes open to the world around me.  These seeds, planted by the IHS program and the dedicated teachers who make the program tick, prepared me to look past geopolitical borders and question my own personal barriers.  The program is truly unique.  As high schoolers the phrase “think global act local” seemed perhaps a bit cheesy.  But once you step foot out of your door and into the zone beyond your sphere of familiarity, it is clear that we really are part of a global community.”

Lara Colvin: “I cherish the friendship I’ve made from years of class bonding in IHS.”

Eric Faulk: “I suppose graduating from Reed is an accomplishment in itself, but I have nothing to brag about.  Eugene IHS always gave a much more nuanced perspective than the standard high school curriculum (or so I was led to believe by other people concurrently experiencing said curriculum).  I can’t say for certain that Eugene IHS led me to seek a job in the international sphere; it would be difficult to draw such a direct line of causation. But I can say that the correlation looks pretty good.  I can also say that the most important thing Eugene IHS gave to me was not the content of the classes, but the means and methods to think critically.”

Susan Garver: “IHS is where I first learned to think deeply about things, to think critically.  That skill has served me well in college and in other aspects of my life.  Also, the classes were fun!”

Scott Hickey: “I received credit at college for the English and history IB exams.”

Ingara Cristina James:“The IHS curriculum gave me strong writing skills that I have also used in college.  Also, a good well-rounded world education that other students didn’t receive in high school. I had to read Sophie’s World again for a class this year and I enjoyed it a lot more than I did in IHS. I finally understood why it was important to read it.”

 Sean Jin: “I still recall to this day how rigorous the senior project was.  It was truly a feat that prepared me for college and beyond, as there have been few things more in depth and intellectually challenging than that.  I feel like I left high school with a broader view of the world than most of my peers that I interacted with in college.  The general curriculum of internationally-focused books and course material expanded my comfort zone well beyond the United States.”

Sarah E. Johnson:  “I love IHS!  I completed the IB diploma, which I’m sure helped me get into the college of my dreams, and IHS classes definitely prepared me for the academic course load.  Remember, the answer is always the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo (1848).”

Rebecca Marcus: “I was an IB certificate candidate and two tests got me 32 college credits which covered the majority of my general education requirements.  I really enjoyed the Eurasian conference and my senior project.”

Matthew McGlade:  “I was well-prepared for college.”

Devin McManus: “Lots of great classes; very similar to the college experience.  I got the IB diploma, but didn’t get any credits from it.”

Saraphina Monaco: “[Eugene IHS] taught me how to time manage which is highly mandatory in the real world.  Shout out to David Wood and Jocelyn Harley; two teachers who I loved and hated while I was in Eugene HIS, and who taught me that I was capable of more than I imagined.”

Jessica Niles: “A blessed experience, what a wonderful opportunity that enriched my life greatly and helped me to begin the journey of cultural competency. I will always think fondly of my experience in Eugene IHS. The overall cultural and international perspective that was cultivated by the curriculum and the teachers is invaluable in today’s world.  I am so grateful for all of my teachers, their unique teaching styles and personalities, and how each of them impacted me to be a more informed, aware, and culturally competent individual.”

Sarah Pritchard: “Thanks to Mr. Holm, I am currently putting my economics knowledge to good use in Mt. Holyoke’s Socially Responsible Investment group.  I will never forget the time I spent at Eugene IHS sounding my barbaric yamp over the rooftop of Churchill High School, using the word ‘epistemology’ in everyday conversation, and proudly declaring ‘I can’t read!’ in history class.  My experience being an IB candidate prepared me well for my college courses (especially finals week) and also gave me some college credit.  Thank you IHS!”

Mercedes Rhoden-Feely: “I loved Eugene IHS and encourage any young adult to use it as a vehicle to pursue their dreams.  The teachers are brilliant, and believe in you and your success.  I received my IB diploma, and the hard work paid off for me because it got me into my first choice university, Queen’s University in Belfast.  Queen’s is a member of the Russel Group and afforded me the opportunity to work closely on my dissertation on critical discourse analysis with an expert on the subject, Paul Simpson.  Along the same course, I have met wonderful people and made lasting friendships.”

CLASS OF 2006
Allison Beard: “I remember IHS as being a wonderful transition to college. I think it was an excellent program to be involved in not only because it gave me a global perspective and an opportunity to travel, but also because it prepared me for things to come with great ease.”

Robin Carol: “IHS really impacted my interests and my studies in college. I left high school with a huge appreciation for not only international issues, but also for interdisciplinary eduation. Part of my rationale for choosing to major in International Relations definitely came from my interests that grew out of the IHS curriculum and style of education… My senior year was so amazing and the culmination of what I’d learned over the course of four years in the program. I still find myself thinking about things I learned in IHS during classes now and it gave me such a good base of knowledge for college, travel, and the rest of my life! I did the full IB diploma. While I only received credit for a few of the exams, this was because of my school’s policies and had I attended another college, I would have received additional credits. At any rate the IB/IHS really prepared me well for college. Having the senior paper under my belt made writing my first research paper seem much less daunting. I truly think that IHS shaped the course of my education, my interests, and my views on many issues… Eugene IHS was an amazing program for me and I’m glad it’s still going strong despite some of the budget challenges for public schools in Oregon right now.  It is a real testament to the passion of the teachers that they are willing to support this program despite large class sizes and limited resources. IHS is where I met some of my closest lifelong friends, but it’s also where I learned to care deeply about global issues and how to stay curious. Our IHS teachers didn’t underestimate us — they treated us like peers and expected a lot from us. Favorite memories: Journeys and the ‘Favorite Things’ project.”

Margaux Cameron: “My senior project definitely prepared me to write at the college level in a way that no other high school writing assignment did. IHS left me with a solid grounding in liberal arts and humanities that has helped me determine my interests in both academic and career fields.”

Danielle Hanson: “I was an IB certificate candidate, but just the couple tests I took gave me a full two terms worth of credit and a nice head start. I realize the writing we seemed to endlessly do made my transition to college writing so much easier.”

Kirsten (Johnson) Schultz : “When I think back to high school, the great majority of my favorite experiences have to do with IHS – the Eurasian Conference, reading Siddhartha and The Power of One, seeing The Reduced Shakespeare Company, watching some of the coolest teachers I’ve ever met play in a band together, learning about different cultures and religions and philosophies, and receiving my full IB diploma. Some of these things were challenging at the time, but in looking back they helped to shape how I see and approach the world – and have helped give me skills that I still use today – I may not be the president of South Korea, but having been so at the Eurasian Conference helped increase my speaking skills and reduce my stage fright… a little. The experience of getting my IB diploma is such a hard thing to put into words. The college credits I received from those tests actually allowed me to start college at the sophomore level, which was extra helpful when I changed majors and had satisfied many of the prerequisites before even arriving at Carroll. It also allowed me to get more used to taking big tests, which served me well through college. As I’ve started graduate school, my IB experience has really helped me to not feel as overwhelmed about some of the papers and tasks I have to complete, as it did during my undergraduate degree as well.”

Chris Keady: “IHS was hugely important in my life. It was a small community within Sheldon where I made a group of friends who are still in touch after almost 10 years. It was great preparation for college, both personally and academically. Though not a professional writer, I continue to get comments about my writing, and I credit that in part to the foundational work I did in IHS and on the IB diploma. Finally, I think the wide-ranging curriculum, while at times baffling to my high school self, has made me an intellectually curious person. This is increasingly important in these polarized and contentious times. Keep doing what you’re doing!”

Caitlin McKimmy: “When I reflect on the long-winding, international, beautiful path on which I’ve found myself, I appreciate so much how IHS allowed me to foster and cultivate such a passion and curiosity for the world.”

Katherine Parker: “I have never doubted the value and extreme utility of Eugene IHS in the preparation that I received for my undergraduate education… IHS challenged me in high school, expanded my thoughts, and developed a thought process which is compatible with the various obstacles which higher learning presents. I would not have missed IHS for the world and thank the powers-that-be everyday for the skills that IHS gave me; as well as the global awareness it provided me with…. As part of my institutional duties, I teach classes in the History Department. Most recently, I am teaching Western Civilization where we cover several centuries of content each week.  Recently my students learned about Classical Greece, so I used all the knowledge that Daniel Gallo imparted to my sophomore year Eugene IHS history course about Athens/Sparta. I was so thankful for the dedication that Gallo showed to our learning!  On another note, my IB curriculum still serves me well.  Many of the seminars have an Atlantic or World focus.  As we covered such a broad geographical area in our Eugene IHS studies, I am able to engage with many readings without extra research and am so thankful, still, for the opportunities that IB/Eugene IHS prepared me to face… I never could have guessed that my senior paper on the International Whaling Commission would connect so well with my current research on Pacific exploration in the early modern period. IHS taught me to be critical of empire and expansion, two fields that are now my specializations. IHS prepared me for the rigors of graduate study, as well as instilled in me an abiding interest in current events around the world which serves me well in teaching global history to undergraduates.”

CLASS OF 2007
Keegan Clements-Housser: “If there’s one thing Eugene IHS did, it was to completely and irreversibly enmesh me in the international community.  Once I graduated, I could never again think of myself as simply a United States citizen – the world is far too large to call only one nation my home. It also prepared me to be a world citizen, and to feel perfectly at ease amidst other people and their culture, and problems.  I think it really hit me while I was sitting in Belfast, looking out at the sheets of rain drenching Orange Parade Loyalists and debating how the Irish peace process could meaningfully move forward – I actually cared about these people.  Their struggles meant something to me, and I felt like, despite being just another Yank, what happened here would impact me no matter where I was. Because if there was one thing I learned in Eugene IHS, it’s that nothing – NOTHING – happens in isolation.  This was no different, and neither would be the struggles and stories of others I would meet in my future journeys.  As for the IB… go for it.  Aside from the sheer awesome factor of being able to commiserate with a random French IB student over the painful, painful process of the Final Project in an Irish pub, or debate the real meaning of the Heart of Darkness, it dramatically over prepares you for college – and this is a good thing.  If you can handle the IB program, you’ll likely coast through the first two years of college like they’re nothing.  I’d say that’s worth the extra work.  Eugene IHS was amazing.  Continue doing what you do so well, guys – and I’ll always be grateful for what you’ve done for me.”

Rose Comaduran: “…my IB education has certainly benefited me. I can have conversations with all sorts of people about many, many things. I had a fabulous discussion with a guy in Mexico about the Russian Revolution and the Bolsheviks, and afterwards he didn’t believe that I had learned all the stuff in high school… Also, the IB program gave me a strong base in Spanish, and introduced me to a range of literature which is coming in handy in my English classes. I am nothing but grateful for the education I received in IHS. My classes were wonderful. The classmates were remarkable. The hard work was worth it. IHS is very unique, and it took traveling around and meeting people with all sorts of different lives to truly realize that.”

Erin (Miller) Dumitru: “A challenging, internationally-focused high school experience is an amazing thing to take with you into college.  I am particularly thankful for the critical thinking skills I gained at Eugene HIS, and for the love of language and culture that was a part of almost every class.  I graduated with an IB diploma, and those college credits were great!  They allowed me to skip nearly all of the 300+ student lecture classes that are a part of Oregon State’s Baccalaureate Core.  It’s so much easier (and cheaper) to do well on IB tests than to retake the same material again in college.  The IB diploma also helped me get more scholarships and internships.”

Cody Schvaneveldt : “As a full IB candidate, my experience was invaluable and was a large contributing factor enabling me to complete two majors in three years at the University of Oregon. The rigorous academic curriculum made me uniquely prepared for the rigors of my undergraduate programs as well as my graduate work.  My experience in Eugene IHS instilled a passion for international affairs and an awareness of the global nature of our modern society which lead me to continue my internationally focused studies at the University of Oregon, and now is shaping my legal education at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law where I plan to work in the International Human Rights clinic.”

CLASS OF 2008
Kaya Aragon: “My IB experience prepared me very well for the Honors College. I found that I had already read many of the books discussed in my first classes so my transition into college was smoother.  Also the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills I developed in Eugene IHS have been invaluable in my University classes. My sister is currently attending Eugene IHS at Churchill High School and it’s super fun to hear about her classes, teachers, and the books she is reading, and to see how so many things have stayed the same and to compare the differences.  I love Eugene IHS!”

Steven Brantley: “I received an IB and have proudly shared with my colleagues and friends about the IB curriculum and the merits of an internationally focused education. I believe it set me up to be successful in college, and has given me a wider perspective through which to view the world…and though the experience was tedious and at times painful, it has served me well… I am grateful for the knowledge that I gained and the skills that our teachers helped us develop.  I am very proud to tell people that I have an IB, and love the opportunity to explain the program to people who have not heard of it.”

Audrey Fancher:  “…As I’ve reflected a lot on how formative IHS was for me, it has really gotten me thinking about how the world needs more great teachers. Here in Portland, I know that the public school system has a lot of needs, and the thought of teaching high school social studies is really starting to excite me… I’ve thought a lot about my time in IHS and how utterly fantastic my education was. In both the teachers and project-based curriculum, I know IHS served me well as a global citizen. I still think of Zapata, Trotsky finger puppets, the Mahabrata, the hero’s journey…and that creepy Yellow Wallpaper poem from time to time 🙂 among so many other things. (Tell the current junior and seniors that all of the writing is worth it—it literally is preparing them for university.) I had so many college classmates who hadn’t written more than 5 pages. Ever. I wrote numerous research 20-pagers without a sweat! Now, I’ve started writing articles for fun! I appreciate the spirit of curiosity that was fostered, the encouragement of critical thinking, and a creative approach to education that seems unique in public schooling these days.”

Jesse Ferreira: “IHS was a wonderful program, and I retained many good friends and acquaintances from the experience.  IB, while more challenging than IHS alone, serves as a more thorough foundation of knowledge.”

Chris Hale: “IHS laid a foundation for a paradigm of thinking that I have found tremendously helpful in both my daily life and on the job.”

Katie Vanderford: “I loved every minute of IHS. It prepared me very well for college and I enjoyed how my IHS classes felt like a close-knit family.”

CLASS OF 2009
Kathryn Adair: “My best memories from Eugene IHS were with teachers or friends. The teachers were always there to be a friend and to have fun. It was interesting and fun to get to know about other countries and different people around the world. IHS has really opened my eyes and helped me to be more ‘culturally sound.’”

Ian Brasted: “At OSU, I decided to switch from majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering to Biochemistry and Biophysics. The credit I received through the IB program was what made graduating in 4 years possible after that switch. This is a rather concrete example of how I benefited from the IB program. More related to IHS as a school, I greatly appreciated the curriculum. Although ‘classic’ SEHS may have offered a few more culturally focused classes, in IHS expanding cultural awareness was a goal.”

Heather Bridgham: “I keep learning things that are review from IHS. International High School exposed me to subject matter most people don’t see until college. Most high school students don’t get to study things like anthropology, philosophy, religious studies, or political science. I hear from students who hated high school and were totally unprepared for the style of learning in college; I am happy to say that neither of those experiences applies to me.”

Margo Faulk: “Writing my medical school essays definitely forced me to consider the role of Eugene IHS in the development of my career goals and life values. IHS is a big part of what inspired my continued search for communities and workplaces that uphold values of lifelong learning, servant-leadership, and appreciating ambiguity and complexity while striving for concrete goals. The IB was a wonderful introduction to college level work, and gave me a definite leg up in many of my courses.  IHS definitely introduced me to poetry, and I’ve been continuing that love affair in an informal way for years now… a huge thanks to all of the English and Spanish literature teachers– you brought so much beauty into my life!  Also a shout out to the History/Geography/Social Studies teachers: you helped form my sense of justice in an unjust world. More importantly, you held up examples of resistance and hope, which inspired me to continue working for something better and always look towards the voices of the marginalized and disenfranchised for solutions. Thank you!”

Olivia Girod: “IHS helped to prepare me in all aspects so much for college. I hear my roommates and friends complaining about having to write a two-page double spaced paper and laugh because I know it would be so easy for me because of what I learned in IHS. I was a full IB diploma recipient and am so glad I went through with it. Although I did not receive as much college credit as I had hoped to receive from taking the tests, it prepared me in so many other ways. Taking the exams is exactly like finals are here. Therefore I know how to begin to prepare in advance by reviewing my notes and studying with others.”

Tanner Harris: “Eugene IHS was all around the best high school educational experience I have ever had. I miss my IHS teachers and all of the classmates and students that were in IHS. It was basically a second family. IHS opened my eyes to the world and removed my cultural bias. The mock conferences, such as the Eurasian conference, were a fun way to learn about countries around the world that you couldn’t learn in a classroom setting. IHS’s curriculum is so much more current and useful than regular high school curriculum. Now that I am in college many of my classmates are shocked by some of the information they are learning, but thanks to IHS I already know about most of the things they are teaching. Some classes were a review for me. I felt so prepared for college, and the different cultures that students are introduced to in college. IHS made me realize that as human beings we need to all work together, no matter your culture or ethnicity, to make the world a better place. I hope someday I will be able to give back to the IHS program.”

Courtney LaFranchi: “As an International Studies/Spanish/Piano Performance major, I have found the IHS experience extremely beneficial. It helped me see situations objectively, especially when dealing with international dilemmas, and while I’ve always prided myself of being a good problem solver, I think IHS helped me hone my skills at delivering solutions to my peers. While in IHS I also earned the IB diploma, and I think
more than anything, the benefit there was proving to myself that I could. Now most things seem extremely easy. I have no trouble in most of the areas my peers are struggling. IHS also taught me how to lead and organize in group settings, making most projects simple and efficient where they’re often discombobulated.
Altogether, IHS was the best preparation one could ask for before college. I would like to thank Eugene IHS for how comprehensive their preparation was for the real world. Thanks to Eugene IHS, I have had absolutely no trouble with college and I feel that the essay writing and critical thinking skills they exercised were essential components in my success so far.  If any of my former teachers read this, I hope you are all doing well.  I think back to some classes from Eugene IHS often, and I remember how well you did with what you had.  It gives me hope for the next generations of students that there are teachers like you in the world – enthusiastic, direct and encouraging. The thing I still find most useful from my IB and IHS experience was the requirement of volunteer work in Spanish. As someone who isn’t a member of the immigrant community personally, the fact that I’ve been dedicated to this work since age 15 (and can prove it through references and on paper) is invaluable. I’m pretty certain it has helped me get every important job and opportunity I’ve ever had.”

Kyle Nystrom: “I have great memories of IHS. Fantastic teachers and classmates.”

Annie Pasquinelli: “Eugene IHS was a great springboard for my continued education at Oregon State University, a school I chose in part because of their International Degree program. I’ve always made sure I had a well-rounded education and am continually adding to my experiences as a global citizen. The IB program earned me 45 college credits before I even started, which made room in my schedule for the addition of many degree options that will not only make me extremely marketable in the workplace but also broaden my knowledge of the world outside of the Pacific Northwest.”

Kelsey Rea: “Eugene IHS taught me how to look at the world without colored glasses, how to stretch a topic that seems like it could be covered in a few sentences and expand on it for a full paper, how to research and write solid papers for University, and most importantly, it inspired me to always continue learning even after the formal education is done.”

Jesse Spivack: “I met so many talented youth through IHS, all brilliant in unique ways. IHS kept me on my toes, striving to achieve my best.”

Alex Young: “I just remember most of the Sheldon IHS teachers providing such a great experience for us (Kostechka, Wiebe, Powell, Fitzwater). I liked being a part of the IHS family, and going to that United Nations thing we did with all the other schools where we brought food, dressed up, and voted on world issues [Eurasian Conference].”

Iris Young: “Nearing graduation, I felt so accomplished that I wrote an extended essay that my mentor praised! Looking back at it now, I’ve written better (if shorter), but I can’t describe how much that felt like what I should have finished high school having accomplished. I have since been reminded over and over that I learned how to use information instead of how to retain facts, and that has served me far better than any particular knowledge. The IB curriculum and IHS teaching methods have given me the tools necessary to apply myself to any investigative project and produce not just an answer but a contextualized, well-reasoned explanation. This has especially helped in tutorial (on the topic of multicultural and multireligious
tensions in medieval Spain) and philosophy.”

CLASS OF 2010
Benjamin Howorth:
“It was one of the most important aspects of my life so far. I would not be who I am today if I had not gone through Eugene IHS. The teachers and staff create the perfect atmosphere for development and a deeper level of thought not provided by the general school system. If every person had the chance to graduate from IHS (especially Eugene IHS) the world would be a much more welcoming place with empathetic, understanding, and kind individuals. Getting the IB diploma was the greatest decision I have ever made. At 19 years old I am one year away from a Bachelors degree in physics while running my own house painting business.  IB shows you that success takes hard work, determination, and a lot of heart and soul.”

Danaan O’Donnell-Davidson: “I loved IHS.”

Hanna Powers: “Eugene IHS and the IB program has prepared me for college in so many ways I do not know where to start.  Eugene IHS teachers always encouraged me to come talk to them with questions or concerns and now I’m not afraid of teachers, but realize they are there because they want to help me learn.  I learned how to do scholarly research and write an extended essay when some of my peers, in their first year of college, didn’t even know how to look up books in the library.  I started college as a sophomore and because of my credits I get to register for classes with people two years older than me. I have never had to waitlist or not take a class because if it being full.  Eugene IHS taught me how to manage my time and how to work on projects without a teacher holding my hand through the process.  One of the most important things I learned was how to take tests, the majority of my grades in school were based on exams. Because of Eugene IHS I know how to study efficiently and I do not stress out on test day like a lot of other students.”

Jackson Thomas: “I have only been in college for a few weeks so far, so I don’t know if I have gotten the ‘Full Experience’ yet, but I can tell that I owe all of you a great deal of thanks. For four years you lectured, discussed and gave homework to my classmates and I, with the justification that all of it would prepare us for college. As we wrote down the assignment we all groaned and expressed our doubts. After being taught by all of you, I recognize that assigning the work is not what provided you all the satisfaction and pleasure of being a teacher. Instead, it was the idea that through all of this work, we truly were becoming well educated adults who were prepared for college. But you already know all this. The reason I’m writing this letter is to make sure that all of you realize that what you are doing is awesome and it works. I’m not saying that college is easy, nor am I saying that the work that you assigned me was more difficult. It wasn’t the rigorous assignments, long study sessions or long papers that have made my college transition so easy (not that they hurt). As to what exactly it is, I don’t really know for sure. But whatever it may be, at least in my case, it worked. In all of my classes, I feel like one of the most prepared and confident students in the class. My professors are explaining concepts, strategies and skills to my classmates that I’ve been confident with for years, thanks to all of you. As I type my homework assignments, I feel like an expert, and I am always extremely confident with what I turn in. If you ever assign a paper or some kind of assignment, and your students begin to grumble and groan and you have a moment of doubt as to if you’re truly achieving your goals, know this: You can be sure that if they really take what you are providing them to heart, your students will have the ability to face the world head-on and come out ahead. I know I can’t speak for all of my classmates, but I will say that all of you together have had a huge impact on who I am today. The International High School program will always have a very special place in my heart. I suspect that a lot of you go without thanks far too often. So thank you. All of you. I hope that some day I can find some way to help all of you as much as you have all helped me.”

Nathan Wilson: “I just went through U of O orientation, and all my doubts about my choice to follow the path of the coveted full IB diploma have been shed. I’m starting college with 80 credits, just 10 short of starting as a junior. Furthermore, I received a letter in the mail today from the U of O informing me that just based on my receipt of the IB Diploma I have been awarded a $2000/year Dean’s Scholarship, which renews automatically every year without any sort of application. Thank you for all of your hard work to organize the IB program through our schools. It is probably the most powerful asset that students have access to through public schools.”

CLASS OF 2011
Courtney Martin: “I decided to go to Western Oregon to pursue a Dance degree. Because of IB testing I went in as a sophomore and was placed on an accelerated track to finish in 9 terms…. My senior capstone for Dance (which was really not that much harder than the senior paper for IHS) was a historical analysis of the roles of physical education, women, and dance at Oregon State Normal School. IHS gave me the skills to make this project a breeze.”

Lydia Pomeroy-Hale: “Attending an all-women’s college, I inevitably have peers who hail from all-girl’s high schools with the traditional ‘upper class privilege’ that comes with the territory.  In describing my background, I am asked what schools I attended before, and surprise is often a response I get when others learn that I had an entirely public education.  I have had the privilege of growing up in a community where language immersion, an IB education, and the term ‘global citizen’ is not only readily available, but considered a necessity.  IB had me prepared to be a competitive and versatile student in college, and I know I will continue to use the skills I gained in high school in the future. Eugene IHS gave us a great opportunity to grow both academically and personally. I found I was able to perform well under academic pressure in college, and make connections across concepts and subjects. The IB has been integral in my ability to truly appreciate both my past and current projects. I think there is a certain skill developed in this program that encompasses both critical thinking and empathy towards other lenses.”

Halle Shirk: “Beyond the friendships that have lasted far past those first years of high school which I cherish daily, and the degree to which my academic experiences prepared me to a standard well beyond my peers for any college experience I have met, there is one story in particular I should tell. My life has taken an undeniably international spin since first signing up for IHS, a path which I think I can firmly attribute to the program and the people around me who truly made me believe I was capable of anything. In October of 2014 I found myself at a Monkey Temple in Bali with the crew of my ship, S/Y Argo, climbing up thousands of stairs to attend a Hindu fire dance play. We had no idea what was in store for us. I sat down in a throng of people crowded around an amphitheater and waited for the play to begin. We were all trying to decipher the programs we had been handed at the gate of the temple. They had attempted (through wonderfully broken translation) to transcribe the play for the evening. It was a classic Hindu epic and as I read, suddenly it hit me – I KNEW THIS PLAY. From the deep recesses of my brain where I had filed away a million things I’d learned and was certain I’d never use, came forth the vivid memory of Jenelle Youngblood’s Values and Beliefs Class and the story of Hanuman the Monkey God. Sure enough, a fire breathing man in a white monkey costume came blasting through the crowd warding off the evil spirits and rescuing the princess from the jealous wizard King. I couldn’t believe it – firstly that I remembered the play, and secondly that I would chance to find myself somewhere in life where this knowledge would be genuinely useful. But there I was, quietly explaining the plot of the Hindi play to all my shipmates. I’m pretty sure they thought I was at least a little crazy for knowing what was going on, and I was definitely questioning just why and how I got to be sitting where I was sitting. But that’s just it – that’s the path that IHS can send you on if you let it, if you embrace it fully and tuck away all the obscure little bits of knowledge you think you’ll ‘never’ need in life. I don’t know for sure where I’ll be next, but I know I owe a debt of gratitude to the teachers that opened up the whole world to me in high school. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for that. The best I can do is go into my own classroom in Korea and try to do the same for my students while I have them. There’s a world of possibilities, sometimes it’s a Hindu fire dance, sometimes it’s a research report in college, sometimes it’s understanding complex cultural and political struggles, and sometimes it’s just checking your own culture at the door and embracing something new. IHS gave me the courage and the tools to do all of that and more. I honestly don’t know where I’d be, or who I’d be today without it. Thank you again for all your effort. Sometimes I try to explain to people I’ve just met what IHS and the IB program are, but there are never enough words to sum up how those classes changed my world view and brought everything a little closer to home. My home is the world, thank you IHS.”

CLASS OF 2012
Alison Honn:
 “My IHS experience pushed me to view the world bigger than myself; Eugene, Oregon; and even the United States. I don’t think I realized it at graduation, but it really did give me much more of a global perspective. I was a partial IB recipient – and it’s biggest advantage was putting me ahead in college. All my IB classes transferred as college credit putting me almost a whole year ahead. I was able to graduate early and then move to Haiti to live.”

Taylor Maher: “I have never had an easier time writing an 8 page paper in my entire life: thank you, Mrs. Schabtach!  As much as I rolled my eyes at Values and Beliefs, I don’t believe I could have done without it.  My first roommate was a Muslim Hijabi girl from Bangladesh who couldn’t believe she didn’t have to explain her entire religion and culture to me.  I have since been learning the Bangla language.  Thanks go to Mrs. Curtis for that.  Overall, every aspect of IHS has helped me realize the extreme importance of putting pride and passion into everything I do in school and work.  It has also allowed me to go into things with an open mind and I so appreciate that ability.”

Elizabeth Maynard: “One of my biggest regrets from high school is that I didn’t really get to know my teachers. All teachers, but in particular those in IHS, are dynamic, smart, influential people, and as I become more and more adult myself, I realize that I probably would have gotten along with them as people. I will always be grateful to my teachers for their unswerving effort to bring the light of truth and reason into the lives of others. I have always been of the opinion that one of the best skills to have is the ability to ‘get something’ out of anything, and IHS was a rich farmland of opportunity to be harvested, in my experience.”

Christina Morrison: “IHS required me to think outside my limited perspective, heightened my ability to think critically, and taught me how to string a few words together along the way. Every teacher I had in IHS were individualistic spirits, and it made class and learning a genuinely excellent time. I have been successful academically in college and in no way would I be in the position to do that without IHS and the IB program.”

Mieke Vrijmoet: “Two years into college now and I’m still discovering the interests and perspectives seeded deep in me from my time in EIHS. I came to college ready to approach questions and knowledge from all disciplines with a discerning and considerate eye. Projects class especially prepared me to jump into the independent projects and passions that define my Bennington education. I primarily study natural sciences now, but I’m continuously connecting the natural world with the social, political, and geographic arenas science is situated in, especially environmental science. And I can’t quite shake the passion for foreign language IHS endowed in me, so I’m now in my third year of studying Chinese. I feel so lucky to have been a part of such a comprehensive and socially conscious education, and to have found a place to continue that at Bennington… Bennington College is very much in the vain of many of the educational practices and interests of Eugene IHS. Bennington has an intense focus on Public Action and critical inquiry to change the world, making it the perfect follow up to a EIHS education. Plus, I think when I graduated from Eugene IHS, it was hard for me to see beyond the scope of the focus of the IB program offered (i.e., very social science focused) and being at a liberal arts college helped me connect that with my deeper interests in natural sciences

Allison Wonn: “I never fully appreciated all that Eugene IHS had given me until I stepped into my first college lecture.  I learned very quickly just how prepared I was to be in that type of environment, and how comfortable I was with that transition into higher education.  I will never forget the great relationships I formed with my teachers and classmates, and will always thank the program for developing and cultivating within me a genuine interest in the acquisition of knowledge. One of my fondest memories of Eugene IHS was the Eurasian Conference (India).  I absolutely loved the fact that we, as young students, had the opportunity to engage in a ‘mock UN’ environment, in which we were tested and asked to consider the complexities that surround foreign affairs and policies. However, my biggest takeaway was not acknowledging how complicated and difficult it can be to forge relationships with other nations – instead, I realized just how similar all of these nations are, and I think this idea is at the very essence of what an IHS education strives to achieve.”

CLASS OF 2013
Zach Bigley: “IHS prepared me well for college. All the writing seemed like a lot during the time, but now that I am in college, writing short papers (2-5 pages) is easy. It also taught me how to work well with groups. There are many college kids who will be in a group who do not know how to work at all. In my personal job, the public speaking skills and comfortability that I learned in IHS really helped. I don’t think I would be as good of a broadcaster/journalist if it had not been for IHS.

Zoe Oldham:  “My IB experiences have helped me to relate to the small population of IB diploma receivers at Rice. On top of that, I feel much more prepared to write long research papers because of the Extended Essay. I continue to discover ways in which being a part of IHS has prepared me for college as I get into higher level classes.”

CLASS OF 2014
Mitchell Klotter:  “Eugene IHS was great preparation for college courses.”

Rachel Bakke: “IHS was like a family to me; the teachers, students, and classes made me happy to come to school. While IB was very challenging, it was also very rewarding and gave me a sense of accomplishment when I graduated with my IB diploma.”

David Cornwell: “South Eugene IHS helped me to understand the variety of people present in the world. It is my belief that understanding, or at least attempting to understand individual perspectives is the key to effective leadership.”

Solan Megerssa: “IHS, and especially IB, provides all the rigor you would expect from a specialized curriculum. However, the thing that sets IHS apart, and what I consider my most valuable experience, is the sense of community it fosters. In IHS you’re not just part of a school, you’re part of a family. As an IB diploma holder and a student at MIT, I can say that IB really prepared me for juggling all the different aspects of academics; from social studies to the sciences.”

Lienne VanWinkle: “Eugene IHS was a very fun, interactive, and useful program. I didn’t realize how much so till now that I am in college. The workload and expectations have made my transition to college a breeze. I miss the group work, close social interaction, and broad way of thinking that IHS offers. I was an IB certificate candidate and my IB test scores have allowed me to take sophomore level classes. I love IHS and what it stands for; global thinking and awareness. I miss it dearly and greatly encourage all to be a part of this amazing program.”

Erica Wan: “I was enrolled in Sheldon Eugene IHS for all four years and I believe IHS provided me a valuable learning experience. The challenging workload, group-work environment, and IB curriculum has prepared me with the academic expectations at university. I believe the IHS program and IB exams were one of the academic criteria that has set me apart in the competitive scholarship selection. The scholarships I received have tremendously removed my barriers of financial stress, college access and success as well. Without the scholarships, support and guidance from IHS
teachers, I would not have the opportunity to further my education. Thank you so much, Eugene IHS! My accomplishments and hard work paid off. I highly recommend others to be involved with IHS, continue learning new things, and take on new challenges.”

CLASS OF 2015
Cathlyn Medina:
“I received the IB Diploma and it has served me incredibly well. Some of the credits earned have allowed me to place out of introductory classes at my university and it has helped me become much more of a well rounded person.”

Written by: Eugene International High School