Making A Difference: PWHS International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme

In addition to taking their core courses and electives in Business or Design Technology, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) students in the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP) also complete 50 hours of service.

One of the projects that the IBCP juniors ran last year was a Sweet Winter Wishes fundraiser, where they sold bags of candy and raised $1,000 for the Colonial Neighborhood Council in Conshohocken.

Sandi Fryer with IB students and teachers holding a big check in food pantry

left to right: Colonial Neighborhood Council Executive Director Sandi Fryer, IBCP Coordinator Becky Duffy, PWHS seniors Ava Koenig, Eli Krassen, and Julia Couzens, and IBCP Service Learning Advisor Carol Bucci

“We think what the Colonial Neighborhood Council does is amazing and really helps people who are hungry or need clothes and basic supplies,” said Project Manager and PWHS senior Ava Koenig. 

“Usually kids at that age are thinking about what am I going to do or where am I going to hang out, when in reality there are people wondering what they’re going to eat and where they’re going to live,” said Sandi Fryer, Colonial Neighborhood Council Executive Director. “This donation gives the students a sense of community and going beyond themselves.” 

Through creating and leading service projects, the IBCP students apply soft skills — like teamwork, decision-making, and communication — to see what works and what doesn’t. Project Manager and PWHS senior Eli Krassen discovered that managing people was an art and that it wasn’t always easy to convince his peers to do something they might not want to do.

“Our teachers really did a good job of letting us struggle through it,” said Eli. “We did a lot of reflections during the fundraiser, saying, ‘okay, what went wrong in this situation and how can we do better?’ Then immediately, we started applying those new ideas as we were going along, and we could see improvements very quickly. That stuck with us.” 

Last year’s IBCP students also helped the Salvation Army sort toys for the holidays, and the graduating class focused their efforts on the environment. This year’s seniors are getting ready to share the projects from last year with the new juniors while determining their focus for the 2022-2023 school year. 

“One of the big things with Service Learning is for students to find what is really calling to them,” said IBCP Advisor Carol Bucci. “It’s important that the project involves what motivates them.”

The International Baccalaureate programme focuses on developing globally aware, well-rounded students who are encouraged to think independently and drive their own learning, responding to challenges with optimism and an open mind. The PWHS International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme is a two-year certificate program open to juniors who are following a career pathway in Business or Design Technology.