THE SEMINOLE NEWSPAPER

#THROWBACK: THE “OG” TEACHERS OF IB

Sra.+Sweigert+has+been+at+Seminole+High+School+since+the+start+of+the+IB+program+in+1998.
Sra. Sweigert has been at Seminole High School since the start of the IB program in 1998.

Sra. Sweigert has been at Seminole High School since the start of the IB program in 1998.

Sra. Sweigert has been at Seminole High School since the start of the IB program in 1998.

Mahek Shaikh, Activities Manager

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The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program was introduced at Seminole High School in the fall of 1998. Since then, many teachers have come and gone, helping the IB Program evolve to what it is today. Although almost twenty years have passed since its establishment, two teachers have been an integral part of IB since its formative years: Melody Sweigert and Jay Scofield.

Ms. Sweigert began teaching IB Spanish at SHS in the fall of 1998. She had just retired from the Navy and was eager to take on the new challenge of teaching the rigorous new curriculum. As a result, Ms. Sweigert ended up becoming one of the trailblazers of the now-renowned IB program.

“Since I was one of the first IB teachers, I was one of the ones who had to define all the new terminology for the students in order to figure out what to do,” Ms. Sweigert said. “I’ve taught all four levels of Spanish, which was a challenge in and of itself, but with the help of other teachers, we were all able to work together in order to ensure that students were successful in this program.”

Ms. Sweigert’s experience with the IB program is evident to those who have gone through her class. Students who have been in her Spanish class describe her as an inspiring and engaging educator.

“Ms. Sweigert is one of the nicest teachers I know,” said senior Jair Jean-Gilles. “She is very understanding and is always willing to work with students to help us finish all of our work, no matter what troubles we have. She has done so much with her life and that inspires me to follow my dreams and do what I want to do.”

Mr. Scofield has also played a key role in educating students in the IB program, teaching History of the Americas and Contemporary History to IB upperclassmen. Mr. Scofield began teaching at SHS in 2001.

“When I came from Gainesville, I had mostly been teaching Advanced Placement. I wanted to stay within that realm, so when I saw the IB job open here, I interviewed for it as the curriculum seemed very similar to the AP realm,” Mr. Scofield said. “One difficulty of teaching IB is all the requirements of the assessments I must be aware of in order to ensure the students are successful. Although the IB curriculum has it difficulties, I am blessed with the opportunity to teach IB students every year.”

Though Scofield’s classes are infamous for their difficulty — in fact, many refer to him as the most challenging teacher in the IB program — students describe his class as being one of their most memorable and rewarding experiences.

“Mr. Scofield has inspired me to have a better work ethic and understand the value of my work,” said senior Erin Russ. “He’s also taught me that hard work pays off and that you’ll reap a greater benefit in the end by trying your best. I thoroughly enjoy his class.”

Both Ms. Sweigert and Mr. Scofield have contributed greatly to the progress of the IB program here at Seminole High and the staff hopes they will continue to do so for many more years to come.

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