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International Baccalaureate program challenges students at South Charleston High School

South Charleston is the only school in West Virginia that offers the International Baccalaureate program. (WCHS/WVAH)

For nearly 20 years, students at South Charleston High School have been challenging themselves academically through a program that's offered worldwide.

South Charleston is the only school in West Virginia that offers the International Baccalaureate program.

It’s the reason 17-year-old Evan Spradling transferred to the school after his freshman year.

"I wanted a challenge for myself to learn more, and I feel like I have learned more than I have in any other classes or programs,” said Evan Spradling, who’s a junior at South Charleston High School.

The IB is a worldwide program offered to juniors and seniors.

Over the two-year course, students earn an international diploma and several college hours, but the rigorous program isn't for everyone.

"Typically they tend to be really highly motivated students,” said Ed Booten, IB Coordinator at South Charleston High School. “They want an additional challenge above and beyond really the typical honors course.”

"I feel like by choosing this program, once I reach the academic area after high school and go on, it's truly going to prepare me for that,” said Trenton Straight, who’s a junior at South Charleston High School.

Currently, 42 students are in the IB program at South Charleston with courses taught by seven teachers, but some students are now opting for online classes.

"Their teachers are from all over the world. There's fellow students from all over the world. They use social media to communicate. The classes are quite rigorous,” said Charles Hamer, teacher at South Charleston High School and supervises the students taking online classes.

When it comes to homework, Evan Spradling said there’s a good amount; but with hopes of going into the Naval academy, he doesn't let it get him down.

"I love every class,” said Spradling. “I feel like I've learned more in this program than I have ever learned."

South Charleston has eight periods a day, but the IB load is 6 to 7 classes, so students are still able to take other electives.

To learn more about South Charleston High School’s IB program, click here.

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