Aika (2)

The International Baccalaureate Class of 2021 – Taking the ISP mission around the world after another extraordinary year

Once more in 2021, ISP’s Graduating Senior Class scored impressive International Baccalaureate (IB) results. The Class of 2021 should be proud of their accomplishments, particularly as 100% of ISP IB candidates gained the diploma!  

Our 58 candidates scored an average of 36 diploma points (world average 33) with a magnificent highest score of 45. But the results alone don’t tell the whole story of the Class of 2021’s IB experience. 

Aika, Class of 2021 Scientist

As they embark on the next stage of their academic journeys at prestigious universities around the world, several of the Class of 2021 shared their thoughts on their IB experience at ISP. Class of 2021 graduate Aika, who is now studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Boston University in the United States and is the first of a series of ISP Alumni reflecting on their IB experience at ISP. The students embark on a variety of paths that embrace the ISP Mission to lead healthy, fulfilling, and purposeful lives, preparing them to adapt and contribute responsibly around the world.

The IB journey and post-secondary process is a marathon, and our students shared their thoughts on how they found great success. A number of themes that consistently emerged from all the students were; 

  • relationships with supportive and inspiring teachers, and a sense of gratitude towards ISP for helping students to find and follow their passions; 
  • the idea of discovering and refining passions throughout ISP journeys;
  • and that time management skills were vital to completing a challenging, rigorous and ultimately rewarding program. 


Name: Aika

Nationality: Czech Republic/Kyrgyzstan

Destination University: Boston University, Massachusetts, United States 

Grade Started at ISP: Grade 5

Aika and best friend Diana on Graduation

The IB at ISP – what are your abiding memories?

The change to go from ‘real’ school to online school was such a big thing, it was almost like we had to learn to speak to people in person again. That part of the last few years will always be memorable to me. I feel that ISP created an environment where we really could follow our passions. Our teachers were clear that you can focus on all aspects of yourself. There is a freedom with the IB which was for me shown in the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) part of the program. For CAS I did a “Bio for Kids” program at a local elementary school near ISP. This allowed me to take something I was doing in IB and bring it to something I was doing outside of school. 

I became really interested in the sciences in Grade 10 and I was involved in a year-long internship project with the Czech Academy of Sciences. My IB Science Teacher Mr. Thornley helped with my application and this is when I really started to get into a lab and try things out. In Grade 10 and 11 I really ignited my passion for the sciences, so when I reached the IB I already felt like I had that scientific focus. Having picked Chemistry and Biology, it was a great way to dig deep into the concepts we were learning and that’s when I decided that this is what I want to do.   

I must say that everything my teacher Mr. Thornley does is a memory! He makes fun of everything, once in online school he even started making fun of my curtains! Chemistry is a very in depth and tough subject, but Mr. Thornley always found a way to make it fun, whether it was through his jokes or stories, he always made sure there was a fun element”.

Future plans – what do you intend to do in the medium to long term future and what do you take from ISP to the rest of your life?

Aika (left) onstage on Graduation Day

With all that has happened in the world in the last two years, I try to not get too far ahead. I’m trying to look six months ahead rather than years. I want to get to school in Boston, make friends and get to know my professors. As Boston is such a Biotech cluster with big companies, I’d like to get in touch with people there and with professors about working in research labs and maybe get an internship. I want to immerse myself into that environment completely so I can figure out what aspect of Biotech I want to get into. 

I’ll miss ISP – I think whether you have been there for one or two years or eight like me, it is like a home. ISP makes you feel safe and you can start a conversation with pretty much anybody. As you’re both connected through the school. This is especially important for someone like me as some people say I have no roots. I have roots in different places – I haven’t seen my family in Kyrgyzstan for four years and while I grew up in the Czech Republic and speak Czech,  I think the internationalism of ISP will stand me in good stead for the environment I’m going to in Boston.