Pen Ceremony

Pen Ceremony

On Friday, April 1, 2016, I asked one of my English teachers to be my supervisor for my extended essay.  A year earlier, I watched on in complete confusion as the current senior full IB students did the same.  To say the challenge ahead had felt daunting would’ve been an understatement. “I,” I thought, “have made a huge mistake.”

When I enrolled in the IB diploma program, I was aware that we had to write an extended essay, a 4,000 word research paper about anything you can choose. It is one of the three hallmarks that distinguishes IB from other advanced programs.  I was also vaguely aware that I wanted to write something in the English category.  What I wanted to write about, I had no idea.   As time ticked on, that confusion only grew.

Luckily, two months before the ceremony almost all of the IB candidates gathered to address this exact confusion.  During Interim, we took two days to develop our research questions, critique others, interview the candidates before us, and read graded past extended essays.  The English department guided us all to be prepared for the April Fool’s Day ceremony.

That day, I walked into the Weber center with a hastily scribbled question on a scrap of paper, semi-confident that the presentation would go well. It did; no surprise. Every candidate offered up their question and a pen, “proposing” to a teacher to become thier supervisor.  It was a long road, a road that is not even half over yet, but I–we–did it.

Hopefully, another sophomore or junior in the audience became inspired, not scared.  This ceremony is a preview into the workings of the extended essay.  Anybody enrolled at Saint John’s Prep has the capacity to fulfill IB’s expectations.  The ceremony should motivate students, and let them know what they can achieve by junior year.  Last year, I was intimidated and anxious that I had made a mistake, but I was also excited and prepared to meet the challenge.

On Friday, April 1, 2016, I asked one of my English teachers to be my supervisor for my extended essay, and, despite my feelings of not being ready the year before, she said yes.