Skip to Content Skip to Footer Accessibility Concerns
Willow Canyon student shares IB experience
Willow Canyon student shares IB experienceTrevor Tuttle graduated in 2019 from Willow Canyon High School with a standard high school diploma and the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The IB Diploma is a rigorous two-year diploma where students are required to test in six different classes, write an extended essay, complete a course in Theory of Knowledge, and complete 150 hours in creativity, action and service. “Trevor is the typical IB Diploma candidate,” says IB Coordinator, Dr. Jason Ward. “He is the rule, not the exception. Most of our IB Diploma earners enter the university of their choice with plenty of public and private scholarships packaged with up to 24 credits that save students and their parents considerably in tuition dollars.” Dr. Ward took the time during the 2021 graduation week to sit down with Trevor and interview him as to his perceptions of the IB education he received. This interview comes two years after he graduated from high school allowing him to give an accurate and thoughtful reflection of what the IB Diploma really meant to him. 

What is your greatest memory from your International Baccalaureate education at Willow Canyon High School?

In studying for our exams, some of our teachers would hold a group study during class or outside of school. In the event where they did not, students would instead hold something together in order to study. While we were studying, we also realized that we were a little stressed and so we would joke around and try our best to enjoy that time together. The IB Program is small so most everyone is pretty close and everyone knows each other, and this even applies a bit to the relationships with teachers.

What was your favorite aspect of the IB Program? 

Looking back, I believe that the college level courses were the greatest part of the program. I learned high level material that was almost repeated to me in some of my college courses, but I also got experience in writing and taking exams at a college level. For example, the Extended Essay seemed like a huge undertaking but all of my extensive research papers that I have had to write while in college used those same skills, and since I had the experience, this was something that I did with ease.

I think the CAS project was also a great aspect because it makes some of the active and social things that students want to do something that they need to do. While it is not on the same scale as a Capstone Project, it also prepares students for the Capstone Project that they will need to complete. A Capstone is a project that students complete in their junior or senior year which takes everything that they have learned in their courses, and they must apply it. For my Honors Capstone, I am in the middle of shooting a feature length documentary film using state-of-the-art equipment provided to me by the school.

What other activities did you participate in while in the IB Program?

While in the IB Program, I also participated in the National Honors Society, Willow Canyon’s Media Club, and the SkillsUSA chapter. In two of those clubs, I held an officer role. I also was involved in sports broadcasting for football and basketball.

Some may think that to participate in a program like IB, you have to give up everything else. How was your social life impacted as a result of your IB education?

IB feels like a lot of work and can be a little daunting, but while I was in the IB program, I was actually more social than before. I am not a social person but during this time, I hung out with friends a few times throughout the year, I attended both homecoming and prom, and many of the sports games. I had plenty of time to attend all the clubs I went to, and a lot of time to spend playing video games with my closest friends online after school.

Currently, I created and I am running the first SkillsUSA chapter at NAU, working for the NAU Engineering College in Marketing,  all while taking 19-23 credits a semester. I have had plenty of time to go out and hang out with friends or spend time alone playing video games. Through IB, I learned how to manage my own time and workload in high school. 

My grandmother used to say “proof is in the pudding.” How did the IB diploma impact you (whether positively or negative)? In other words, was it worth it? If so, how? If not, how not? 

The IB diploma was worth it both for the credits that you can receive from taking the tests, but also for the ability to do a lot of rigorous coursework. Going into college, I received 19 transfer credits. I received two credits for English, six credits for two film classes that I did not have to take later in college, three credits for psychology, and eight credits for Spanish. As a film student with a minor in psychology, this definitely helped speed up my college career, but I also received plenty of credit for transfer classes. For example, while many people may not be studying a foreign language in college, some colleges require you to take a certain amount of foreign language. In the NAU Honors College, you are required to take two foreign language courses, something that was fulfilled by my IB credit.

Another way in which IB impacted me was in regard to how much I could handle in my coursework. I know at the time, many of us were a little stressed in high school with IB, but once I got into college, my advisor told me that I was going to be taking 6 classes a week for a total of 16 credits. I told my advisor that I wanted to take 19 credits because after being in IB, taking less classes felt like I was getting it too easy. As of now, I have taken 18-19 credits a semester with ease and a 4.0 GPA in Honors. This last spring semester, I took a total of 21 credits, and this fall I will be ending my undergraduate career by taking 23 credits. Through my time in the IB Program, I learned how to manage my time, how to study effectively, and how to deal with stress, letting me take more credits than other college students around me.

At NAU, I did receive the Lumberjack Scholars Award, meaning that my tuition was paid for. However, I still had to pay for housing which costs about $3600 a semester, around $1,000 in fees, plus expenses like food and school supplies. I will be graduating a year and a half earlier than my expected graduation, meaning I am saving at least $14, 000. With that being said, I do not use the meal plans on campus, saving some of the cost as well. NAU offers an IB Scholarship, but since it only covers tuition, I was not eligible since I received the Lumberjack Scholars Award.

Overall, it was extremely worth it. Not only did I feel prepared for college level courses once I began my college classes, I also was told that my writing and other academic skills were a higher level than the level of classes I have taken so far. While writing research papers, I have been told that my writing reflects the 400 level or graduate level writing rather than the writing of a junior. I have also received an Honors Best Paper Award from the NAU Honors College for an essay that I had written in one of my Honors classes. In my film classes, I was with students who were touching cameras for the first time in their lives, while I was able to do everything the professor wanted without listening to the lecture. I was able to pick up important life and academic skills, skills related to specific courses like English and Film, and I was able to save thousands in the cost for my college education.

All things considered, would you do it again? Explain.

There is absolutely no part of me that could say no to this question. Knowing what I know now, I never would have doubted being in the IB Program. For a brief time, I figured that it was not going to help me as much as others talked about, but after entering college, I realized that I was instead helped more than I think most others expected. I do not think that I would have the grades, the social life, the work life, or the academic career that I currently have without that experience and time that I have spent in the IB Program.

What advice do you have for parents and students considering the IB program? 

IB feels like a lot of work and that the end-goal is hard to see at the moment, but it is worth it. You should definitely look at colleges and determine what credits you will get for passing the tests, as well as some of the liberal arts and elective courses that they may also require from students. IB prepares you for college classes in a way that puts you so ahead of the game that it is truly unbelievable. All of my teachers were extremely helpful and people who I respected and got to know a little more on a personal level. The cost can be a little intimidating but nothing compared to the cost of one semester in college. IB was definitely the greatest decision I probably made in high school and is one that has paid off so unbelievably for me.

The International Baccalaureate Program (IB) courses are offered exclusively at Willow Canyon High School and challenges academically talented students to reach high levels of achievement in a broad range of subjects and allow two different participation tracks: IB diploma and IB certificate. The International Baccalaureate Organizations Diploma Program is a demanding pre-university course of study that leads to examinations. IB schools have earned a reputation for rigorous assessment, giving IB diploma holders access to the world's leading universities. Students can apply for the IB program for their junior and senior years.  If any parent or student has questions regarding the IB Diploma, please reach out to Dr. Ward directly by emailing him at [email protected].
Posted : 7/19 | Direct Link
Band Camp Information
Percussion/Guard Camp is July 12th-16th from 5pm-9pm.

Band Camp (there are 2 weeks and the students need to attend BOTH weeks because we do different things for those two weeks.)

Band Camp starts on July 19-23 (8am-5pm) and goes through July 26-30 (3pm-9pm).

We are hosting car washes on July 24th and 31st from 9am-Noon @ Taco Bell.

There will be a parent meeting on Wednesday, July 21st at 4pm in the band room.  This will be an informational/get to know one other band parents that you'll be spending a lot of time with.
Posted : 7/7 | Direct Link
Students learn the tools of the trade at Media Camp
DSB Live Media CampThe Dysart Student Broadcast (DSB) Summer Media Camp launched this year and opened to middle level students, completing grades sixth through eighth.  The one week camp hosted at Willow Canyon High School featured field trips to State Farm Stadium and Huntington University. Students created over 20 videos with the help of Willow Canyon High School TV Production and DSB Live instructor Ms. Alyson Titkemeyer and Mr. Brian Yoder, Coordinator of Student Broadcasting and Multimedia Productions. Sam Harris, a Willow Canyon High School junior in TV Production, was also on hand to assist students and share his experience with the program.
 
At State Farm Stadium students learned the technical aspects of live broadcasting. Students met with graphic designers, audio engineers and learned the gear that helps run live football broadcasts and other events at the stadium. Participants toured Huntington University to learn about the degrees offered in graphic design, animation, film, and TV broadcasting. Students were also treated with hands-on experiences creating short scenes with graduates from the school. At Willow Canyon High School, students learned how to use green screen technology, create stop-motion animations, and in-camera trick photography. 
 
The goal of the program is to introduce students to graphic design, animation, film, TV and broadcasting with the hope that they continue their education in those subjects in high school. 
 
“It was a great opportunity for middle level students to have fun and explore their interests,” said Titkemeyer.  

DSB Live is student-driven, student-produced and offers live stream broadcasts of school events free of charge to the community. Students in grades 9-12 at Dysart’s four high schools learn, develop and run every aspect of the show, including operating state-of-the-art cameras and TriCasters, creating commercials, being sound technicians, producers, graphic operators, on-field reporters, and color commentators during sports broadcasts. DSB Live’s network compliments the media pathways in Dysart’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, but is open to any student, regardless of if they are enrolled in CTE classes or not. Students interested in participating should contact their high school broadcasting instructor or email [email protected]  To view past broadcasts of school events including graduation, visit https://vimeo.com/dsblive. 
Posted : 6/21 | Direct Link
Bell Schedule Friday, 4/16, Prom Assembly

Please see below the bell schedule for Friday, Apr 16:
 
  • 1 - 7:15-8:00
  • 2 - 8:05-8:50
  • 3 - 8:55-9:45
  • Assembly - 9:50-10:45 (Football FIeld)
  • Lunch - 10:45-11:45 (Schoolwide)
  • 4 - 11:50-12:35
  • 5 - 12:40-1:25
  • 6 - 1:30-2:15



 
Posted : 4/15 | Direct Link
AZMerit Testing
For the next three Wednesdays, we will be conducting AZMerit testing.  This will create a late start for all non-testing grades. Please see the below schedule:

 
  • Weds, April 14: Writing Test- 10TH Grade Only
 
  • Weds, April 21: Reading Test- 10TH Grade Only
                                   Science Test - 11TH Grade Only
 
  • Weds, April 28: Math Test - 10TH Grade Only
 


7:15 - 10:45 - AZMerit Testing
10:45 - 11:10 Lunch

** All Grades on Campus**
11:15 - 11:40 - 1ST Hour
11:45 - 12:10 - 2ND Hour
12:15 - 12:45 - 3RD Hour
12:50 - 1:15 - 4TH Hour
1:20 - 1:45 - 5TH Hour
1:50 - 2:15 - 6TH Hour
Posted : 4/8 | Direct Link
Willow Canyon student selected as prestigious University of Arizona KEYS Intern
Lauren NolinLauren Nolin, a senior from Willow Canyon High School, was chosen to be a part of the University of Arizona KEYS Research Internship program. The KEYS program is a unique summer opportunity where 52 motivated Arizona high school students with a strong interest in bioscience, engineering, environmental health, data science, and biostatistics will work with the top University of Arizona faculty on professional research projects that address the world's greatest challenges. This seven week program allows students to network with established researchers and use state of the art research equipment. 
 
The application process included an essay demonstrating Lauren’s passion and experience with science and a thirty minute interview with the program donors to further specify her research interests. 
 
For the next two months, students will be matched with research laboratories based on their interests. Lauren is hoping to study neurogenetic research pertaining to the drug development in abnormal psychological disorder medications. 
 
Prior to engaging in research, KEYS interns are immersed in a one-week crash-course in a variety of bioscience and data science techniques, as well as the foundations of science literacy to ensure they have the base knowledge necessary to begin their assigned projects. KEYS interns are paired with leading University of Arizona researchers spearheading innovative projects that span multiple disciplines. Faculty, university students and other lab personnel mentor the students to provide an invaluable opportunity to these budding scholars. At the close of the program, KEYS interns present what they’ve learned and experienced to friends, family, and the academic community at a research showcase.

"Being accepted into this program has meant a great deal to me. It has taken me two years of hard work to get to this point. I had to take the reins of my own education to uncover my passion for research,” said Lauren.

“I hope to learn valuable skills that will assist me in my future career. I also hope to attain an accurate glimpse into how professional research is conducted. I can't wait to see where this journey will take me!".

The KEYS program is led by the BIO5 Institute and funded by BIO5 and generous supporters including individuals, families, companies, foundations and various UArizona faculty, colleges and departments. The Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF) that helped launch BIO5 almost 20 years ago continues to be a catalyst in enabling effective, cross-disciplinary bioscience research, innovation and impact at the University
 
Posted : 3/31 | Direct Link
Film Commissioner Matthew Earl Jones Visits Willow Studio

Alyson Titkemeyer (WCHS TV Production Teacher) - Film Commissioner Matthew Earl Jones visited Willow Canyon High School last month. The Commissioner, who oversees films shooting in Arizona, came to visit the Willow Canyon Studio and discuss the future of filmmaking in Arizona with students. 
Matthew Earl Jones
Lolo Crowell (‘23), Sam Harris(‘23) and Nahrain Masihanbi (‘24) had the opportunity to interview Mr. Jones about the many opportunities Arizona affords young people who are looking to break out into the film and television industry. 

Below is a link to the video the students produced. 

If you are interested in finding out more about filmmaking opportunities in Arizona check out GoFilmAZ.com 

If you are interested in finding out more about taking film and television classes at Willow contact [email protected] 


Interview with Film Commissioner  
Posted : 3/26 | Direct Link
Willow Canyon student aces ACT
Caitlyn Daly earns high marks on ACTCongratulations to Caitlin Daly from Willow Canyon High School for earning high marks on the American College Test (ACT).  Caitlin received a composite score of 34 on the ACT, including a perfect score of 36 on the individual Science and English portions of the exam.  Caitlin’s total score ranks in the 99th percentile at both state and national levels.
 
Caitlin has been in advanced classes in all four years of high school and is active in several clubs throughout the school. During her freshman and sophomore year, Caitlin took Cambridge classes and earned a Certificate of Merit on the test from Cambridge International in her first year at Willow Canyon. She is in several International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) classes and earned high marks for the U.S. Politics and Government AP exam. Caitlin is a member of the SkillsUSA Career and Technical Support Organization (CTSO), serves as president of the Anime and Table-Top Gaming Club and participated in photography, literature and National Honor Society, previously.  
 
Caitlin has been accepted to the Northern Arizona University Honors College and will be applying to other universities, including Stanford.  She is heavily considering Linguistics as a major. 
 
The ACT assessment is a curriculum and standards-based educational and career planning tool that assesses junior and senior students' academic readiness for college. The assessment serves as an effective tool to monitor academic progress and student growth.The ACT was made available to all Dysart Unified School District junior and senior high school students free of charge by a grant provided by the Arizona Governor’s Office. 
Posted : 12/16/2020 | Direct Link
Willow Canyon student named scholarship semifinalist
Michaela Melara selected as semi-finalist for scholarshipMichaela Melara from Willow Canyon High School was selected as a semi-finalist for the $20,000 Coca-Cola Scholarship.  Michaela is one of 1,609 semi-finalists chosen among 99,403 applicants this year for their outstanding leadership, academic achievements, and dedication to their community.  She is the only student from the West Valley to be selected as a semi-finalist.

Michaela is in the top one percent of her class and will be attending Northern Arizona University to study Pre-Medicine as a Biology major in the fall of 2021. She is in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program at Willow Canyon. Michaela also serves as the president of Key Club, secretary of the National Honor Society, and serves as a member of both the International Baccalaureate Club and Health Occupations Students of America Club (HOSA). She volunteers her time with organizations throughout Surprise and has been on the nationally and state recognized spiritline team for four years.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to graduating high school seniors. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. With the 32nd class in 2020, the Foundation has provided over 6,300 Coca-Cola Scholars with more than $72 million in educational support. 150 Coca-Cola Scholars are selected each year to receive this $20,000 scholarship.
Posted : 12/10/2020 | Direct Link
Reminder: Yearbook Picture Make-Up Dec 4th
Pictures for campus students who missed picture day:
Date: Dec 4th, 2020
Times:  10:30am - 12:05pm (during both lunches) any time
Location:  Auditorium Lobby


Pictures for iSchool students who missed picture day:
Date: Dec 4th, 2020
Times:  12:30pm - 3pm by appointment only
Location:  Auditorium Lobby
Sign up here to set up your appointment


Last chance to save at pre-order prices.  Even if your student has taken a picture, you can still use the link to order at the pre-order prices for a limited time. Under the current limited contact conditions, online is the ONLY method of ordering.  It is easy, secure and safe.   If you have any questions, please call Grads Photography at 623.580.4723.

Pre-order your pictures here
Posted : 11/30/2020 | Direct Link
Newer  Older