Two McCormacks Win Two Emily Lester Awards

At the annual Awards Ceremony, there is both an award and a scholarship provided in memory of former IB student, Emily Lester: the Emily Lester Memorial Scholarship, awarded to an IB senior, and the Emily Lester Award, awarded to one or two IB freshmen.

At this year’s May 11 Awards Ceremony, IB senior Caolifhinn McCormack won the Emily Lester Memorial Scholarship.  Tricia Previtera Lester, Emily Lester’s mother, presented the scholarship to Caolifhinn and was unaware that Caolifhinn had been the 9th grade winner of the Emily Lester Award.  This was the first time a student had won both awards!

The family story gets better:  Caolifhinn’s younger brother, IB freshman Shane McCormack, was one of the two winners of the Emily Lester Award this year too! (Hannah Arthur was the other freshman winner.) (more…)

Alumnus Amani Holder (’14) Heads for Doctoral Studies

Amani Holder (’14) share her graduate school plans and other exciting news in a note to IB Guidance Counselor Ms. La’Tina Johnson:

April 20, 2018

Hello Mrs. Johnson,

I know you may not remember me, but my name is Amani Holder, and I was a graduate of the IB program in 2014. As I get closer to graduating from Spelman College, I have been reflecting on people who have been instrumental in my success, and you are one of those individuals. I want to thank you for advocating for me when I was in high school, for pushing me to apply to as many places as I wanted and helping me get into Spelman. Without you, I would not have made it to college, and for that, I will be forever grateful. (more…)

Introducing Your 2018-2019 IB Boosters Board

2018-2019 IB Booster Board

For those who came to the Annual General Membership Meeting on Wednesday May 16, 2018 – thank you for taking part and we hope you enjoyed it.

Meet your Board for the 2018/2019 academic year! Please feel free to reach out directly to any IB Boosters Board Member if you want to get involved. There are always exciting projects available if you want to help our IB Program at SPHS!

Thank you for all your support!

Maria Kast-Ondraczek, President





WSJ Article Review: The Decision that Hurts Your Chances of Getting into Harvard

The Wall Street Journal recently published “The Decision That Hurts Your Chances of Getting into Harvard” (3/28/2018).  The article describes how early decision applicants are accepted at a rate two to three times higher than students who apply for admission later in the general admissions pool. Some schools accept as many as 40% to 50% of their admissions through early acceptance.  (more…)

World Languages Showcase: Student & Teacher Recognition (gallery)

Pam Benton, Pinellas County’s PreK-12 World Languages Specialist, recognized teachers and student participants in the 2018 World Languages Showcase held on April 23.   She wrote, “We enjoyed everything from French skits and poetry declamations to an explanation of mate tea and its origins.  A highlight of the evening was “What I’ve Learned” from the students at Morgan Fitzgerald, and St. Petersburg High School students explaining their projects in fluent Spanish.”  (more…)

IB Pinning Ceremony Recognizes Juniors

The August 30, 2017 Pinning Ceremony commemorated the transition of IB juniors from the pre-diploma program to their official entry into the IB Diploma Program at the start of their junior year.

“What a wonderful event the Pinning Ceremony was,” shared Maria Kast-Ondraczek, IB Boosters President, about the event.  “It took a lot of hard work, dedication, and grit by the Class of 2019 to get to this point, and the best is yet to come!” (more…)

Alumnus Dalton Nordquist (’17) – Scholarship Applications Pay Off

Dalton Nordquist (’17)

Dalton Nordquist (’17) attends the University of North Florida, Hicks Honors College.  Soon after he started the school year, his mother Erica Moulton wrote to IB Guidance Counselor Ms. La’Tina Johnson:

“Greetings!  Happy new school year!  Just wanted to take a moment to personally THANK YOU for all of the scholarship announcements!  It was a lot of additional writing and paperwork, but it paid off!

We have learned that with Dalton’s scholarships and Bright Futures – he will actually EARN about $200 per semester in refunds.  We are confident books and meal plans will devour that quickly, but our final bill for first semester arrived this week – what a joy to see $0 owed!”

A Capella Pitchforks Include IB Voices

The following students auditioned and were selected for the 2017-2018 Pitchforks.  IB students and grade levels are in bold.

Ashlyn Hayworth, Vina Molleti (10), Isabelle Poole, Ally Schuenke (12), Maddie Winter (11), Natalie Cottrill (12), Sophie Doddridge (10), Michela Hendry, Sydney Jones (12), Maya Prater, Marnie Williams, Kelley Harris (11), David Eaton (11), Connor Mikuta (11), Donny Spurlock (10), Seth Yeager (11), Matthew Hyatt, and Chris Kelzer.

After Irma, AP Calculus Students Stayed True to Math

They say time and tide wait for no one, and the same is true of the Advanced Placement Calculus exam that was held on May 15, 2018.   Students had been preparing for the exam since the beginning of the school year.

In anticipation of Hurricane Irma, AP Calculus teacher Robin Ladd instructed her students to prepare to study the material on their own in potentially adverse conditions depending on how long St. Petersburg High remained closed after the storm.

“Take home your textbook; print out your assignments before you lose power and Internet. If you evacuate, take your math with you!” she advised on the last day of class before the storm. (more…)

Sophomores Rise to the Call for Puerto Rico!

Sophomores proudly hold up “Solidarios” signs exemplifying the IB Learner Profile trait: Caring!

Puerto Rico Se Levanta (Puerto Rico Will Rise up Again) became the motto for Puerto Ricans helping with the recovery from Hurricane María.

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall just south of Yabucoa Harbor with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, making Hurricane Maria the first Category 4 storm to hit the island since 1932.

Sophomores in Mrs. Torres’ class quickly rose to the call for help.  Over 400 items were collected in a two-week period.  (more…)

Spanish Department Human Rights Activity Discussions

Historic photo of Madres del la Plaza de Mayo

Ms. Gisela Torres, IB Spanish teacher, informed faculty about a Spanish department human rights activity.   Students were tasked with talking with IB teachers about the Guerra Sucia (Dirty War) in Argentina, the Argentine Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, and the Arpilleras de Chile.  The presentations were required to be brief yet convincing.


Alumni Notes: Caitlin Becker (’17) and Joshua Heller (’14)

Caitlin Becker (’17) emailed IB Math teacher Ms. Ladd:   “Coming to the University of Florida was the single greatest decision I have ever made. I love everything about the University and I’m so glad I decided to come here. IB was fantastic preparation for coming here. I’m taking Calc 3 and Physics 1 and I’m way more prepared than many of my classmates with the material and with studying and problem solving. I’m so grateful that I took HL Math. Calc BC was great, but I feel like IB HL Math truly prepared me for college math.”

Joshua Heller (’14) was admitted to Harvard Dental School.  He credits his IB education as the springboard to his academic success.

May 21 – The IB Senior Celebration!

Monday, May 21

SENIORS and parents, save the date for the IB SENIOR CELEBRATION on Monday, May 21 from 5:45 to 9:30 p.m. at the Coliseum.  This special evening is dedicated to the graduating IB SENIORS and their families and guests.  The event includes dinner, recognition of each student, entertainment from talented IB Seniors, IB Senior awards, video reflecting the 2018 IB Seniors’ high school years, photo booths and more.

The celebration is open to family and friends for $27.00 per person with no charge for the IB Seniors.

Learn more from the IB website and at the Senior Celebration Facebook page