Theater and Drama Program at The Baldwin School of Puerto Rico

Our first IB Diploma Program students begin the Extended Essay journey

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The journey of 4,000 words begins with ice cream. And so it was as thirty-five DP students gathered on Monday, January 15, to meet with their Extended Essay (EE) supervisors for the first time. “The extended essay is such a big part of the Diploma Programme experience. We wanted to provide a relaxed, casual atmosphere to kick off their journey,” remarked EE Coordinator Jeff Penn, as he opened a jar of hot fudge sauce. “Who doesn’t love ice cream sundaes?”

     The Extended Essay, a 4,000-word independent research project, begins with a detailed proposal, which students presented to their mentors. Topics this year range from “The role of the state in dystopian literature” to “The effects of cinnamon on immunoresponse.” Students have one year to complete their work, with approximately five hours’ worth of guidance from their supervisor. “This is very much about student independence, about them showing what they have learned, and what they can do, when it comes to sophisticated academic research,” added Penn. “Supervisors are there to offer support and advice, but the students are firmly in the driver’s seat.”

     “I think it will be fun,” said Cristina Castillo, who is supervising an EE about the effectiveness of camera angles in film. “It’s a topic that I’m personally very interested in, so I’m excited to help someone else discover their interest in it as well.”

     “I’m so excited – I love my topic!” exclaimed Beatriz Canals, a junior who is writing about the social constructions of motherhood in Puerto Rico. “I know it’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m motivated. My supervisor is super knowledgeable about the topic and has already helped me a lot.”

     The IB Diploma is the most prestigious secondary school credential in the world. Baldwin became the first – and only – full continuum IB school in Puerto Rico in 2016.