For the Chronicle
Lecanto High School International Baccalaureate senior Ally Thomason has the educational opportunity of a lifetime. She is a finalist in the running to earn a spot in University of Alabama’s (UA) University Fellows Experience and could receive one of eight elite scholarships only awarded to high-achieving Fellows students.
Thomason traveled to Alabama over the weekend to interview in the final round for the UA Honors College program and elite scholarships, and will find out the result of her efforts in about a week and a half.
“They accept about 25 to 30 students a year, so I would be happy to get into the program,” Thomason said. “It would be optimal if I could get that scholarship.”
“If we have a student that can do this, it’s Ally,” IB Director Darrick Buettner said.
Thomason was already offered a spot in the honors college on a full-ride scholarship based on her test scores. The school also extended an invitation for a walk-on spot on the track team. If she lands the Fellows Experience and scholarship, she will have no financial worries as a college student.
“If you get the academic elite scholarship, its full tuition, housing, food, technology and a stipend for foreign-abroad,” Thomason said.
The school could award her up to $15,000 a year to attend college. Ally credits some of her college-bound success to participating in the LHS IB program.
“It’s the preparation and just understanding what I needed to do — being prepared for tests and a harder work load and wanting to pursue something at a higher level,” Thomason said. “Mr. Buettner does it all.”
In the IB program, students are required to participate in creative, active and service-orientated activities. Class content is advanced and testing is progressive, challenging students with oral discussions, interviews, multiple papers, and reading and short answer questions.
“It’s much more spread out so the student has more opportunities to see what he or she can do,” Buettner said.
Some colleges specifically seek out IB graduates and tend to give IB students incentives and the highest scholarship opportunities. The IB program at LHS is so successful students are transferring from other local area high schools and private schools.
“It shows the quality of program,” school board member Thomas Kennedy said.
* To find out more about the IB program, visit http://ib.citrusschools.org.