Franklin High Student Earns District’s First IB Bilingual Diploma

  • Jonathan Riess

    Published July 14, 2020

    Franklin High’s Jonathan Riess is the first Williamson County Schools student to earn the International Baccalaureate (IB) Bilingual Diploma.

    To receive the diploma, a student must complete their classes in two languages chosen from the studies in language and literature courses. Jonathan completed the necessary IB Program courses in both English and German.

    “The main idea of the IB Bilingual Diploma is to demonstrate that you are able to effectively communicate in two languages on an academic level,” said Jonathan. “I heard about the opportunity to earn the diploma and took it.”

    Students may also earn the diploma by earning a grade of three or higher in a studies in language and literature course in addition to earning a grade three or higher and an individuals and societies or science subject. Both courses must be taken in different languages.

    “Jonathan actually qualified for the IB Bilingual Diploma on both counts,” said FHS IB Coordinator Ray Scheetz. “Jonathan has many qualities of a great IB student. He’s naturally curious, takes genuine interest in multiple subject areas, values language and culture and is consistently pushing himself beyond the fundamental requirements of his coursework.”

    Initially, Jonathan was drawn to the IB Program because of the global mindset presented during the courses. However, he says academics aren’t the sole reason to enroll in the program.

    “The curriculum alone isn’t what makes a class and the IB Program great, it’s also the teachers,” he said. “I think it’s almost universally accepted among IB students that Mr. Scheetz’s class alone is totally worth doing the entire IB Program.”

    After graduating, Jonathan plans to attend the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and study math and physics. He highly recommends students look into IB Program if they want something a little different.

    “You’ll never be bored; you’ll learn quite a bit; and you’ll definitely have something to look back on for your high school years,” he said. “The teachers are great, and it doesn’t hurt to have an education that doesn’t only focus on your own perspective and culture.”