IBMA Student Excellence Awards: 2020


An IBMA Student Excellence Award in the amount of $500.00 will be granted to at least one student enrolled in a PYP or MYP Programme, and $1,000 to at least one student enrolled in a DP or CP Programme, provided that the IBMA Student Excellence Award Committee determined that there was at least one applicant per program level who qualified for the award. The application and Student Excellence Award guidelines are here. The winners for 2020 are:

  • Career-related Programme: Gavin Bassett, Gar-Field High School (Michelle Schneider, CP Coordinator)

    Gavin is a recent graduate of Gar-Field High School. As a student at Gar-Field HIgh School, he served as the co-organizer of Read 2 Lead, where he led in the collection and sorting of children’s books to be sent to Ghana in order to fill a newly constructed children’s library. Gavin dedicated over 100 hours to this endeavor. He also collected shoes to be donated to children in Ghana, creating a partnership with the library. He was able to collect over 300 pairs of shoes.

    Gavin was also a leader on the Gar-Field High School varsity baseball team. He served as team captain and fostered camaraderie among his teammates in this role. He was a leader on the field and in the classroom.

    Gavin has experienced the IB continuum, participating in the IB Primary Years Program, the IB Middle Years Program, and the IB Career-Related Program. He truly represents the IB Learner Profile in action.

  • Diploma Programme - Inaya Amal Zaman, Washington International School (James Bourke, DP Coordinator)

    Inaya is a student at Washington International School. Diversity work is extremely important to Inaya. She has served as the leader of the WIS Student Diversity Leadership Collaborative club for three consecutive years. The club meets weekly and aims to create a safe space for the school community to discuss and understand issues relating to diversity and inclusion. Topics range from school-specific incidents to global events.

    Inaya is also a founder of the initiative Network, Exchange, Train (NExT). The goal of NExT is to train groups of students at different independent schools to evaluate diversity and socio-emotional safety at other independent schools around the U.S. Results are communicated to school leaders and students plan follow-up visits to check for improvement.

    Inaya has served for three years as a tutor for Students Standing, a club that works with non-profit organizations to pair student tutors with students abroad who desire to learn English over Skype. The tutors have worked with refugees in various Middle Eastern countries and students in Colombia. Inaya also created curriculum for Students Standing, including lesson plans, worksheets, diagnostic testing, and activities for both beginners and intermediate learners.

    Inaya has also attended the Global Issues Network (GIN) conference for the past two years. The GIN conference engages students from different schools and encourages them to discuss, present, and learn about important global issues and events. She currently serves as a GIN workshop coordinator where she is responsible for organizing workshops that adhere to the theme Individual Identities and a Shared Humanity.

  • Middle Years Programme: Natasha D’Cunha, Tucker High School (Elizabeth Harper, MYP Coordinator)

    Natasha is a student at John Randolph Tucker High School. She has participated in National History Day, a competitive program that allows students to explore history and share their findings with like-minded, interested peers. Natasha started this project to promote student engagement, and as a result of her efforts, the team has competed at both the district and the state level, allowing for an ever greater opportunity to educate others.

    Natasha also participated in Relay for Life and promoted student involvement in her school through e-mails, marketing, event meetings, advocacy, creative fundraising, and team communication. She looks forward to continuing her support of Relay for LIfe for the remainder of high school.

    Natasha is a gifted pianist and uses her gift of music to Inspire others. She participates in classical music performances at retirement homes, and constantly seeks new retirement venues to visit in order to share the gift of music. Natasha’s goal is to promote a positive, relaxed atmosphere where residents can sing along. She also plans to create a podcast of these performances so she can share the experience with a larger audience.

    A service project that was particularly meaningful for Natasha was knitting hats for premature NICU babies. She worked collaboratively with others, honed her knitting skills, and created something that allowed her to foster a spirit of care and concern for younger children. She even included a hand-written note with each hat to make it more personalized for each family. This project had a significant positive impact on Natasha's local community.

  • Primary Years Programme: Rose W., Thomas Jefferson Elementary School (Carrie Checca, PYP Coordinator)

    Rose participated in GIVE DAY, a service-learning event at her school, where students partnered with non-profit organizations and created activities to support them. She raised money through bake sales, raffle nights, coin challenges, and family and corporate sponsorships to support these missions. Rose has also been active in Operation Earth Watch, an activity that promotes environmental awareness, for the past six years. Through Operation Earth Watch, she worked collaboratively with other students to clean local parks and playgrounds. Rose is also involved in several sports, including competitive swimming, soccer, lacrosse, and basketball. She has been awarded the Hippo Award for her swim team for two consecutive years, an award which identifies her as the most valuable member of the team.

    Rose feels the IB Learner Profile attribute she best exemplifies is Knowledgeable, because she is always aware of what is going on around her. When Covid started spreading worldwide, she realized that some students might not have resources that they needed with schools closed, so she took action by recording herself reading books and created a website on which to post them. She shared the website within her community so anyone who needed access would have it. Rose continues to work to improve the site based on feedback and she cites Shuri from Black Panther by saying “Just because something works, doesn’t mean it can't be improved.”