Alturas Prep junior wants to feed her need for learning - East Idaho News
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Alturas Prep junior wants to feed her need for learning

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IDAHO FALLS — Sarah Shirts is a junior at Alturas Preparatory Academy. She is a member of the school’s International Baccalaureate Diploma program and is an accomplished handbell performer.

The IB Diploma program is an intensive two-year program that offers advanced pre-university classes. The classes are similar to that of Advanced Placement (AP) courses but are internationally recognized.

Shirts told that, unlike most of her program-mates, her interest in the program is not to use it as fuel toward a grandiose career. Rather, she applied for the program expecting it to satisfy her constant need to learn new things. And while she said she would be happy being the person who cures cancer or is in the public eye for personal or professional achievements — things she expects from fellow members of the program — that has never been her dream.

“When I imagine what I want to do, what path I want to go down, it’s not anything grand,” Shirts said. “I want to have a job that I enjoy and (gives me) enough money to support what I like doing, my hobbies — I love traveling.”

She has considered potential career paths since she was a child and has only settled on one thing — that it will have nothing to do with history.

While history is a subject that struggles to maintain her full attention, Shirts is interested in almost every other field — math, analytics, science and reading especially. She also loves music and plays the handbells in both an ensemble and as a “solo ringer.”

Shirts has only just begun considering her educational path beyond high school and has not made any determination yet — though she reads through recruitments information from “one or two colleges every day.”

One thing she is focused on right now is her CAS (creativity, activity, service) Project, which is part of the IB Diploma program.

Shirts is one of four students planning a trip to Peru, where they will learn from, immerse themselves in and serve the local community and culture. She said that her group started with several project possibilities and slowly narrowed it down to this trip.

“We wanted it to connect back to one of our other classes, and since Spanish is, kind of, all of our weakest (class), we wanted to do a Spanish-speaking country,” she said.

While the trip is being planned through CAS Trips — an organization that helps with these projects specifically — Shirts’ group is working on a fundraising event.

Given the chance to add anything she wanted, Shirts took the opportunity to endorse the IB Diploma Program.

She said that while it is a difficult and intensive program, and has forced her to limit the time she is able to devote to her hobbies, she recommends the program — if for nothing else than the experience and knowledge she has gained and will continue to gain.