The students in Canyon Del Oro High School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program are used to giving their all when it comes to education, but last Tuesday, they got something back, and it had a larger-than-expected dollar amount attached to it. 

That was no doubt a relief to the 40 students who make up the program, each of which incurs about $800 dollars in expenses while seeking a baccalaureate degree, one that allows them to earn college credits while pursuing their high school diplomas.  

But those expenses, which are about $105 per college credit test and $250 in registration fees, weren’t about to stop these students from doing what they do best – putting their minds to work to solve a problem.

Along with other members from the IB program, Angus Elder and Citlali Aguilar-Canamar were two of the students who helped host a yard sale, prompting other students, parents, and teachers to participate. In a few weeks, the yard sale brought in $1,340.

“We knew we needed to raise the money somehow, because the program is pretty expensive,” said Citlali. “It felt good to be a leader on this.”

But the efforts didn’t stop there.

Prior to the Oct. 28 yard sale, a group of IB students approached the Sun City Vistoso Community Foundation, a charitable organization aimed at improving the future and quality of life of area residents. After hearing the students’ proposal for help, the board’s vote was an easy one.

“When they left after their presentation, it was a slam dunk,” said Shirley Chorney, president of the foundation. “They showed us all the hurdles they have to jump through to be in this (baccalaureate) program. You hear so much negative about kids these days, but these kids, we are proud to say will be our future. They were articulate, had wonderful presentation skills and language, and they sold us on the concept.”

It was apparent how sold the foundation was when they presented the check to an auditorium full of IB students at CDO’s lecture hall a day after the yard sale. 

Initially agreeing to match up to $500 of the money raised at the yard sale, the foundation went far beyond that, writing the baccalaureate program a check totaling $3,000.

“We were very excited to be picked, and even more pleased with the amount of the check today,” said IB Booster President Ruth Canamar, who became emotional. “This is exactly what the IB program is about. Reaching out to their community. I’m just thrilled. We pay a lot of attention to our elderly communities who give to us, and I think the kids have a lot to learn from them.”

Amphitheater Superintendent Patrick Nelson was also in attendance, and he took a moment to acknowledge the Sun City Vistoso Community Foundation and other community members for their involvement in aiding the baccalaureate program.

“It’s people like this in our society who are going to get kids like this, who are committed to doing things the right way to get this society back on track, so I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for that,” he said.

The baccalaureate program is in its first year of operation at CDO High School. All money raised will go toward helping reduce expenses for students participating in the program.

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