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Parker Jones, Xander Jones, Shandiin Largo and Caitlin Nockideneh, all 2019 alumni, and Kelly Charley, a 2017 alumna, were honored in a ceremony on the first day of school on Aug. 19.

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FARMINGTON — Navajo Preparatory School recognized five alumni who have earned diplomas from the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

The IB program is for students — ages 16 to 19 — and consists of six subject groups as well as core curriculum that encompasses critical thinking, developing research and writing skills, and awareness of global issues.

Navajo Prep because an IB World School in January 2014 and had its first IB diploma recipient in 2017.

Of the 52 students who graduated in May, four earned IB diplomas in addition to their high school diplomas.

The five students — Parker Jones, Xander Jones, Shandiin Largo and Caitlin Nockideneh, all 2019 alumni, and Kelly Charley, a 2017 alumna — were honored in a ceremony on the first day of school on Aug. 19.

Donna Fernandez, IB coordinator for Navajo Prep, said each student is a candidate for the IB diploma and they decide in their junior year whether to study for the certificate or diploma.

To earn the diploma, a student must pass six exams associated with the program and complete curriculum requirements, she said.

"We're so happy to celebrate the fact that we do have IB Diploma students that are achieving the full diploma," Fernandez said adding that 16 seniors will pursue the diploma this year.

Parker Jones attended the event and will start classes at Brigham Young University in September.

"I'm very glad that I had the opportunity," Jones said.

His brother, Xander Jones, has started the fall semester at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. He was represented by their mother, Launa Jones.

Largo is attending Bowdoin College and Nockideneh is at Stanford University. Their parents attended the ceremony on their behalf.

Charley was the first Navajo Prep student to earn an IB diploma and is starting her junior year at Arizona State University.

"I'm very proud of her. She's paving the way. Hopefully she's an encouragement for others to follow and see that it's possible," said her mother, Deidra Charley.

Shawna Becenti, head of school for Navajo Prep, said last year the school set out to increase its IB diploma rate by one.

"We're super excited that we exceeded our goal and our expectation to four," Becenti said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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