by Shadin Kitma
Sometimes, it's the simplest things that lead to great successes.
Such, it seems, was the case for German European School Manila (GESM) 11th-grader Alyana Liepach, who recently got accepted into the University of Europe in Berlin. Asked how she applied and what might have made her application stand out, she answered, "I sent them a link to my website that serves as my portfolio. Otherwise, I just went through the normal application process."
Alyana is a student of the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP), with a focus on visual arts. Only introduced at GESM (and in the Philippines) in 2021, the IBCP is a senior high school offering designed for students who want to focus on a specific career path. The program includes rigorous training, and aims to give students as much practical knowledge and experience as possible before graduating.
Originally a student of the more academically-oriented IBDP (Diploma Programme), Alyana shifted to IBCP upon attending an orientation about the program by GESM's partner school Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD) in September 2022.
At the time, she just knew it was a program that better suited her interests. Seven months and a spot at her preferred University later, she knew she'd made the right choice.
Alyana is due to start her Film & Motion Design course at the University of Europe in September 2024. Among others, she chose to apply at Uni Europe primarily because of their wide selection of programs. That, and because it's situated in Berlin -- "a young, cultural, creative city," she remarked.
Alyana is the first-ever IBCP student at GESM to secure a tertiary education spot in Grade 11. An achievement, for sure, but the sample size she is in is small. IBCP is just in its second year at GESM; countless others might still repeat the feat in the future. To call her acceptance "special" might sound a little pretentious to some.
But however many follow in her lead, firsts are firsts. The day Alyana received her acceptance letter will always mark an important point in time, not just for her, but for GESM.
Success will have to start somewhere. For IBCP at GESM, that start is Alyana. Always will be.