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IB students’ art show years in the making
Jefferson IB Show at Blue StarHigh school assignments usually last one semester at most. But for students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate art program at Jefferson High School, their work has gone far beyond that. 

“They’ve worked so hard, and we have been developing that creative thought,” said art teacher Amber Smith. “They developed things that interest them, things that affect them, and look into artists for inspiration. But they draw their work from personal experience. I’m extremely proud.” 

For Smith’s seniors, the Blue Star Arts Collective show on Friday, March 26, is the culmination of two years' worth of work. During this period, Jefferson’s Advanced Placement and Diploma Program students created art for the exhibition, which they titled “Artists’ Wonderland.” They began with developing ideas about art, studying various artists, building skills and evolving as artists themselves. They followed that process by actually creating their work. 

Senior Anthony Allende’s pieces centered around stereotypes. 

“I see stereotypes of myself, communities, different cultures, different groups of people. Some of them are inspired by the media,” he said. 

His two sets of three art pieces featured people he sees as victims of stereotypes, as well as himself.   

His favorite piece is titled “Personal Identity.” In pastels, colorful shapes in the background have words written on top that speak to the stereotypes against him and his family’s heritage. 

“It was a reality check with different aspects of myself and how others are viewed,” Allende said. “It makes you think.” 

Community member Jeremy Manginell stopped by the art show. He works with children to young adults at his job, and he wanted to see what kind of art the Jefferson IB students came up with for their projects. He believes that the pieces show a side of the students that they may not tell you in words. 

“I think it’s great. It’s awesome showing how they thought about the issues and how it affected them on a personal level,” he said. “It’s cool to see them displaying a part of themselves and San Antonio that people don’t always see, and to do it from their perspective is important.” 

Another student, sophomore Star Sanchez, says her pieces were cohesive elements that tied together to tell a story about herself. 

“For me, I wanted something to express myself and put myself into my own artwork,” Sanchez said. “I love fantasy. I wanted my pieces to connect as if you find this book and it’s filled with mythical creatures. This piece connects with this.” 

She even said the art process was surprising. 

“I came to realize that this is representing myself,” she said. 

Ninety percent of the students completed their pieces virtually because of the COVID pandemic. Smith said that the artwork will now be uploaded and submitted to anonymous graders with the International Baccalaureate program. The projects will factor into their final grades. The projects also include a 400-word rationale about their art, an explanation of how they curated their exhibits, an analysis of two different artists from different time periods, and documentation of the learning process and growth they experienced throughout the process. 

Smith believes that art is more than a class or an exhibit, but a way to grow into emotionally smart, socially responsible people. 

“Especially in high school, students have so many emotions, especially now with COVID and our recent ‘Snowmagedden’ event,” Smith said.  “These seniors haven’t seen each other in person in a long time. “Art is a way to deal with that. You have to be taught how to put how you’re feeling into words or art.” 

Jefferson High School is one of nine campuses within the District that offers the International Baccalaureate framework to students across Bexar County through an application process. An IB education is acclaimed worldwide because its active and engaging curriculum prepares students for college and primes them to excel as lifelong learners for a global society.  

SAISD hosts the largest number of IB and IB-candidate schools throughout Bexar County and is the only school district in the county to offer an IB education at the elementary, middle and high school levels. It offers the full IB continuum – Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma programmes – in two SAISD high school feeder patterns. Six campuses are in the Jefferson High School feeder, including Jefferson, Longfellow Middle School, Woodlawn and Fenwick academies, and Huppertz and Woodlawn Hills elementary schools. Three campuses are in the Burbank High School feeder, including Burbank, Harris Middle School and Briscoe Elementary School. 

To learn more about the International Baccalaureate framework and the application process to enter the IB program at SAISD visit 

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