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A DP grad looks at 40: Part three—to all of us

Diploma Programme (DP) graduate Tara McCook reflects on the value of being open-minded and using your IB education build a brigher future. This is ­­her third story in our graduate voices series.


By Tara McCook

My original plan for the last installment of this reflection on my IB education and its meaning at midlife was going to center on my newfound career as an educator. But looking around at the world and what’s happening right now, it is far more appropriate to speak more broadly.

We are at a critical juncture as a society—the decisions we make together as a world will impact the future of every living thing on the planet. These are serious times that call for serious reflection. We, as members of the IB community, are uniquely prepared for the type of cooperation and collaboration that will be required to face the challenge of the future.

“We have a vital, important role to fill in the global conversation.”

To the young people in school today: Be open. Be courageous and creative in examining the world. Remember to look for truth in a world that is far too willing to cast facts aside. Don’t be swayed by easy answers that create easy scapegoats. Don’t allow people to build walls between you; be the force that breaks those walls down and opens opportunity for all to shine. IB is building you into the kind of thinker and leader who can work with others to move us forward. You have the tools. I can’t wait to see what you build with them.

And to the alumni, educators, administrators and parents of this community: Listen to your children. Honor their engagement with the world. Too often, children are written off as having nothing of their own to say. Critics of children who speak their hearts and minds accuse them of parroting what the adults in their lives tell them to say, denying children their autonomy and agency. We know better. We know what children are capable of. We know their independent, curious, adventurous spirits. We know their passion and incisive analysis. They are the heirs of what we have created, and their stake in the future of this world is high.

“IB is building you into the kind of thinker and leader who can work with others to move us forward.”

I am so grateful for how our community shaped me. The value of this education, of this way of thinking and being in the world, goes well beyond the classroom. And all of the learning I did as a child still empowers me, even in mid-life, to ask the hard questions and make sure no voice is left out of the conversation. We have a vital, important role to fill in the global conversation. Let’s go out there and show the world what we know: that a community of committed, creative, open thinkers can make the impossible not just possible, but real.

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Tara L. McCook is a graduate of Murphy High School in Mobile, Alabama, USA. She continued her studies at Christopher Newport University, Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Georgetown University Law Center and George Mason University in the United States. She is a lawyer, curriculum strategist and trainer working in the public accounting industry, and in her spare time enjoys cross-stitching, writing and relaxing on the Alabama Gulf Coast. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here

To hear more from Diploma Programme (DP) graduates check out these IB programme stories. If you are an IB grad and want to share your story, write to us at We appreciate your support in sharing IB stories and invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and now Instagram!

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