2019 – TENNESSEE (NASHVILLE REGION)
Kennedy Musgrave is a senior at Hillsboro High School in Nashville and a candidate for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. After seeing a drastic decline (over 90 percent) in the number of African American students in her class pursuing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), Kennedy created the IB Achievers program for African American students on track to enter or pursuing the IB Diploma. The decline stemmed from a perception that IB courses were primarily for white students, and Kennedy felt there was an implicit bias that sets lower expectations for black students and discourages them from pursuing advanced academics. Kennedy plans and conducts meetings twice a month to encourage the pursuit of an IB diploma, discuss hardships faced by minority students, and celebrate the students' accomplishments. For one meeting each month, Kennedy invites African American professionals to speak about how they overcame barriers to become successful. Other meetings address topics such as study skills, time management, building relationships with teachers, finding balance, preparing for exams, and planning for college. Kennedy believes that IB Achievers has challenged the administration and faculty to think about their duty to recruit diverse students and to create environments that foster inclusion and celebrate the richness that diversity adds to the learning environment. Kennedy has secured funding to provide leadership training and an operating budget for next year to ensure IB Achievers continues for years to come.