Garibaldi Secondary grad Timothy Ro is now studying at Berklee College, the prestigious music school in Boston that’s produced a star-studded list of alumni who’ve combined to win hundreds of Grammy, Oscar, Emmy and Tony awards.
“I am thankful every day for being able to be here and play music with such talented musicians from all over the world,” said Ro. “In my second month here, I already feel a tremendous improvement in my musicianship simply being around people better than me, but more importantly, being around people who love music just as much as me.”
The list of notable Berklee alumni that Ro admires includes: Quincy Jones, Diana Krall, John Mayer, Esperanza Spalding and Alan Silvestri – to name just a few.
Ro took English and music International Baccalaureate (IB) certificate courses at GSS because he wanted to set himself apart from other applicants when it came to choosing where he wanted to study music. He also wanted to broaden his knowledge so that he would be better prepared for post-secondary studies.
IB courses offer students a rigorous academic curriculum that helps prepare them to make a smooth transition to post-secondary education. Garibaldi is one of just 16 International Baccalaureate World Schools in British Columbia.
“IB students excel in post-secondary, specifically university, as they have acquired in-depth knowledge and developed understanding across a broad range of disciplines, and they apply critical and creative thinking skills to approach problem solving and making decisions. The IB experience is truly a positive stepping stone to post-secondary success,” said Garibaldi Principal Ian Liversidge.
Grade 11 and Grade 12 students interested in the IB program at Garibaldi have two options: taking one or more individual courses as certificate courses, or taking all courses in IB for grades 11 and 12 and earning an IB Diploma.
Both certificate courses and the full diploma give students the opportunity to receive advanced first-year credit at most universities in Canada and internationally for all Higher Level (HL) courses. Garibaldi also offers an IB Middle Years (MYP) designed for students in grades 8 -10.
“IB not only taught me time management, problem-solving, and communication skills but I was also able to transfer credits from IB and opt-out of many first-year courses,” Ro said. “This saved me a lot of time and I was able to take certain courses that are not usually available to freshman students.”
Ro wouldn’t hesitate to recommend IB to young students because he says it helps them to stand out from other university applicants by demonstrating their commitment to academic achievement.
“In addition, IB credits will save students a lot of time and give more freedom in terms of courses that they will be able to take. IB will also teach you important values and strong work ethics that will help you for the rest of your life,” he said.
Since arriving at Berklee, Ro has been most impressed by the dedication his fellow musicians have for their craft.
“I’ve met some of the best musicians in the world here yet they are constantly re-inventing themselves and working just as hard as anyone else. However, these are some of the most humble people I’ve ever met and they deeply inspire me to constantly try my best and strive for greatness.”
Ro says his goal is to become a songwriter and a music producer, working with artists that he admires. “I hope to inspire people with my music in the same way that my favourite artists inspired me.”