International Academy of Macomb Principal Eric Sturm speaks at the 10th anniversary celebration of the academy Jan. 4. The academy is in the same building as Chippewa Valley High School’s Ninth Grade Center in Clinton Township.

International Academy of Macomb Principal Eric Sturm speaks at the 10th anniversary celebration of the academy Jan. 4. The academy is in the same building as Chippewa Valley High School’s Ninth Grade Center in Clinton Township.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


IAM celebrates 10-year anniversary

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published January 8, 2019

 The International Academy of Macomb choir performs at the celebration.

The International Academy of Macomb choir performs at the celebration.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The International Academy of Macomb, or IAM, opened in 2008 with an enrollment of 125 students.

On Jan. 4, it celebrated its 10th anniversary with an event in the Chippewa Valley High School auditorium. The audience consisted of students, alumni, faculty, staff, local superintendents and county officials.

The IAM was conceived under the leadership of Macomb County superintendents, as well as the Macomb Intermediate School District. It accepts students from 18 school districts in Macomb County who wish to pursue an International Baccalaureate Diploma.

“I would like to thank our teachers, both past and present, for making the IAM such a special place,” Eric Sturm, IAM principal, said in his welcoming remarks. “We are proud of our school, and this day, we are here to celebrate the fact that we in Macomb County have a opportunity to be part of the global community of the International Baccalaureate schools.”

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and MISD Superintendent Mike DeVault, as well as students and staff from the IAM, also delivered remarks.

“When this first opened, I didn’t understand what it was all about,” Hackel said. “It seems like these 10 years went by fast. It’s amazing seeing how far this program has progressed. A lot of the credit goes to the faculty and staff and the connection with the students who are willing to learn.”

DeVault spoke about how diverse and dynamic Macomb County is.

“People choose Macomb because of the programs,” he said. “When we talked about starting an IB years ago, the team and I were told there’s no way it would work in Macomb.”

DeVault thanked Chippewa Valley Schools Superintendent Ron Roberts for his work in finding a building that could be used for the academy.

“I never would’ve believed 10 years ago that this program would be so successful,” DeVault said. “I love telling people that this is the best high school in America.”

The IAM was recently cited by U.S. News & World Report in 2018 as being the No. 1 high school in Michigan, the No. 7 school in the nation and the No. 1 magnet school in the nation.

A magnet school offers special instruction and programs not available elsewhere, designed to attract a more diverse student body from throughout a school district.

IAM 2012 graduates Shaima Khandaker and Erin Winters also spoke at the celebration.

Khandaker, who currently is in medical school at Michigan State University, said that when looking back on her time at the academy, “It feels like home and was a place that I truly found myself. Aside from academics, the IAM gave me the skills to feel comfortable moving forward. I learned the value of personal connections.”

Winters described the academy as a family.

“The IAM prepared me for so many leaps in my life,” she said.

One of those leaps was attending Howard University in Washington, D.C., and then studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa.

“I want you guys to know that this school prepares you for a lifetime of leaps,” Winters said.

The academy focuses on a rigorous academic workload, combined with a world approach that requires four years of a secondary language and learning about the cultures of other countries. Traveling abroad is also an option.

The IAM is in the same building as Chippewa Valley High School’s Ninth Grade Center.

“An IB education is one that ensures that students are prepared at the highest educational standards to gain entry to the most prestigious universities here and abroad,” Sturm said. “It helps to prepare students for the world that lies ahead in its inherent uncertainty.”   

Judy Depew, a founding educator of the academy, said the creation of the IAM gave educators and students the chance to be pioneers.

“Working at the IAM has been one of the most formative experiences of my life,” she said

To learn more about the academy, visit www.iamacomb.org.

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