IB Visits UNLV Honors College during Retreat Field Trip


IB Diploma Program Seniors on Field Trip to UNLV's Honor College during Retreat. Photo by Joseph Kimsey

Joseph Kimsey, Managing Editor

“Never have I ever, uhhh, FAILED A CLASS,” one student proudly exclaims, leading the others to dash around the cafeteria. Not knowing what this organized chaos was, a few students off in the sidelines weighed in on the commotion, “We’re playing never have I ever.” This was one game of many that had been played this morning. Games like these weren’t common on a Friday morning here at Valley High School; then again, this was no common Friday. The International Baccalaureate Juniors and Seniors were preparing for their field trip to the Shark Reef and University of Nevada, Las Vegas respectively.  Many chose the college tour for their field trip option.


UNLV is a prestigious university in southern Nevada with a lot to offer to those who survived their high school career with Clark County, though most are unaware of what those offerings may be. 


“Going to the campus is a great way to see first hand what they truly have to offer,” one student revealed on her way to join the others. “Today is going to be a fun day.”


Mr. Willis, a junior IB History teacher at Valley was one of the chaperones on the UNLV field trip.


“No class at college ever prepared me for this.” Mr. Willis says, who has donated his time teaching the youth of Las Vegas for over twenty years, yet this is his first, yes,  first field trip. 


“There is a lot of responsibility when it comes to supervising students off campus,” he states. 


As the rest of the students cheered and laughed amongst themselves, Mr. Willis was asked about his own excitement levels regarding the trip to UNLV. 


“I am jaded,” he proudly responded.   “I have been there and done that too many times to be excited; however, when traveling with students, and anyone really, you are able to get a new perspective.” 


It’s that new perspective that motivated Willis throughout the trip and allowed him to continue on this adventure.


As each student boarded their tour bus, they were met with a high five from Mr. Willis. This was his own way of accounting for the students.  Keeping track of the students, and making sure they were on the right bus was the staffs top priority. 


Not everyone who went on this trip was planned though. The IB Seniors were joined by a surprise guest that no one saw coming. 


Within seconds, the whole IB Class was shouting one name. One name that no one could pronounce, yet everyone knew…


“MS. C!”


Welcoming the teacher all once had, she climbed aboard the bus and joined the IB kids on their trip…


Upon arriving at the campus, the students and staff were escorted by members of the Honors College to a classroom the size of one similar to high school. In this room, students were joined by David Sinclair, the Admissions Director for the Honors College. 

Valley IB Touring UNLV Honors’ College. Photo by Joseph Kimsey

“The UNLV Honors College, or as I like to call it, UNLV Plus,” Mr. Sinclair proudly states during the presentation.


When admitted to the Honors College of UNLV, students gain benefits reserved only for them. These benefits include access to a private Honors Lounge, smaller classes which are taught exclusively by PhD holding professors, and most importantly, priority registration.


“We like to call our students the Academic Athletes of  UNLV,” Mr. Sinclair adds.


 At UNLV, priority registration is normally granted to their star athletes, and rarely as a freshman otherwise. By allowing students to choose their classes first, they have an advantage over their non-honors peers. Honor Students are able to choose the classes they need at times that fit their schedule. 


“I have had students who are able to work full time jobs and show up to their classes thanks to priority registration,” Mr. Sinclair explained during the presentation. 


“The presentation opened my eyes to the Honors College,” IB Scholar Samia Hufane stated.


The presentation shed a positive light on both UNLV and the Honors College of UNLV. After the presentation, more students said they would consider going to UNLV, mostly due to the Honors College. However, the campus itself continues to hold many prospective students on the edge of acceptance. 


“For the cost of tuition, I want to feel like I’m going to a real college,” David Wilson confessed.


In terms of campus styling and layout, UNLV falls short compared to other colleges of the same size and era. Wilson’s father took part in the design and construction of some of the campus buildings, and even he believes they are “Plain.” This seems to be a common theme with CCSD students, yet not everyone feels this way. The college tour highlighted what lies hidden behind these sixty-year-old bricks. 


“Welcoming to Adulting!” the tour guide Emily says as she shows students a dorm room.


Emily lead the visitors into the Dayton Complex, which is one of UNLV’s on campus housing buildings. This building is home to suite-style living, which is a fancy way of saying “Four people, one bathroom.” The rooms are spacious and come with cable and internet hookups, as well as WiFi. Students saying in the Dayon Complex are also able to rent a refrigerator-microwave combo unit. The dorms are co-ed, however, there are only same gender suites.


For Clark County Students interested in living on campus, there is a scholarship that will pay one half of room and board each semester. To be considered for this scholarship, students must live in Clark County and submit their FAFSA by December 1st.


In addition to the stylish housing, UNLV offers an excellent recreation center to match. With four floors of weights, cardio machines, pools, basketball courts, and an indoor track to top it off, UNLV’s Rec Center is unbeatable in its price point of free with student ID.


“This place is great! It’s a nice, chill place to study and relax,” UNLV’s SSC President Hanna tells IB students. 


The UNLV’s Honors lounge is a place exclusively for Honors College students. The facility is on constant lock down, and only those authorized to can unlock it with their student ID. The lounge also contains an exclusive computer lab and is home to the offices of the Honors College Professors. 


“The Honors College lounge is best described by the three C’s: Creative, Comfortable, Community-orientated”, Mr. Sinclair finalizes at the end of the presentation.


As the tour ended, the students and staff of Valley High School were given time to not only digest the information gained through the tour yet also the food from the university Dining Commons. Students were given time to reflect on their options and consider new ones they never thought about before that day. The presentation to some was simply another college tour or a vacation away from school. Yet to others, this presentation ignited their future, starting them on a new path and opening their eyes to options they might not have seen before. Through visiting UNLV, students were able to gain a new perspective on college and life as a whole. It is important to keep funding field trips like these for not just IB or H&T, but for everyone.