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Ironwood IB student leads the way in assisting Mexico

(Photo courtesy Alexa Spitz)

PHOENIX — It’s amazing what words, a phrase, an expression or even a mission statement can do.

For Ironwood High School senior Alexa Spitz, the beginnings of her incredible desire to assist others started the summer before her freshman year, when she took a trip to a marquee university.

“My inspiration came from my attendance at Notre Dame Vision the summer after my eighth grade year,” Spitz said. “Their mission statement is ‘how will your gifts change the world?’ That really made me think and reflect about what I was doing and what I was good at and how I can use that to help other people.”

Spitz has already made a substantial contribution to make the world a better place. As president of the Spanish Honor Society, she has led the organization in collecting clothes, toys and food that she will personally deliver in Mexico with her family.

“When we give to the people, we take a picture with them holding the box with all the things in it,” Spitz said. “So now it’s going up on the bulletin board. That way the club can see we’re actually making a difference in these peoples’ lives.”

Spitz is a full diploma candidate in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Ironwood High School and she is ranked seventh in a class of 445 with an unweighted GPA of 3.92. Her weighted GPA is 4.9.

A big influence through all of Spitz’s high school years is her Spanish teacher, and she has applied her advice and teachings to her passion in helping the community.

“She’s really motivated me to work with the Spanish speaking-community especially,” Spitz said. “I teach swim lessons, so she’s also motivated me a lot on how I teach my classes to be more loving and understanding, and motivate the kids to learn rather than to just to pass.”

Spitz is on the varsity golf and softball teams. She uses her experience from being active in the community to help bring success in her respective sports. For the softball team, she’s a pitcher and plays a key leadership role on the team.

Last year when Spitz was playing on the softball team, she broke her dominant hand. That forced her to make a unique change in her life.

“I had to reteach myself how to write and because of that, this hand is weaker, a little odd and has arthritis,” Spitz said. “I’m actually a lefty golfer now. I was a righty before. I’m excited this season to try to switch hitting in softball and see if I can do it.”

Her left golf swing has been working out for her thus far, but that wasn’t the only profound thing she has done since breaking her hand. Shortly after the incident, Spitz still had to take her SATs, IB exams and finish her finals with her left hand while she still had a pin sticking out of her right hand. She scored well on all of her exams.

Where Spitz is having her academic prosperity is an achievement in itself. IB is a rigorous international program that has about thousands of schools from Singapore, China, France and England that are all competing for the highest exam scores.

“We are one of the 21 school in Arizona,” Spitz’s IB coordinator, Christine Kuczka, said. “Not only does she test in all of the stuff for Arizona, but she also takes the IB exams. The classes that she is testing in she will get college credit. It’s a very rigorous program and it’s not just taking the classes, but it’s doing the exams in May.”

Spitz also works in the office at Peoria school district office for the athletic director. In addition, Spitz has her own photography program taking free senior pictures to those graduating students who can’t afford their own senior portraits.

She wants others to find success of their own and helps others by offering advice to those who have similar goals.

“I found a hundred kids that thought the same way I did,” Spitz said, “(classmates) that were passionate about things in their own way, and we were all able to motivate each other even though we didn’t all believe the same things or think the same way. We all had a passion, and being in that environment pushed me to be a better person.”

Her decision that summer to participate in the Notre Dame Vision program was no coincidence considering Spitz has wanted to go to that university her entire life. She understands the level of difficulty to get entry into the school, but with her accomplishments and impactful contributions in the community, her acceptance is not that far out of the question.

“In IB, we stress the total balance student and part of her community service, her athleticism and all that is what we strive for, so she’s a good model for the IB program,” Kuczka said.

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