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What's up with CASt?

Updated: Oct 16, 2019

Creativity, activity, service (CAS), one of the three core components of the IB Diploma programme is not only an opportunity for students to learn from project-based experiences but it is also a school activity that can differ from the stress of the IB and provide insight to the real-world that might sometimes be lacking inside the classroom.

As you might be aware, or not, St. Francis offers prizes for students that have created exemplary projects and put in a considerable effort into their experiences. Disclaimer, this newspaper is also a little CAS experience for us. For the prizes, it is the students who nominate each other. The problem with this is that many times we are not aware of some projects that people are working on. Therefore, to make this voting session easier, the St. Francis Post is issuing a list of some CAS projects we wanted to highlight!

Antonia Neves took on two volunteer roles during her vacations this year. One working in collaboration with the Albert Einstein Hospital Paraisopolis Unit, Antonia, in the position of recreation counselor, was tasked with supervising and watching children play, helping them choose interesting books to read, and developing and coordinating fun activities to play with them. In her other role, now interacting with elderly people, she was once again faced with the position of organizing activities, but with the added bonus of sometimes dressing up with funny clothes, telling jokes and chatting about life stories with her older companions. Below, Antonia describes the main takeaways of her experiences:

“The atmosphere in Paraisópolis was amazing. The children were very energetic and kind hearted. From the first day, they made us feel like a part of their close-knit group. My time there was filled with joy, fun and most importantly, learning!

Conversely, the atmosphere in Vila Mariana was different. The senior citizens were very interesting and wise. The highlight of this experience was the personal interactions I shared with them and their positive attitude towards life!”

André Andugar has been volunteering this year in a foundation called "mãos na massa". The project consists of building and adapting homes in communities in need for people who are mentally and/or physically disabled. The work he has done in impoverished regions has really helped develop living standards and infrastructure for families and people. Here are a few words André has to share regarding his experience:

"The Mãos na Massa project has opened my mind. It was through this experience that I was given the opportunity to see a world different than my own - of people who struggle to live comfortably, of being deprived of work and with poor living standards that don’t fit their needs. This allowed me to have a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the world and my environment."

For more information on the project and if you wish to donate, visit the link below:

Manon Zarvos has become a volunteer in the AACD (Associação de Assistência à Criança Deficiente) institution during her vacations and has learned a great deal with this experience. Because of how inspiring volunteering for AACD was for her, she was encouraged to share some of it with us today. Here are a few words Manon wants to say about her experience:

"My task here is to teach the kids swimming lessons. It is very impressive because they turn out very well in the water despite their physical limitations, and they are always very optimistic. Sometimes it's difficult because I'm in charge of 4 children and there are some that require a lot of attention. I would also like to point out that we are in need of pool toy donations, so if there is any way any of you want to contribute please don't hesitate to contact me, the kids really love them!".

Maria Fernanda Mendes has been volunteering at the Make-A-WIsh foundation on-and-off for two years now, helping both with the wish-making and with supporting the foundation's efforts to expand to other international schools. Here is a small message she wishes to share with you guys:

"Working with the Make-A-Wish foundation is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done. In MYP4, I got to carry out the wish of a 4-year-old girl suffering from Leukemia and it was an extremely transformative experience that I cherish dearly, and now I get to teach people how to do the same thing I did and, all cheesiness aside, "spread the magic". I now deliver presentations to many schools around São Paulo advertising the "Kids-for-wish-kids" program which allows high school students to volunteer in the foundation despite being underage. I loved doing my project and seeing the smile on that little girl's face was such an amazing experience. So I'm glad I was finally able to bring the project to St.Francis! I now want to get two more schools involved.".

José Alvaro Santos is really passionate about fighting climate change and believes that people need to start taking more initiative. José has been using a bicycle as his main means of transportation for three years now. He does so as an individual attempt to address climate change and takes action on his own as a concerned citizen. Below are a few words José wishes to share.

"The goal of my project is to convince as many people as possible to come by bike to school. I may do this by, and you will hopefully hear more about this during assembly, accompanying people to and from school, or by offering any guidance to people who need it. I want to do this because the world is in critical condition, global warming has to be fought and we, the students of St. Francis, have to leave the bubble that we are stuck in, where everyone talks about the issue of climate change, but no one tries to take action by themselves. My project is a very simple one, but I aim to achieve something great."

Henrique Caldas has recently been indulging in writing poetry for one of his CAS projects, and after secretly working on a poetry anthology, he is ready to share it with the public. Below is a small description of his project:

"I never expected writing anything worth publishing and sharing with the world, dreading the idea that others could read and judge my words. But now is the time. More often than not, you don't realize the importance of something until you use it for the first time. That illustrates my relationship with poetry. Although I learned how to read and analyze poetry because school and personal interest taught me to, I internalized how to write it out of emotional necessity. I felt like, throughout my teenage years, I had to find a way to portray my feelings in order to take power away from their negative side and appreciate the beauty of the positive. So, with the intent of using poetry as therapy, I wrote an anthology called "The Heart's Betrayal" made up of 12 poems arranged in 4 chapters, with illustrations drawn by me. I know that compared to everyone in this article, an anthology of poems seems so self-centered and not worthwhile but for me, it represents my personality, and maybe someone can relate to its contents".

If you are interested in reading it, just click the image below.

Co-written by: Henrique Ankerkrone Caldas


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