IB Participates in CAS


Kahleia Corpuz

IB teacher Brooke Wheatley instructs IB students on how to do their CAS projects. Students were able to choose what they wanted to do their projects on.

Lisa Norris, Reporter

While being instructed by teacher Brooke Wheatley, International Baccalaureate (IB) students, especially juniors and seniors, get to choose what new experiences they’d like to do for their CAS projects.

CAS stands for Creativity, Activity, and Service, and the program has many IB students from higher grade levels like juniors and seniors, and freshman and sophomores that are IB as well who were separated into different meetings. The CAS program meetings were held on Wednesday, February 3, starting from 11 A.M. to 12 P.M. with just juniors and seniors, then 1 P.M. to 2 P.M. with freshmen and sophomores. The CAS meetings with freshmen and sophomores were more for a review on just what CAS is.

CAS is an academic program that allows students to choose projects they’d like to do an experiment on, and this is one of the requirements for IB students to achieve an IB Diploma within the Diploma Programme, which is for juniors and seniors. A Diploma Programme is a two-year educational program for 16-19 year old students, and it is a diploma that shows a student’s high education level. It is recognized by universities worldwide.

The CAS program is supposed to be a little challenging while being fun and enjoyable for students, and juniors are given one month to come up with and finish the projects they chpose and reflect on what they learned from it. Wheatley even gave some examples of what some projects students chose in the past.

“Scale the Strat, organizing the first Tedx Talk at Valley High School, fundraising for LLS, selling Yuda Bands are just some examples,” Wheatley said.

The project itself isn’t as complex as one might think; a student can have a simple process. It’s all mainly about what students learned from it in the end.

“It can be as simple as trying a new recipe because it isn’t necessarily about the activity, it is about the reflection,” Wheatley said. “What did they think was going to happen? What actually happened? How do they feel about it?”

Wheatley explained that the program is for IB juniors, and there are about forty-five students involved in the program. Since social distancing and virtual learning are happening to uphold COVID-19 precautions, students have to work on their projects at home and present during the meetings. IB junior Nathally Ramirez says that this is her first full year in the program of CAS as well as IB. She explains from a student point of view what the CAS program and reflections are like.

“CAS meetings are a very informative, yet complex environment, where everyone is welcome to ask questions and recommend types of projects for CAS,” Ramirez said. “Students are expected to complete their CAS reflections and hopefully finish our CAS project this year rather than senior year. We learn about a variety of service projects that benefit our community that can count towards our CAS project.”

With the hopes of her service to help her community in mind, Ramirez expresses what her project is going to be about and why it is meaningful to her.

“A project that I’ve been working on involves wrongfully incarcerated people,” Ramirez said. “I am thinking about creating a website where I share the stories of those who are wrongfully incarcerated and shed light on the issue. My interest in this topic comes from my uncle who was wrongfully convicted in 1999 and has not been exonerated yet. I’m hoping to spread awareness with this project to teach others how the justice system can fail at times.”

The CAS program helps to open up students’ minds and allows them to see opportunities to take advantage of situations in their communities, while expanding their awareness and understanding of things that can be done to help or improve them.

“I think I learned more about the traits of myself,” Ramirez said. “Sometimes you need to be open minded about other people’s ideas, and you need to be considerate and aware of others’ thoughts. You learn how to be committed. I learned that you don’t need something huge to make an impact in the environment or community; one small detail can make a huge difference. Most of the time, you can do a good deed and someone might not respond to it in the way you want them to, but the CAS program taught me that it’s okay. The simple fact that you made an effort to do a good deed is the valuable part….The CAS program, I’d say, allows you to reflect on yourself and notice your weaknesses as well as your strengths.”