Article by: Gitika Bose

ICARE? Saturday Service Trips? Golf? We all ask ourselves the same essential question: How can we get more CAS hours? Now that seniors approach the last few months of high school, they face the deadline for CAS hour submissions. CAS stands for Creativity, Action and Service, which are the three criteria in which students are encouraged to get involved. Upon completing an activity, the student receives “hours” in one of the three areas of CAS. By March 18th for IB Diploma candidates and March 30th for certificate, seniors must complete the 150 hour requirement, which should be evenly distributed among the three criteria within the two years of IB program.  While some students may exceed the required amount of hours and others, struggle to keep up, each student will have an exciting two years filled with new experiences.

“I’ve put down cleaning Mr. Relf’s window for 1 action hour. This is how badly I struggled to get action hours.” shares Aaron Sobel, a senior at ISM. I think we can all agree that getting hours can be tough, especially if someone isn’t into sports. Aaron, however, assures us that “we all have hobbies, and those hobbies often translate into CAS hours somehow.” So, yes, it is hard sometimes because we may not enjoy sports or arts, but eventually we will find a hobby that we enjoy and that just happens to translates into the hours we need.

Chantal Marauta is now happy to have her CAS hours completed, but initially struggled. She says, “Thank goodness for dance and Ms. Yek, who helped me log in a lot of action hours for rehearsals!” Chantal is the perfect example of someone who chased her hobby of dancing and translated this hobby into CAS hours. She continues, “Overall, I didn’t feel too much pressure getting the hours done, because I planned ahead at the beginning of my junior year and have realized that a lot of the activities I was going to do covered a lot of my hours.” Current sophomores and juniors may want to take this into account as they get ready to face the IB, and most importantly their senior year. Like Aaron, Chantal also believes that “doing the hours helps you live a more fun, more productive life outside of your coursework!” She thinks that even without the requisite for hours, she would still be engaged in the same activity but  “not as much reflection!”

While CAS hours have motivated students to work harder, in reality, it is their own interests that tend to guide them. Service is a huge part of ISM, and “the CAS program really does allow the ISM students to further elaborate and experience service in school,” believes Jeongmook Lim, senior at ISM. He concluded that even without the required hours, “the majority of ISM students are very active and would have achieved a similar amount of hours.”

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