Understanding CAS

Article by Razel Suansing

When one attends their first club meetings in high school, they would wonder why CAS is always deliberately mentioned. They wonder why the words “this CAS experience can be revoked” are so threatening to many of the upperclassmen. Some underclassmen wonder about the stigma surrounding CAS. Is it difficult to fill in CAS experiences? Will this be something that I will come to dread in my later years in high school? In order to answer these questions, one must understand the basic components of CAS and how it affects the individuals that go through this process.

The IB believes that CAS, which stands for creativity, activity, and service, lies at the heart of the Diploma Programme. The IB states that they believe CAS can create opportunities for students to explore their capabilities outside of the classroom. “With its holistic approach, CAS is designed to strengthen and extend students’ personal and interpersonal learning,” states the CAS subject brief.

Mr. Woods, the ISM CAS Coordinator, believes in this ideology as well. “A very good school should allow more students to shine and more students to be recognized for their various talents. CAS has encouraged students to see that doors are not closed. I believe from experience that holistic students are more educated in the broad sense of the word.”

Mr. Woods also believes that Bearcats are indulged with a variety of activities that are offered for CAS at ISM. “The high quality of the program here is the normality. Students from other schools would describe the opportunities in ISM as amazing. This is because the school has invested to the best of its ability in co-curricular activities.”

Upperclassmen  such as Tanvi A. (11) and Jayne R. (11) think that CAS does not add to their stress levels. On the contrary, Jayne believes that CAS acts as a stress reliever for students commenting, “It definitely adds to the workload a bit, but it is not stressful at all. In fact, it allows us to [unwind] and [give] back to the community in a positive way.”

Tanvi addressed concerns that students may have with the workload that CAS gives students stating, “Many people think it’s time consuming, but that’s what it teaches you; it teaches you to prioritize and work harder.”

Mr. Woods also expounded on the CAS Project and what it entails. “The CAS Project is a more thorough version of a CAS experience, because there are 5 stages. iCare allows students to understand the process and teaches them what a project might be if they would like to do one of their own.”

Students must not dread CAS but rather utilize it to encounter new and meaningful co-curricular experiences. CAS contributes to the holistic development of students and teaches them to explore new ideas outside the ones taught inside a classroom. Finally, CAS encourages students to step outside of their comfort zones and develop themselves into a more complete and well-rounded individual.