Dublin Villager

CAS offers students a well-rounded educational experience

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The International Baccalaureate program can put a major focus on academics, but CAS ensures students a well-rounded educational experience.

CAS -- Creativity, Action and Service -- is part of the IB Diploma program at Coffman High School and allows students a respite from challenging academics.

The program doesn't come free of challenges however, and provokes students to get involved with arts, help others and work physically to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Students were set to show off the lessons learned through the CAS portion of the IB Diploma program with art, music, presentations and food at a fair Wednesday, April 17.

Junior Jack Wills focused on the action portion of CAS for the fair. He participated in the Dublin Crew rowing team and said it helped him reach for excellence.

"IB classes are pretty strenuous,' Emily Lynch said. "Activities help you forget about other things in life. You can get away and relax."

Part of this year's program reflection was about the holocaust. Students created butterflies for the butterfly project at the Holocaust Museum in Houston. The students contributed to the museum's effort to collect 1.5 million handmade butterflies to represent the 1.5 million children who died during the holocaust.

"We added our own personal touch (to the butterflies)," Lynch said. "One person made theirs out of wood. It was nice to see personality on the artwork."

Students were also asked to reflect about people who have had a significant impact on their life after reading the book Tuesdays with Morrie.

One of the five tributes Eunice Kwak completed was for her parents.

"I chose my parents and family and I thank them for everything they've done for me," she said.

"It was a good book," Mona Shafiq said. "It taught us how we should appreciate what we've had. We don't look back at how others have given to us very much."

Reflection was a large part of the program as students must reflect on their activities and write down how they feel.

"You really have to think about it," Pranav Pamidigantam said. "I volunteer at the hospital and I have to really think about how I feel when I'm there. That's the most hard part."

For service, students also participated in the African Library Project and helped collect 1,000 books and $500 to open a library in Ghana, Africa.

Other service projects took a group of students to Wright Elementary to help out with students.

"A group of us go to Wright Elementary every Friday and do an activity with the kids," Eleni Christofides said. "That's been one of my favorite things to do. They call us their high school friends."

Samira Yusuf volunteers at Riverside Hospital discharging patients and said the experience has helped her appreciate life more.

"I hear interesting stories. One lady who had a stroke was in the hospital for a month," Yusuf said. "She was so excited to leave."

As Dublin high schools decreased the school day from eight periods to seven, CAS could not fit into the schedule, so students had to carve out time from their own schedules.

The extra effort was worth it, Maddie Conway said.

"We're just becoming better people by accepting other people and accepting ourselves and making us better," she said. "It makes us whole as a person."

Yshan Sethi said the program helped him step outside his usual interests.

"I think a big part of CAS is being well-rounded," he said. "I'm a big music guy, but this opened me up to be more active."

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