CAS! Creativity, Action Service

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity Crew in Battle Creek, Michigan during April vacation, 2015


By C.A.S. Coordinators Jennifer Walts (West) and Jim Barrasso (East) with help from the Assistant Coordinators, Chloe Roselander-Ginn (East) and Christine McDowell (West)

cas logo westCAS_EastCreativity, Action, & Service (C.A.S.) is one of the three parts of the Core of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Curriculum (along with Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay) and plays a very important role in an IB education. C.A.S. is designed to make sure that students not only learn from the rigorous academics but also learn from their activities.

Independence House Benefit

Sturgis students performing at a banquet for Independence House to raise awareness for teen dating violence.

The designers of the IB Program felt it was important that students not be one dimensional, and that they get out and interact with the world they live in. Creativity, Action and Service activities are designed to facilitate this meaningful and reflective process.

One of the most enjoyable parts for us, as C.A.S. Coordinators, is sitting down with the students and interviewing them about their two-year C.A.S. experience. We hear the most unique stories: deciding to raise money for the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay, helping out with Special Olympics at Barnstable High School, collaborating with others to win a big case in Mock Trial,  win a state tournament volleyball game, or even to “stay alive” in a game of paintball. As we view our students’ portfolios, we have the opportunity to listen to students teach themselves how to play the ukulele or learn how to cook cultural recipes for their family members.  As C.A.S. Coordinators, we’re blessed to have a unique “inside” view into what our school is all about. It’s a fun, fulfilling element of our job.

Senior service day

Senior Service Day students helped transform a 1,000 square foot bed of weeds into a phytoremediation garden with monarch butterfly habitat.

It’s also a pleasure when we can help facilitate student service projects like the Community Garden at Sturgis West, blood drives at both campuses, winter clothing collections for local shelters, playground builds and so much more.  Our students are up to some amazing work. We are very, very proud of all the good we do in the community for others – but also for ourselves and our own growth.

Cape Cod Maritime Museum

Senior Service Day students at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum helped clean up old boats that were in storage.

Seniors at both campuses participate in a Senior Service Day during Senior Week before graduation, which is a culmination of their past two years of CAS.  This year, some of the service sites included the MSPCA, the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, Cotuit Center for the Arts, Homeless not Helpless shelters, Housing Assistance Corporation shelters, the Cape Cod Maritime Museum, Zion Union Heritage Museum, and the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) which had students rebuilding an old mountain biking trail in Barnstable.  The CAS coordinators, and Sturgis students, are always seeking to connect with organizations in and around Cape Cod.

What does it take to succeed in C.A.S.?  Over the course of two years, we like to see four main objectives accomplished.  Here are the “Big 4” that Sturgis students must do to meet C.A.S. requirements:

-Participate in at least one ongoing collaborative project that including at least two out of the three elements of C.A.S.

-Engage in CAS activities an average of 2-3 hours per week

-Document evidence of all 8 learning outcomes, with a good balance of creativity, action and service at the end of two years

-Reflect in a meaningful way on a regular basis that shows the student’s growth

We asked students if we could share some of their meaningful reflections. We hope you will be able to see the reward our students’ are finding through this program. Enjoy!

Barnstable Land Trust Internship – Greta Nelson, Class of 2016 – West

“So far the work I am doing for my internship working at BLT’s Coomb’s Bog property has consisted of surveying the land, using a handheld GPS to mark property lines, marking out spots to install wells, flagging blueberry bushes, and actually installing one of the wells.

I am donating my time twice a week after school to work on the property. The Land Trust’s ultimate goal is to understand the groundwater flow of the property and figure out what type or types of ecosystems they should try to maintain. One they figure that out, they can properly manage the property to encompass the needs of the surrounding neighbors and sustain the ecosystem.

The plan is to install 9 wells across the 3 bogs on the property. Each well is made of PVC pipe with systematically drilled holes installed to let water flow through. We then dig them into the ground, reaching down past the water level and then record as often as possible the water flow by measuring the fluctuating water levels. Our hope is that this will give us a better picture as to what the ground water looks like beneath the surface of the bog and will help us understand why the levels in each bog vary and fluctuate so dramatically from each other.

We have to consider the ethical implications when deciding how to manage the property because there are many different parties that have a stake in the land, and we must take them all into account. The neighbors want it conserved to use for recreational purposes, but we also need to consider water quality issues, bird habitat issues, water flow issues, place species issues and decide where to sacrifice and where to conserve in order to maintain all of these issues at some level.”

Jack Perry

Jack Perry (Class of ‘15)

Campaign for Bike Safety – Fostering a Cycling Culture at Sturgis – Ryley Newton, Class of  2015 – West

“As part of a broader outreach to our community, Jack Perry and I attended the most recent Cape Cod NEMBA meeting to arrange for a mountain-bike oriented senior service day option. We worked with the local bike club leaders to find out how best to arrange an opportunity for other cycle-curious students at Sturgis to get involved in the mountain biking in Barnstable and decided that a trail building and maintenance session could easily be set up. The details are being worked out, but I see this as an opportunity both to give back to the community and to also perhaps induce a greater interest in mountain biking for any who haven’t experienced it fully yet.”

Cross Country – Cooper Heilmann, Class of  2016 – East

East Cross CountryOverall, I feel that I have accomplished the majority of my goals for my final cross country season at Sturgis.  After some of our top runners Parth Patel, Holden Ramage, Collin Bailey, and Luke Savini left the team for various reasons, I knew it was my job to step up and take my place at the top five runners.  We had a relatively small team this year; however, competition was still fierce, as our top three runners Tom Hommand, Brian Kelsey, and Cam Henchy stayed with the team and all began to run at paces under six minutes per mile.  I quickly made my way to the position of fifth runner on the team, behind Liam Doherty.  He, Charlie, and I were a powerful trio who were relatively close pace-wise, and were all improving.  Combined with our top three runners, we made a solid secondary group that greatly contributed to the team’s overall success.  However, the team lost Charlie, and I was struck by an injury in late October.  However, I still managed to accomplish my goals by the end of the season.

Throughout the season, I showed perseverance and commitment to the Cross Country team.  I showed up to as many practices as I possibly could, and I always looked forward to practice after school.  I constantly pushed myself during practice so that I could beat my goal pace of 6:30 per mile.  I pushed my limits, often running ahead of my normal group when I felt that I had the energy in me.  I practiced regardless of whether I was sick or tired.  Even when I became injured, I came to practices for the routine workout before the run, and I spent many weekends attending important races to cheer on my team which I had become so fond of.  I feel that I may have been more committed to cross country than any other activity this year.

I also worked collaboratively with others during the season in a similar manner I did last year.  I befriended freshman Ted Sandland and encouraged him to try to keep up with the members of his team who he had the potential to catch up to.  I kept telling him that he had the potential to be a top five runner if he tried hard enough and pushed his limits.  Regardless of whether or not my encouragement was a factor, Ted improved rapidly and eventually reached a personal record pace exactly equivalent to mine, at 6:20 per mile.  I also worked with Liam Doherty and Charlie Kiernan early in the season; during practices, we ran and trained together because our paces were all relatively close.  During the Wrentham invitational race, the three of us stayed close together throughout the race and helped Sturgis attain a strong finish despite the adverse heat and dry weather conditions.

I feel that I have also challenged myself more this season than before.  I entered the season with specific goals (to be a top five runner, and to have a pace of 6:30 or greater), and I constantly tried to push my limits so that I could achieve these goals.  During a particular race at Dennis-Yarmouth High School, I decided that I would try harder than I ever had before.  I decided that I would use Liam Doherty as a target so that I could be sure that my pace was faster than normal.  The conditions during this race were perfect; it was a flat, relatively short course, and one perfect for setting a personal record.  So I challenged myself to this, drove myself faster than ever before, and ended up finishing seconds behind Liam with a personal record of 6:20 per mile.

Finally, I have become more aware of my strengths and areas for growth.  During this final season, I discovered that if I diligently set my mind to a specific goal, and if I push myself physically farther than I thought possible, I can achieve that goal.  That is one of the most important elements of being a good cross country runner; you have to be willing to push yourself well beyond the limit of physical comfort in order to improve.  I discovered that my strength in cross country, what made me a good runner, was my mental drive to succeed.  I think that because I was so driven psychologically to improve, the running itself came naturally.  However, this may have been one of my weaknesses as well.  I was so determined to keep improving and to let nothing stop me from being a better cross country runner that I lacked the wisdom to take a break when I knew my body needed one.  Before my last race at Sturgis’s home course, my leg was hurting me pretty badly.  However, I was so determined to beat my previous course record that I ignored the pain and raced hard anyways.  I ended up permanently injuring my leg, but I finished with a pace of 6:39 per mile, as opposed to my previous course record of 7:01 per mile.

In all, I am deeply satisfied with this year’s cross country season.  I have made some amazing memories, strengthened friendships, and achieved some major goals.  I now look forward to reuniting with many of my teammates (and hopefully my coach) during track & field in the spring.

Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge – Alex Sheremet, Class of  2016 – West


Alex and the Habitat for Humanity Team Michigan crew

During the trip to Battle Creek for our Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge, I was able to participate in a multitude of service work for the community of Michigan. On out first day of volunteering, we were to work at a food bank, sticking labels onto individual packets of Gushers fruit snacks, as well as packaging weekend lunches for children who may not be able to afford food otherwise to eat when they aren’t in school (as they get fed for free in school during lunch). The work itself was actually pretty fun, despite being repetitive. Once I got into a rhythm while packaging, I found myself wanting to keep packaging, and challenging myself to try to go faster and faster. When we were finished, we had probably packed somewhere between 1000 and 1100 lunches, and labeled a solid 2000 packets of Gushers. When we reported this to the workers at the food bank, they were amazed at how quickly we had finished, and told us that the number of lunches which we had managed to package in about 4 hours was about how any lunches they packaged and sent out in a whole month. Upon hearing this, I was very proud of myself for being involved in such a serious contribution to the community. It was very moving to know that because of us, the food bank would be able to feed twice as many kids that month.

That day I had also seen something that I was never exposed to living on Cape Cod. When I got home, I decided to go to Burger King and get myself some lunch. As I got up to order, I noticed that the kid who was in line in front of me was paying for his order with food stamps. This struck me in a weird, unexpected way, as it was the first time I’ve actually experienced something of the sort in person. When I got back to where we were staying I told the rest of the team about what I had seen and opened up to them about how I had realized how desensitized to actual poverty we really are, living in the community in which we live. While we do see poverty every now and then, it isn’t as prevalent as it was in Battle Creek. Being able to experience this meant a lot to me, and opened up my eyes to what different parts of the country are like. Another instance of this happened the next day, when we pulled up to the house on Eagle St. One member of the team pointed out that if there wasn’t a Habitat for Humanity sign on the lawn of one of the houses, one wouldn’t be able to tell which house we were assigned to work on, as they were all pretty run down. I guess it just opened up my eyes to how big the issue really was, and it made me feel proud that I was making the initiative and helping to fix it.

Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District Internship – Brooke Paulding, Class of  2016 – West

Katies Ice Cream

Katie Kimball

As of today, my first featured business article for the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District has been published on the Hyannis Main Street website! I ventured out to Katie’s Ice Cream to interview the production manager, Katie Kimball, on February 26, 2015. I have previously written about how much trouble I have had contacting business owners prior to contacting Ms. Kimball. Therefore, I was thrilled to be able to contact the Kimballs in late February, although I was reluctant to reflect on my breakthrough before I knew if the interview was actually going to occur or not. However, after I sent persistent emails to my boss, as well as business owners including Ms. Kimball, I finally managed to record an interview, allowing me to submit the featured business article currently posted on the Hyannis Main Street website.

After the initial excitement of finally managing to establish an interview date faded somewhat, I became very nervous about carrying out my first interview. I spent some time analyzing the previous featured business article on the website and selecting questions that would allow me to write a sufficient piece. I had to work very hard not to allow my nerves to get the best of me and avoid the interview, and actually conducting the interview was a bit difficult seeing as I was interviewing the production manager/daughter of the current owner rather than the Katie’s Ice Cream’s original owner. There were points at which I had to adjust questions while maintaining my composure because answers to previous questions rendered my later questions irrelevant. After approximately a ten minute interview I had asked all of my questions and therefore stopped recording the interview on my phone. However, since I had to wait for my ride, I ended up continuing a conversation with Ms. Kimball for another ten minutes or so, in which she gave me incredibly valuable advice as to how to more effectively contact business owners on Main Street. I learned that I should try more frequently to go door to door looking for interviews as the weather improves, and that Winter is the planning season for many Cape Cod businesses, so being interviewed by a high school student will take second priority to many business owners if I am not persistent.

Ultimately, I am very pleased with the outcome of my first interview and featured business piece. My boss, Mary Ellen, informed me that Ms. Kimball praised the intern who interviewed her (myself) in a conversation with Mary Ellen, referring to me as very kind and professional. I am excited to employ some of the advice that I received from Ms. Kimball in establishing my next interview, and I am surprisingly proud of the fact that my work has been published online. I am excited to continue my exploration of journalism while promoting the improvement of Hyannis Main Street!

Check out Article #1 here: Katie’s Homemade Ice Cream  published: March 16, 2015

Katie’s Ice Cream was opened by the Kimball family on Hyannis Main Street in 2002, when Katie Kimball was a freshman at Sturgis Charter School on the very same street.

The Kimball family has been serving ice cream seasonally for more than ten years, consistently pleasing customers with a classic ice cream shop aesthetic and a twenty-first century efficiency. The Kimball family had planned to open an ice cream business for quite a few years prior to the establishment of Katie’s Ice Cream, although current owner-to-be, Katie Kimball, experimented with a number of different career paths before deciding that she wanted to return to Katie’s Ice Cream permanently. Katie uses a fresh business perspective in collaboration with her mother, the store’s current owner, to ensure that customers leave with smiles on their faces and ice cream on their chins. The Kimball family will continue to impress ice cream lovers with new ice cream flavors and other delicious creations for many summers to come, so make sure to take the time to stop by 570 Main Street the next time that you are craving a sweet treat!

Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) – Bali Morgan, Class of  2016 – West

Bali on Tucker

Bali on Tucker at IEA SHOW January 18th, 2015 at River Wind in Pembroke, MA

Yesterday was my 2nd to last IEA show of the season before Regionals and Finals etc. The show was only 30 minutes away in Pembroke however it lasted all day until 4:30 and was extremely slow. The facilities were very nice though, and there was a huge indoor are to watch the riders go. My class ended up going at around 1:00 and I drew a pony named gunner who was a very spunky appaloosa that was very speedy. I was a little nervous when i first got on Gunner because he would not stand still, he kept pacing around and we had to walk him in circles to keep him calm. I was very tense which made Gunner tense, which the handler pointed out. She helped calm me down which in turn kept Gunner calm which was very nice of her. My warm up went pretty well. Gunner became pretty head strong and forward going however I did what his handler told me and kept calm and spoke to him. I kept my hand high to keep his head up and held a strong seat. Our course went well also! Gunner was fine at first but then towards the end when we had to bend from a diagonal to part of a line, he got very speedy and i pretty much just held on for dear life. Overall, we got 3rd which was pretty good for the fact that he was a tad crazy. 3rd= 4 points which means I need two more points for jumping to qualify for regionals, I have one more show! For flat I pulled a horse named Boston. He was very lazy and as  I  watched the people in the classes before me riding him, I noticed they had trouble getting him to canter.  Knowing this, when It was my flat class I kept Gunner very forward and we had pretty nice transitions! I got 3rd again out of 8 people which means I also need 2 points for flat to qualify for regionals . Hopefully, all goes well and I receive at least a 5th for each of my classes next show so I can qualify for regionals! Overall, I got to practice riding one semi-difficult pony and a very slow horse. I learned that I need to work on keeping myself calm and in the moment, while also concentrating on my equitation.

Mock Trial – Lauren Benedict, Class of  2016 – East

Mock Trial East

Mock Trial East

With the Mock Trial season coming to a close I can’t help but think how far we’ve come as a team together this year, and how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to participate in this activity.

Learning Outcomes:

Working Collaboratively with others:

Out of any part of mock trial, I would say that this is by far the most important- as the entire premise of the trial relies upon collaboration with your team, and participating actively with everyone. I definitely believe this learning outcome was beyond met, as mock trial by nature is a synergistic, collective activity. I played two distinctly different characters throughout my participation in mock trial, and each one required elaborate collaboration with members of my team. For the prosecution, I took on the role of a professional witness- for the defense, a direct attorney. Each other these roles required a lot of collaboration and working with others for various reasons. As a defense lawyer, one is required to write a direct argument- essentially a line of questioning that they have practiced and been through many times with their witness, that is performed at each trial. The direct questioning cannot be done without the cooperation of not only both the witness and their lawyer, but also the help and advice of other members of our team, and our awesome lawyer- Mr Glenny! As a witness, I also saw the flip side of the coin, which was working with my defense lawyer to create a line of questioning that both of us could agree on, and memorize together in preparation for our trials.

Undertaking New Challenges:

One particular challenge that stood out to me this year was my decision to take on the role of a lawyer, and not just a witness for the team. Normally, I choose to act as one of the professional witnesses for either the prosecution or the defense – a personification I am most comfortable portraying, as this is the role I have always played since starting mock trial. However, this year we had a few people drop out partially through the season- so I volunteered to have a go at being a lawyer- and I loved it! (While I must say I still enjoy being a witness more). I’ve decided I’ll have to diversify my roles more in the future as well!

Show Perseverance and Commitment:

Participation in mock trial, naturally requires a lot of commitment and perseverance, as we prepare for months in advance for the few trials we have. Preparing for the trial requires reading pages and pages of case law, affidavits, and going over each of them thoroughly with the rest of the team. To do your best as a witness, this also requires memorizing tons of material, and being able to respond to questions on the spot.

Consider Ethical Implications:

While mock trial is an extremely fun extracurricular activity that primarily relies upon much of improv and acting, the main purpose of it is to allow students to get a feel for the sort of environment and setting one would be experiencing in a real courtroom. This goes to speak to the ethical implications that mock trial can have for those participating- as it is essentially a study of our judiciary system- which one could deem either ethical or unethical depending on their stance, and the particular case being discussed.

In the end, mock trial was an absolute blast this year, and I’m so happy we had the privilege to make it to states – even if we didn’t make it too far 😦 I found that mock trial is valuable to me in the way that it gives me an activity, that while requiring a lot of hard work and dedication, is an activity that I enjoy, so I therefore don’t find it as a sort of “work” that needs to be done- but rather something that I have fun doing. Additionally I had the opportunity to get to know a variety of other students from all different classes that I would almost never talk to had I not worked with them through this club.

During this activity, I had planned to meet various learning outcomes and goals; I planned to undertake a new challenge; plan and initiate activities while working collaboratively with fellow students, as well as develop these skills with my fellow Outing Clubbers. Throughout this activity I had also planned to increase my awareness of my strengths and weaknesses and grow accordingly.

Mock Trial – Maria Girardin, Class of 2016 – East

Mock Trial East and West

Mock Trial East and West

As a whole I think my contribution in Mock Trial this year was fairly successful but not as successful as my contribution last year due to having a less challenging role then. However, I have personally grown in my understanding and skills as a Mock Trial participant due to reflecting upon my experiences this year.

Undertaking new challenges: This year of Mock Trial was quite a learning experience. I was handed a role I wasn’t so enthusiastic to gain last minute because I had never done that kind of role before.  This became a challenge I had to work through. Cross Examination takes a lot of skill. You not only have to know every bit of information about your witness, but also understand how to use it to benefit  your case. You need to be quick to respond to objections and to an uncooperative witness and learn to improvise when necessary. You also need to always appear confident, speak clearly and think on your feet. When I was handed this role last minute due to someone dropping out, I must admit I was rather nervous, but also very willing to take on the challenge. It was hard to organize the cross without having the time as others did to ask questions and work through it with more experienced people or practice it very much. However, I tried my best to find places in my affidavit that could make my witness lose credibility.

Increased awareness of strengths and areas to grow:  My ideas for the Cross Examination I was handed were pretty good, but I soon realized in the first trial that I needed more questions that lead up to my main points so it was clear to the judge what I was trying to get at, but I also learned that I was quick with objections and could think on my feet on a good level. The thing I lacked was confidence and a solid outline of questions.

Show Perseverance and Commitment and Working Collaboratively with others: So I asked my colleagues for help. I asked some of the more experienced members what tone to use and if how to word some of my questions. Next Trial my score improved, but the judge thought we should memorize our questions and my opening as well to further improve our scores next time. So for the next week I began memorizing both my Opening Statement and Cross Examination and finally did not need any form of notes when reciting both.

Develop New Skills: Although we did not know whether the Prosecution or the Defense would play in the State round, as I said, I still prepared. From the comments from the judges and sheer effort I really improved at my Cross Examination. I felt comfortable walking about the courtroom, I had more confidence, I had more “context questions”, I was pretty fast to respond to the judge and witness, and had everything memorized. I came far since our first Trial. Sadly, the Defense went and not the Prosecution which I was on, but I was still very happy to have developed such skills in case I got that role next year.

Engaged with issues of global importance and Consider ethical implications:  In the end, I really learned a lot, not only about our specific murder case. I became very familiar with how lawyers, witnesses and judges function in a real courtroom. Having our trials in actual courts with actual judges gave me a new perspective on our judicial system. Having played a lawyer I found that some of the objections and general protocol made it very hard to lie and escape the facts of a case in a courtroom. However, I also found that the verdict of the trials we did  largely depended on the quality of the members and not the facts. In reality this was hard for me to comprehend; that sometimes prisoners may be sentenced or freed only on the basis of his/her lawyer’s skill level which I wouldn’t say is just at all. Also, lawyers have to be paid and probably the better the lawyer the more money they charge. Thus, maybe the people who can’t afford lawyers in some cases lose only because they were poor and couldn’t afford a good one, which is also very unjust.

Model United Nations – Althea Turley, Class of  2016 – West

Jacob ChagnonThe year has officially wrapped up for MUN, but as an officer I am still attending meeting, planning for next year, and fundraising. This year, my club-mates recognized me as a leader and elected me Secretary General of Model United Nations. Taking risks was something I had done a lot more this year than last in MUN and it’s an accomplishment I’m most proud of. I joined MUN my sophomore year and I didn’t know much about it or have any close friends join with me, but I thought I’d try it. I’m glad I did; MUN motivates me to pay attention to news stories, to think about others, and it’s a really great way to meet or become better acquainted with classmates and students my age, to practice public speaking, to present myself, and manage my deadlines. However, I was timid my sophomore year and I only did what I had to do.

This year however, I’ve volunteered to be first for the speaker’s list, given advice to others, and accepted nominations to write the country paper. I’ve enjoyed doing all the new things. I put in a lot of time and effort into MUN; the satisfactions of speaking my [country’s] opinions, making others feel more confident, and completing a long paper were pleasing. By my example, others have been motivated to work hard and well in MUN. Many have relied on me for advice, help and completing tasks. For example, before I was even elected, I took on the responsibility of writing a country paper on behalf of the entire club.

My classmates noticed my dedication to the club, seriousness of purpose, and enjoyed my company well enough to select me for the position. I hope to be prepared for next year through collaboration with my fellow officers. Tommy, Stephen, and I all have big plans for next year. We want to make the club a bit more intensive, which will be a fun challenge. I want to give back to the club that inspires me, and if I ever get super stressed and frustrated with my responsibilities, I want to remember why I chose to take on the position, and why my club-mates chose me.

Outing Club – Cooper Peterson, Class of  2016 – East

Outing clubOuting Club has always been an interest to me, and I was ecstatic when I heard that it was coming to Sturgis East! I immediately signed on and couldn’t wait to see what was coming up this year with Ms. Williams and the club. From the very first meeting we planned out a few trips to various national parks in the coming weekends. With the help from the large group of kids that were at these meetings, we collaborated and discovered that some times weren’t great for others, and therefore we planned accordingly so that everyone could get up to the parks at the right meetup time. At each meeting we did this so that we could all get to go on Outings together, whether it’s to a national park or to indoor rock climbing, regardless of the trip we found a way to get as many people as possible up there at the right time.

Climbing wall

Climbing wall

Although I had always loved to go hiking with my family, we didn’t always get the time to do so, and each time I heard one of my father’s hiking / hunting / gallivanting in the woods coming-of-age stories I had always wanted to have that experience. However I knew that I would have to grow and adapt to become a better hiker. This idea of hiking every other weekend or so was fascinating and excited me, however it was a new challenge for me as I didn’t get to do large scale hikes before, let alone with students that I didn’t know too well prior to the Club. However the Club turned out to have great people, both teachers and students, as well as great group leaders that knew the areas we were hiking and were more than happy to guide us along the way.

After the first hike or two, I had come to realize that I didn’t have as much experience Hiking as I would have liked to have. I had to develop my skills in order to grow, but also acknowledge where I hadn’t developed this skills previously. Listening to the other Outing Clubbers was really good experience, as I learnt so many things from Global Challenge participants that knew how to pack light but still bring lots of snacks. There were so many things to learn that would otherwise have been just a simple idea, such as bringing just enough water, but perhaps not needing three or four water bottles for a two or three hour hike. All of these skills I developed, and more, by participating in the Outing Club this year.

Outing Club – Amanda Carreiro, Class of  2015 – West

Outing Club Members at Penikese

Outing Club Members at Penikese Island

This club has been extremely important to me and over the years I feel as though I have taken on a leadership role. Although this year school got really busy and there was a lot going on with college, the club was still really important to me and we tried hard to keep it going. We accomplished in doing so because we had great outings this year. We had a great over night at Pekinese Island which was amazing and we had so many people interested that we had to schedule two trips. I was so excited that we had so many people interested because my wish for this club was to keep it going long past my time here at Sturgis. I hope that someday I can come back to visit and hear that the Outing Club is still going strong. I learned so much about myself throughout my time in the outing club, i learned how I interacted with people in different circumstances and I learned how important the outdoors are to me. These are things that I will carry with me for the rest of my life and these lessons are so important to me because of my time in outing club. I am sad to leave because of leaving this group and my real wish is that it continues on and that people learn some of the valuable lessons I’ve learned and that people fall in love with the outdoors so that someday they will be able to take care of the world that will live in.

Paintball, Sam Wood – Class of 2015 – East

The second paintball outing was actually an air-soft event at the paintball location. (Air-soft is a less painful version of paintball in which the weapons are more realistic but are usually motorized and shoot plastic pellets. It’s a lot harder to tell if you are out or get hit in air-soft). I assembled a posse of two friends of mine (Sander and Paddo and we arrived early that morning for the event. We attended it because there was a special thanksgiving event. I was not winning as I usually do in these kinds of games this time, so it gave me an entirely different perspective – the perspective of a losing side.

We were fighting a group of guys who seemed like all they did every weekend was play air-soft. Our casual team of players renting weapons was going up against a group of well-rehearsed wannabe soldiers with their own equipment and cheatier weapons. It was an experience. Mainly because now I understand what it is like to sustain heavy losses and not know where any of my teammates are.

Whilst wandering alone in an urban town surrounded by enemies, I had to wonder what it was like for lone survivor soldiers who were stuck out of their comfort zone. It was an uncomfortable and unsettling experience, made even worse by the environmental (it was snowy and freezing). I sacrificed warmth for mobility, which is a decision many soldiers may have to face in a range of different environments. (I recall a program about marine snipers in which they are either allowed to carry supplies and a lot of water in desert situations or they are given the option to wear a camouflaged suit and bring significantly less supplies (including water). Making the decision of being cold, mobile, and harder to see was a difficult one.

At the same time we didn’t really have any idea where the enemy group was, so we had to refrain from accidentally shooting friendlies who were not in their proper positions and too far up (if you’ve read my other reflection you’ll know how fun it is to be shot by your teammates, and yet I was still killed by teammates in a friendly area before the fighting started. I don’t know how).

But the thing that left the greatest impact on me was the very end of one of the final games. Our team was losing very badly and we all rallied and made a push (aside from myself because suicide missions aren’t really my thing) and I witnessed my entire team mowed down by heavy machine-gun fire from multiple enemy positions. Paddo was on point and took the brunt of the enemy fire. I had to pause once again and wonder just what it would be like to be in that scenario.  To be so heavily outgunned and the one who doesn’t run towards death, only to watch as everyone around him does. From these experiences, I don’t believe I am the typical grunt. I tend to think more in these situations than most of my teammates did. There’s that Navy SEAL saying about how there is no rush to “run” to your death. Take it slow. I tried to heed a lot of advice from the SEALS that I studied from my TOK presentation and their anecdotes. I think it helped.

Relay for Life, Liam Doherty, Class of  2016 – East

relayI am very proud of all that I have accomplished with this club, and what the club itself has accomplished. I have put in a lot of time and work into this club, and I feel as though it all paid off. I met all of my learning outcomes, and my experience with this club will definitely help me in life, and the money we have raised in the club will hopefully help in the fight against cancer.

Of all the activities I have done, Relay for Life definitely embodies taking new challenges for myself. While I have been captain of different sports and I have had many leadership roles, none compare to what I have done in Relay for Life. I have been in charge of basically every aspect of this club, from organizing meetings, recruiting members, getting approval for events, and putting on events. It was a unique challenge for me to have so much control over the club, and it definitely had its pros and cons. It was nice to be able to control the club and set goals and achieve them, but there was also a lot of pressure on me to make sure the club succeeds. I think that the club has been very successful and undertaking this challenge was worth it.

I did a lot of planning and initiating activities. I had to plan and organize every meeting that we have ever had this year, as well as all of the events. I had to set up for the CAS fair and organize that, as well as organize Tape-A-Teacher day and the Valentine’s Day card fundraiser, as well as continuously working on preparation for the big Relay event in June.

Working with others was a big part of this club for me, and it included both working with peers as well as many teachers. I had to work with all the members of the club to plan activities and talk about what we want to do with the club. This was sometimes as challenge with such a big group and certain members were very detrimental to the focus of the club, but there were also many members of the club who were really dedicated and fantastic to work with. I also have worked with Catherine and Peter a lot. Catherine has been so helpful and I am really grateful that she has offered to help me with whatever I need, and she has really helped the club a lot. Peter, the other President, has been much less helpful. He really has not done much for the club and I am not totally sure why he is President. He has not planned any activities or offered to help me with anything, so I eventually realized that I was going to have to do everything myself. Moving forward with the club, I want to pick Presidents for next year who will all work equally hard so that one person will not have to do all the work. I also have worked a lot with Mr. Mathews. He has been very helpful with helping me decide what to do with the club as well as registering for the event and certain similar things that I did not know how to do myself. In addition, I have worked somewhat with Mr Barrasso in order to get approval for events. I have worked collaboratively with a wide range of people which is great experience for me.

Showing perseverance and commitment was another goal of mine and I believe I achieved it. I have been dedicated to this club for three years and I have been working very hard all year as its leader. I never gave up even when the work was overwhelming and when people were not being helpful or respectful in meetings.

Cancer is definitely a major issue in the world. It can affect anyone; young, old, male, female, rich, poor, anyone from any country.  It is truly a global issue, and the whole purpose of Relay for Life is to help fund the fight against cancer. We spend all year raising money for the American Cancer Society, and helping fight cancer is the goal of our club, so I think that I have without a doubt engaged with issues of global importance.

I have also dealt with ethical implications in this club. One that has been difficult is asking people for donations. People work really hard for their money and a lot of people are struggling financially, so it can be hard asking for donations. But then, on the opposite side of things, people with cancer who are not able to afford treatment desperately need to have this money raised for them, which makes it hard to justify spending money on fun things. Another ethical problem that I experienced was when Prom Committee was doing a similar fundraiser to what we were doing. We were delivering candy and cookies to advisories on Valentine’s day, while Prom Committee was delivering “Crush” cans. I did not want to make any competition between the clubs, especially since Prom Committee had been doing their fundraiser for several years, so I approached a member of their club, Maggie, and we decided to team up and sell together to eliminate competition and maybe even be able to raise more money. However, Prom Committee was not able to sell because they did not get approval, but I am happy that we were able to solve the issue. While there were many ethical implications, another final example is how $30 went missing once. I ultimately decided to just use my own money to make up for it, since I did not know if I had lost it, it had been stolen, or there had been an error in the amount of donations recorded, and I did not want anyone to have donated and not gotten credit for it.

Relay for Life has helped me develop and improve many skills. I feel as though my leadership has improved thanks to the club. I was able to deal with a club of about 30 members and keep us on track and keep the members motivated and make sure everyone stays involved. The club has also helped me with certain business aspects, such as getting approval for events from Mr. Barrasso or Mr. Marble. I have also learned a little bit about accounting. Furthermore, the club has also helped me with organization and planning. I have had to stay very organized with all the money and planning all the meetings and keeping track of the members of the club.

Ultimately, Relay for Life has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I achieved all of my learning outcomes, and many more benefits. We have been able to raise a lot of money and put on several successful events. I hope that I have set up the club for even more success in the future, and that we will help even more people. This experience will definitely stay with me and I am very proud of all the club has achieved.

Resources on Homelessness in Cape Cod, Girl Scout Gold Award – Alex Cassell, Class of  2015 – West


The last two weeks have been very busy for me as I continue to work on my Gold Award. I received numerous emails back from the letters that I sent out. Last week I met with Bill Smith (CHAMP Homes), Marilyn Lariviere (Youth StreetReach) and this week I meant with Jill Scalise (Hospitality Housing), Bob Lynch (StreetReach), Mary Piersons (A Baby Center), and Judith McCullough (Faith Neighborhood Kitchen). They all provided me with all the resources that I asked for and recommended more organizations for me to contact. I sent out five more letters this morning and am hoping to have all my meetings over by the week after mock exams. I am learning a lot of new things throughout meeting with these people and the the great things that they do. I am even considering volunteering with some of them soon.

If there were one thing I should improve, I would say that I need to prepare some questions to ask them rather than keeping it conversation based. I am sure that if I thought about questions, important things would come up.

Once I have collected all of my information, I will be able to make my own brochure for some of them, copy the rest, and then being putting everything together. The more information I gather, the more excited I am! I am just hoping that I don’t come up short with resources. I want to have it be a substantial project. Also, I have realized that as I learn more, my project shifts in new directions. I am now thinking I may want to target my project at Hyannis rather than West Dennis and also I have considered seeing if a long-term club at school would like to carry on updating all the information once I leave Sturgis (project has to be sustainable).


Yesterday and today, I met with two organizations that I have included in my project. They gave me tours of their facilities and we spoke each for about an hour. They also gave me packages of lots of their brochures etc to be used in my resource collection. I have scheduled two more meetings for next week and definitely feel like I am on my way to a successful project. Currently however, I have been feeling that there are not enough organizations I have included, but after meeting with these two groups, they have each recommended about five more people to talk to that I hadn’t found in my research, so the project is growing in that way which I am thankful for.

I think that this project is going to take up a lot of time, but I think I am managing it with a schedule pretty well as of now. I hope that I maintain this progress at this speed without overwhelming myself. Once I have collected all the information and met with each group, I will just need to put everything together, make lots of copies and wrap it up. I plan to meet with the two people next week as well as the librarian with whom I am working with but whom I have not contacted since the fall to update her on the progress.

It has become much more clear how big of an issue homelessness is on Cape Cod and in the Hyannis area. I really hope this project helps them in any which way or at least that it provides recognition to the cause to other members of the community so that these organizations can continue to run successfully off of donations and volunteers, because that is what it has come down to.

Royal Cape Nursing Home – Sam Silverbrand, Class of 2015 – East

Well, this is one for the books. After an unsuspecting volunteer opportunity I’ve gained a second family at the nursing home, another 20 sets of grandparents. I’ve gained 2 more years of wisdom, laughs, sadness, experience and life learning for my future as well as encountered endless support in everything that I do at school and in my personal life.

Although this year I’ve been more of a visitor for visiting as a friend, I still love to go in and help out where I can. I learned a little bit about what its like to be suffering Alzheimer’s from the person’s perspective and also gained knowledge about how hard the nurses’ and the staff’s jobs are there. It is trying work, testing patience upon every hour during the night, every nurse call, every run to the bathroom. I have an enormous amount of respect for anyone who works at a nursing home, even if part time. It takes special people to help those who can no longer help themselves completely or at all.

This experience isn’t an ‘activity’ anymore. Its a life lesson, memories made, relationships founded, spirits lifted and people lost. Its what’s helped me grow the most as a person, looking at the perspective that not everything is about your own struggles at school and your family problems all the time, there is a huge world of people, lonely people who don’t have families to visit them when they’re old, who need love and attention and selfless acts from the people that walk in that door to help every day.

It’s been the most rewarding, difficult thing I’ve ever done, and I’m so thankful I did it. Here’s to a great outcome from CAS and the IB, thank you for making me put myself outside of my comfort zone to do something I was before terrified of doing. I owe it all to you (Mr. Barrasso)!

Sturgis West Garden Club – Greta Nelson, Class of  2016 – West

Go Green Spring Planting“Two weeks ago garden club worked with Homespun Farm to plant about 3000 onions and 150 pounds of potatoes. We worked for about 4 hours the afternoon after SAT’s.

Planting onions involved laying black plastic over the length of a bed and placing holes spread six inches apart. Then we made holes with our fingers in the dirt and planted onion springs in the ground. The dirt felt dry and still because we desperately need rain. For potatoes you made hills on either side of a ditch running down the length of the bed. you then make indentations about a foot apart and place pieces of potatoes with eyes already sprouting. you then push about 3 inches of soil back over the potatoes.

The field we were working in is owned by a family who lives in Barnstable Village and have allowed my mother to work the land for about three years now. It has a gorgeous view looking out over Barnstable Harbor and Sandy Neck. It made me realize how lucky we are to live on Cape and be able to grow food where we do.

Next fall we will come back and harvest the potatoes and onions and be able to donate over ton of food to the cape cod food bank, and engage with issues of global importance.”

Volleyball – Shannon Saffl, Class of  2016 – West

West volleyballI still cannot believe that this week is the last week of the volleyball season! It seems like it all went by so fast. We still have a game tomorrow and I was chosen to be a part of a select group of volleyball players to play in what I believe to be a tournament game type event this Saturday. The players and I were not chosen because we were the best on either team. I know that I certainly have a very long ways to go before I can be as good as some of the more experienced players on the team. We were chosen because if we chose to work hard, we could fill in some of the holes in the varsity team. I am very excited and hope that I can do my best in order to secure a good spot on the varsity squad!!!

Yesterday, we had the senior volleyball game against East. It was a very exciting game that made echos of nervousness creep all around the room. Our JV team had been itching to beat East ever since our last match against them (which we lost). I was played in the third game (the first one, we won, the second one we lost) and without my teammates’ support I would have never been able to serve well enough to grab us the winning game. I could not win the game alone based on my individual skill. My teammates helped me intensely. I’m extremely happy that I was able o play with them this year. The win against east yesterday, is not my win, the win belongs to all of us on the JV volleyball team.

I did great with my serving yesterday! I have Coach Hulse to thank for that. He set up pressure serving for me and that really helped me with my serving in the game. What I should continue to work on is my blocking, my passing to the setter from a serve and tipping.

World Challenge – Sander Goldman, Class of 2015 – East

Nicaragua 1 (1)

World Challenge Nicaragua

This trip was the most amazing experience of my life hands down, and I think I met every one of the learning outcomes and goals I set for myself.

Undertaking new challenges:

This experience was completely new for me. It was my first time travelling without parents, my first time travelling with a group of people my age, my first time climbing a tropical mountain, my first time doing this kind of community service, my first time travelling in a non-touristy way and my first time being around the same group of people for 10 days straight. But when I learned about this trip, I specifically told myself not to overthink it, not to worry about what might happen but instead to accept that it was going to be extremely difficult and completely new, reassure myself that there’s probably no way it would kill me, and just take the leap and sign up.

Increased awareness of my strengths and areas for growth:

During this trip I became very aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I became increasingly aware of my ability to stay calm and mostly positive in situations that made others upset. I was in general very good at not complaining when things were hard, and during the service portion I was very good at working hard and maintaining focus on the job. I discovered some weaknesses though, some I was aware of before and some that I wasn’t, such as my reluctance to interact with strangers and my mediocre social skills within the group (i had a good relationship with everyone, but I didn’t form any really close friendships and I kept to myself a lot), as well as my physical difficulties which became obvious when climbing the second mountain, and my complete inability to learn any spanish.

Develop new skills:

Before the trip I was pretty bad at dealing with heat, and I was really worried the climate of Nicaragua would make my time unbearable. However after a couple days working in 100+ degree weather I realized that I had developed an ability to simply ignore the heat. I would still be hot and sweaty, but I would just not let it bother me or get in the way of anything I was doing. I also learned how to play with little kids. I had never really interacted with small children before and I didn’t really like them, but after playing with Manuel (the kid from my next-to-last reflection) at the school, I finally understand how parents can do it and have so much fun doing completely meaningless things over and over just to make their kids happy.

Working collaboratively with others:

The entire trip was really one big exercise in teamwork. We had to plan our activities together, collaborate on money issues, work together to solve crises, support each other during the difficult parts. The whole team worked pretty flawlessly together most of the time, and when there were issues, I’d like to think I was part of the solution rather than the problem. When tensions rose, I did my best to remain calm and try to mediate things without making anyone angry, and I think it worked. Everyone shared resources and supplies to make sure we all had what we needed, and all in all everything worked out great.

Planned and initiated activities

The program is set up in a way that puts much of the planning responsibilities on the students. The guide does very little, and is meant to only intervene if we do something stupid. So throughout the whole trip there was a great deal of planning and strategizing among the group, from managing the budget to planning what food to bring on the trek. As for myself, I took a pretty strong leadership role in planning our Talent Show fundraiser, initiating probably one of the biggest talent shows Sturgis has had since West was created.

Show perseverance and commitment

I think anyone who signs up for this project and sees it through to the end shows an incredible amount of perseverance and commitment. Its not easy to keep walking up a mountain in 100 degree heat after you stopped feeling your legs two hours ago. A weak person might want to give up in the middle of a trip like this, or at least complain. But none of us did, including me. It was a very long journey, but not even for a second did I regret starting it.

Consider ethical implications

My involvement in the World Challenge program taught me the importance of working together, as well as the importance of independence and self-reliance. It showed me that I could handle myself in an unfamiliar environment without the help of my parents, and it also showed me how important it is to have people around to support you when you need it, and for you to support them. Our nightly meetings helped me open up more about my emotions and working with the kids at the school allowed me a great deal of insight into their culture and what life is like for them, while also simply teaching me how to play with kids. Most of all it showed me that this kind of travel is infinitely more enjoyable and interesting than simple tourism, and made me determined to do more of it in the future.

Engaged with issues of global importance

While the community service we did (painting a school) probably didn’t help the people of the village in any concrete way, but I think that by participating in the program and simply by being there, we were contributing to a very important global effort to help communities like this around the world, and after going through this, I think that it has made me realize the importance of making this effort more robust and more effective. Problems in developing countries won’t be solved by high school students painting buildings so they look nicer, but it can be solved by more people travelling there and exposing themselves to the situation. I think that if more people did what we did, the world would better understand the problems they face and would work harder to solve them.

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