CAS! Creativity, Activity, Service

By C.A.S. Coordinators Jim Barrasso (East), Emily Williams (East), Abby Rhoads (West), and Christine McDowell (West)

Creativity, Activity, & 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). The C.A.S. program is designed to make sure that students not only learn from the rigorous academics but also learn from their experiences outside the IB curriculum. This experiential learning piece, distinguishes the IB from other rigorous end-of-year assessments,  like Advanced Placement exams for example, and is an important part of making an IB education a holistic learning experience, with real-world outcomes.

Painting Parking Meters for a Downtown Display for the Hyannis Arts District

The designers of the IB Program felt it was important that students be well-rounded, and that they get out and interact with the world they live in. We feel that students leave our program having had hours of collaboration, overcoming challenges and making real differences in our local community. One of the most common themes of students’ final CAS reflections is that they’ve learned how to work well with others, and have learned important leadership skills, many of which are documented later in this article.

One of the most enjoyable and impactful 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: For example, what does it feel like to be the coach of a junior high basketball team, calling the final play of the championship game with 15 seconds left?

How does a team of students work with local oceanographers, environmentalists and donors to design a better vehicle to save the lives of  stranded dolphins?  What is the best way for students to raise a couple thousand dollars so they can spend their April Vacation building homes for the homeless in Haiti? Or, what can one do or say to comfort  someone who knows they are in the last days – or even hours – of their life, when no one else is there for them?

Stencil Painting to Promote Traffic Flow to the HyArts Campus on Pearl Street

These are just a few examples of the literally thousands of real-world experiences our CAS students go through each year; and as C.A.S. Coordinators we always feel humbled to have a unique “inside” view into what our students are doing to make our world a better place.

In addition to two years of participating in their own personally-designed CAS programs, Seniors at both campuses participate in a Senior Service Day during Senior Week before graduation to culminate their past two years of CAS.  Some of the service sites this year included: The Hyannis Library,  Hyannis Arts District, John F. Kennedy Museum, Cape Cod Literacy Council, Barnstable Land Trust, Youth StreetReach, Homeless not Helpless shelters, and  the Cape Cod Maritime Museum. The CAS coordinators, and Sturgis students, are always seeking to connect with organizations in and around Cape Cod.

Students Cleaning Boats at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum

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:

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

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

3.  Document evidence of all 7 learning outcomes, with a good balance of creativity, activity and service at the end of two years.

4.  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!


Maggie Adams, Class of 2017-Hoops for Haiti Fundraising, East:

Caroline Sullivan, Julia Buckner, and Maggie Adams

The Hoops for Haiti fundraiser was a HUGE success. Thanks to all the generous donors and the hard work of everyone involved we were able to raise nearly double our estimated goal. When asked initially, we thought that setting a goal of $1300 to build two houses in Canaan, Haiti might have been too ambitious. The Sturgis and Cape Cod community proved us drastically wrong by coming out to support our cause and giving as much as they could. Many people contributed to the donation bin at the door, while others took part in the 50-50 raffle. The organization was nerve-racking. We put a lot of effort into this event. I was able to recognize that I am not very good at creating, say, aesthetically pleasing advertisements. I am, however, good at explaining the meaning of the event to people. I am so proud of all the work that I did regarding this fundraiser. However, I am completely aware of the fact that none of this would’ve happened without Caroline, Julia, and all the other willing aids. The night of the event truly showed us that the Sturgis community is very close and strong. The business club came out to help us, and many other miscellaneous friends of ours offered up their time to make the event run smoothly. By taking the initiative to organize this fundraiser it is clear that we understand the impact this will have on the people of Canaan. One of the most difficult parts of this event was that I had to play in the game. This was hard because this meant that the halftime three point contest and the other aspects of the fundraiser could not be on my mind while I was playing. Keeping my focus on the game was not easy, but the trust that I was able to put in the other participants of this fundraiser allowed me to stay on track.

Matt Aguiar, Class of 2018-GameMaker-Studio, West:

This past snowy weekend I was able to begin working on some course tutorials for my upcoming GameMaker-Studio class. Beginning to think about some of the papers that I’m going to put together for everyone, I’m realizing that it is more difficult to write actual curriculum than I thought. It’s easy to demonstrate from memory what I want to teach, but to put together a whole class with written tutorials takes a lot of commitment and perseverance. I can’t just write down everything I know. Rather, I have to write it in a way that everyone will understand, even if they’ve never programmed before. Through creating comprehensive tutorials I hope to develop the new skills required to convey my thoughts and ideas clearly and carefully in a way that can be universally understood. Of course creating outlines and tutorials for a course is a new challenge for me and it’s quite different from a school presentation in the sense that it takes a great deal of detail and also these students will be depending on me to deliver educational yet fun planned and initiated activities. For this reflection I am not checking collaboration because I am creating these lessons on my own. But when the class actually come around there will be plenty of collaboration.

Lauren Cooper and Ben Judelson during their sailing race in Nantucket.

Lauren Cooper, Class of 2018 – Sailing, West:

Today was our first race of the season, and although we lost, I had a great time. Two of our Varsity skippers were out today, so I was able to race in the Varsity races. Since this was one of my goals for the season I was very excited. An area for growth I noticed was my starts. It’s important to get a good start because it can make the difference between first and last, but I had trouble with mine. I was usually one of the last boats off the line, but I was able to improve some by the last race. I will definitely pay attention to them in practice this week. I also learned about a new strategy that involves using the rights of way to get a boat of course when it was used on me. Now I know how not to get stuck in someones’ trap! It was really fun to experience what its like to race for varsity, and I hope that my coach puts me in next time. It also helped me see how skilled the varsity sailors are, and how much work I will need to put in to reach that level.

Seamus Devine – Class of 2017, Ultimate Frisbee, East:

Video reflection is a powerful way to reflect on your accomplishments in CAS! Seamus Devine was a leader of our Ultimate Frisbee Club the past couple of years. Ultimate Frisbee is a great way to get exercise while also developing creativity. Seamus also showed leadership in recruiting kids to play and teaching his classmates different aspects of the game. To really showcase his creativity, Seamus has developed a few “trick shot” videos he posted on YouTube. Here is one for your enjoyment!

Brigid Donoghue, Class of 2017- A Capepella, West:

The video I just uploaded was from the Sturgis United Dodge ball game that was held at HYCC. Since we hadn’t preformed anywhere before, so signing up for this was a big deal and we worked on it for many weeks during lunch. A struggle we faced was that there were 5 parts that we all learned but unfortunately that week we found out that Alex Scott who is the highest soprano voice that we have, couldn’t make it because she had work. Then Ms. Martinez had to learn the high voice part in one day. This left Nikki and I singing the melody, Mikey singing the tenor, and Ms. Martinez singing the soprano part. Luckily, we were still able to sound pretty great! I am excited to be able to sing the anthem with them again or another song at another place. Not only was I happy that we all nailed our parts but also that we were able to accomplish singing in front of a lot of students. This showed me that our hard work paid off. After singing the anthem we were asked by our music teacher at Sturgis to preform a song at Arts Festival on April 29th.

Alex Fontes, Class of 2017 – Advocacy, West:

Alex Brings Awareness to Sexual Assault at the CAS Showcase

Advocacy for Children’s Cove (CAS Project):  I made 6 posters with the teal sexual assault awareness ribbon on top of red paper. I think the colors were good because the represented the cause and were bright and so brought attention to the table. I wrote statistics over the posters as well. I used stands to hold up two of them and put two others on the sides of the table and two others on the table surface. I also used another stand to hold up the national statistic that 1/4 girls and 1/6 boys will be sexually assaulted before 18. This statistic drew attention from a lot of people. The biggest and most important challenge I faced was getting people to come to my table so that I could share the information with them. I gained attention from a lot of people for the posters and brownies, which made them eager to take some of the packets of paper Children’s Cove supplied me with.

I was successful in raising awareness for sexual assault. I was able to bring attention to my table. There were a lot of people that came to my table that were surprised by the information and chose to take packets and cards. I also definitely collaborated with others a lot. My CAS project involved me staying in touch with Children’s Cove for a couple months. Although Children’s Cove needed to know my plans in order to help me, I know that keeping people updated on what I’m doing isn’t one of my skills. However, I was able to send emailed detailing what I was intending to do, and I got more than enough things from Children’s Cove that helped my project. I also sent pictures to the outreach coordinator afterwards, which he posted on the Facebook page.

Cam Henchy , Class of 2017 – Cross Country, East:

I have now completed my year as captain of the cross country team, and I have learned many new things along the way, along with improving the skills I already had.  The biggest challenge for me was figuring out what my place as a captain was. I was no longer just another runner on the team, instead I now had to lead my peers. I found it hard to find the right balance between telling people what to do and being their friend. My goal coming in was not to be someone in charge, but instead to be someone that people would be willing to follow. However, I learned that in some cases you do simply have to tell people what to do, especially if they are acting out of line.

Another similar challenge for me was figuring out how exactly to tell people what to do in a respectful, yet authoritative way. In all honesty, I still do not think I know how to do this perfectly, however I did get some experience as captain and I have a much better grasp of how to do it now than when I started.

One of my biggest goals as captain was to set an example for people to follow, and one of the biggest aspects of cross country is perseverance. Naturally, I had to persevere, but I was now especially motivated to do so in order to show others how to act in the future. I started the season with one goal, to beat JD Snowman, or at least come close to him, in the League Meet. By the time the race came along, I had already won against him in a race, and accomplished my goal, but I knew that this race would be much harder, as the stakes were much higher. I came in second, but only by a few seconds, which I was very happy with, as I did accomplish my goal of finishing with him. In order to do so, however, I had to have a lot of perseverance. This was even more so true because JD, an amazing runner, is much more committed to the sport than I am and trains much more than I had in the past. This meant I had to meet his training level and surpass it if I was to come even close to him in the race, which I did.

East & West Boys Cross Country-Cam Henchy on Far Right

It was very important that the other captains and I make everything run smoothly, especially at large meets and home meets. We were in charge of getting people to their races on time and warming people up. We also had to make sure all of our teammates were in good condition and if not, asses what they should do. Although in previous years I had been doing some of this, it was never to the extent that I had to as a Captain. I learned how to take care of people and how to manage them in more stressful situations, something I had never really had the chance to do prior to this experience.

Lastly, as one of four captains, I had to work collaboratively with the other three. Although this was not much of a challenge, especially because all three are friends of mine, it was still a new experience to be working with other people in order to direct a group of people. At times we had to work together in order to encourage certain teammates, or we had to manage who does what in, for example, large meets where we needed to make sure everyone got to their races on team and ready to go. The most important thing that I learned was definitely that the tasks are much easier to accomplish if we first delegate what needs to be done. Overall, I learned a lot of new skills that I would either have to learn later in life, or not know at all, and for that I am very thankful.

Ben Judelson Represents Azerbaijan at the National High School Model UN in NYC

Ben Judelson, Class of 2017 – Model United Nations (MUN), West:

The learning outcomes I planned to meet were collaboration, global values, and ethics. I feel I was successful in achieving all of these learning outcomes as shown through my reflections. Model United Nations is impossible without collaboration. Collaboration is inherent to any debate, or the formation of any resolution – not to mention the responsibilities of participating in club meetings. I feel that my skills in person to person communication, as well as my skills as a listener have improved throughout my time in MUN. Additionally, my global values were strengthened immensely. My consciousness of world events and the world around me has become much greater over the past 2 years, and I think a lot of that is because of MUN. Participating in the conferences and debates, as well as meeting people from all around the world has really broadened my horizons and made me not only aware of many more problems in the world, but also the vast implications of issues which I had previously thought of as small. Similarly, my sense of ethics and morality has also changed.

Sturgis Delegates at the National High School Model UN in NYC

When studying the different perspectives of people around the globe, you gain a better understanding and ability for seeing the other side of the argument and being more open to other positions. MUN is really great for that because you are often forced to assume a country’s position which may not agree with your own. While this is difficult at the time, it is great practice for your mind to accept views which might differ from your own, and find ways to approach them academically, calmly, and objectively which is sometimes really hard to do. This is also tied to my journey in TOK where we explored the different biases one can be influenced by, as well as limitations to the different ways of knowing, and the inherent cultural differences around the globe and throughout history. Overall I found MUN to be a very educational and enjoyable which has really given me insight into culture, debate, and politics on a level which I would not have had the experience before. Thanks to Lily and Nate for making me sign up at the beginning of junior year!

Meghan McNulty, Class of 2018 – Theater, West:

On March 4, we went to METG. METG is the high school level theater festival/competition for the state of Massachusetts. This was a long day, we had to be at Bourne high school by 8:30 am because introductions started at around 9:30am. We had a few stragglers but I was impressed by the attendance even though it was so early on a Saturday.  I had to quickly write up a light cue card because during our practice the original had been lost. So that is what I spent the duration of the morning doing.I was in charge of this because for METG I was head of tech as well as a few other roles.  Then we started the festival. Our show was not until 4:30 so there was a lot of shows prior to ours and lunch.  I was personally very nervous about the upcoming show for many reasons.

One was that I would have to go on stage to hold a plaque card, and I am not a fan on going in front of crowds. Another was that we only had 5 minutes to set up our set and there are many components that could go wrong. And Murphy’s Law was definitely a factor when we started our show. We got set up in less than 5 minutes and were ready to go.

Then two of the plaque card broke and had to be taped together using electrical tap. Then when we were about to start, someone accidentally unplugged the lights. So we had to run to the on stage manager who had to find the festival leader in order to pause the timer. Then I had to run out on stage and fix the lights as quickly and efficiently as possible. Luckily other than that the show went very smoothly. Even though we didn’t move on we had a great show that everyone loved. This was a great experience not only did I learn many life lessons, I also had a lot of fun.

Emma Metzger, Class of 2017 – Charter for Charity, West:

Yesterday I held my last meeting as the Charter for Charity president. We had our club elections and I am super proud of all of the underclassmen who ran for officer positions. I definetely feel confident in the wonderful young ladies who will be representing the club next year. I know that they will be super active and diligent in making the club the best it can be.

I was very happy with the club this past year, and i think that i did my best as president. I definetely initiated the experience, in that it was my suggestion to move away from key Club. I also planned and initiated all of the different activities we did in the club, as well as plan all of the meetings. I also think this past year, all of us officers worked really well together and used our individual talents in the best way possible to make sure the club ran smoothly. Although I did struggle with delegating tasks to other people earlier in the year, I got better at it as the year went on. Lastly, we engaged with global and local issues. For example, we discussed the issue of poverty when we did project Christmas Child, and the global issue of pollution and climate change during our beach clean up.

Moving forward, I am proud of the club that i helped to create, and I hope to continue in community service in college.

Sturgis Serves group

Sturgis Serves – led by teachers Jen Walts, Alex Houpert, and Divya Sharma

This year, three teachers led a team of about 20 students to many different non-profits on the Cape and beyond to provide meaningful service during this year’s April vacation.  Each day ended with a family style dinner and student-led reflections.  You can find some of the participating student’s written reflections below.  Service locations included: Yarmouth Senior Center; Cradles to Crayons; Cape Abilities Farm; Habitat for Humanity Restore; Dream Day on Cape Cod; Natural History Museum and the Harwich Family Pantry.

Tori Mondello, Class of 2017 – Sturgis Serves, West:

Tori Mondello and Ashley Cooper at a Sturgis Serves Site

Since the clubs and activities fair earlier this year, the Sturgis Serves team has been planning our week long service trip. We usually meet every Friday during lunch to discuss what jobs we’ll be doing, who we’ll be working with, and who will be supplying dinner each night. We’ve completed multiple fundraisers (including two successful taco sales) and have gotten donations from people within the community. With the funds from these, we have surpassed our originally goal and set a new one a little higher to shoot for. Part of this success has been because of our collaboration.

Sturgis Serves hosts a car wash to raise money for Calmer Choice

As a team, we delegated who was going to plan what at the very start of the year. For example, Taylor Lennon planned the end-of-the-day reflections we will be having and I was in charge of figuring out meals. At our meetings, we would be assigned people to contact and we were given templates in order to call them/send them emails. Then, we would spend the time during lunch emailing people, calling organizations, or sharing our responses. Ms. Walts also created a google doc in order to keep the information organized. There, we would read off emails we received and she would write things like “Wednesday after one” or “Can only do tuesday or thursday” or “set for any day” so we would know when the organizations were free.

Now, we are planning a buddy system to check in with each other, which is another form of collaboration. The rules are:

The leader of the day can call “It’s high five time!” At any time throughout work and everyone has to immediately (and safely) stop what they are doing in order to perform a super incredible and high quality secret handshake with their buddy. My buddy is Vicky and I’m so happy I get to check in with her because she’s one of my best friends.

I’m really excited about this trip! I can’t wait to start working with people to help these wonderful nonprofits grow 😀

Anna Performs at the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Competition

Anna Paradise, Class of 2018 – West:

This past weekend we had our productions of A Wrinkle in Time, it was amazing to see everything we worked so hard on to create come together so beautifully!

On the last day of our performances (Sunday) our second show was canceled last minute because of power outages. It could have ended in disaster because everyone had to be immediately evacuated into a different building out in the snow, but everyone remained calm and worked together to find and bring everything we needed out of the building and to get carpool rides home while spreading the word of the show’s cancellation to the pre-reserved audience. Once everyone was gathered in a different building the power came back on ( of course) so we were able to return to the previous building and help the directors and crew load up all the props and help clean up from the past performances. It could not have gone any smoother considering our circumstances. There was a lot of collaboration, commitment and perseverance and taking on new challenges!

(for picture)This past weekend we performed our show at the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild competition at Bourne high school. We did not move on but I won an acting award- which shows how far I have come in this show with my stage fright and acting abilities.

Mark Payne – Class of 2017 – East

Prior to the first meeting I didn’t really have any knowledge on chess. I understood the way that the pieces moved and how to maneuver them and how turns worked, but other than that I was lost. My first time touching a chess piece Mr. Rose and I just went over basic concepts. I learned about pinning, forking, revealed attacks and checks and a couple of other ideas. This is all new to me but so far it feels right up my alley. For the entirety of it we just talked about ideas, we barely needed a board, but it was definitely useful. This feels awesome for me as I love discussing concepts, especially ones foreign to me. Hopefully they won’t remain foreign long, though, as I already got a book on chess and have scheduled a match with a couple of friends. I’m really excited for my skills to develop and to play scrimmages against all my friends, I think it will be a really good pass time.

Sierra Proft – Class of 2017 – East

Sierra Proft (far left) with Tennis Teammates

I’ve learned a lot this season, not just about tennis but also more abstract things, like team dynamics and effective communication. I discovered what it was like to actually be eager for the ball, and anxious to get on the court. I’ve felt extreme exhaustion and been on the verge of giving up, but I’ve also experienced a craving for the feeling I get when I play, and that’s what makes me love it so much. There is some aspect or inherent element of tennis that I haven’t found in really any other sport; volleyball is probably the closest thing I can relate it to. But not with any other sport have I run across the court, chasing after the ball with such exhilarating desperation, sprinting and jumping until the breath is coming out of me in gasps and my hair is plastered to my face. It’s a feeling that is one of the most astounding I have experienced.

I’m not only thankful for the personal experience I got from this sport, but also for the teammates I played with. In the beginning they were a little discombobulated and a little clumsy, but by the end of the season–and also throughout it–they had improved so much. All of their skill levels had increased, and they were dominating the court like true tennis players. I still remember that one practice when it was damp and rainy and miserable, but the players were anything but. Smiles, laughter, and wet hair were what I was met with when I arrived, incredibly surprised to see this many people willing to play in such weather. It made me glad to see how committed they were, and how serious they were about the sport, as well as how much they clearly loved it.

I definitely think I myself have improved as a player and developed more of an understanding of myself, even if it’s just a portion. I’m so happy I got to play this year, with a great team and coach, and was able to have a wonderful experience.

Katie Rheinhardt – Class of 2017 – East

Sturgis East represents Iraq at the National Model United Nations conference at the UN General Assembly

The MUN conference took place from Wednesday March 15-Saturday March 18 in New York City. Each day was full of activities, most notably committee sessions, which there are 5 of, usually lasting for 3.5 hours. I arrived to the conference ready to discuss and debate both topics that I prepared with my partner Shreya, Combating Present Forms of Xenophobia in Europe and Protecting the Rights of Women in Violent Conflict Zones, both of which are topics of significant global importance. As soon as we got to our committee on the first day, we acquainted ourselves with those there and quickly found our allies Syria and Iran. They were our closest allies last time we represented Iraq and we assumed that they would be again. We worked with them to form a resolution to the topic chosen: Protecting the Rights of Women in Violent Conflict Zones. Shreya and I had prior experience with working on resolutions, but challenged ourselves to be even more involved. I wrote two operative clauses, something that I had not done before, and also spoke to the committee several times, which I had also never done before.

Katie Rheinhardt (second from right) with Sturgis Delegates at the National High School Model United Nations in New York.

Through this I was able to overcome how intimidated I felt about speaking in front of 200 people and realized that I was good at speaking regarding these issues and decided that I should work more on quickly developing what I should say so I would be able to speak. At times it was challenging to come up with comprehensive solutions that would be passed by the committee, but this was accomplished by working collaboratively with the group. There was one country that wrote a paper by themselves and refused to collaborate. Ultimately, their paper was not passed. This reinforced how important it is to work as a group and compromise. The biggest challenge of the conference was working effectively after being in a room discussing the same topics for hours. It was important to show perseverance during late and long sessions so papers were able to be written and debated. Working to get papers written and passed, regardless of any exhaustion that was also experienced, was extremely fulfilling and opened my eyes to a variety of ways to approach the situation at hand.

Justin Turbeville, Class of 2018 – Golfing with veterans (CAS Project), West:

Justin Turbeville with military veteran HP Plummer at Falmouth Country Club.

Golf season is approaching quickly and I am very glad that I have a plan for how i am going to get this program started. I plan to speak with VA administrators on what is my best course of action in order to reach out to all of the veterans in the area I currently live. I also have big expectations for this program and want to extend this program to include as many regions as possible. This is why I will be reaching out to golf coaches around the Cape and, eventually the state, asking if their junior golfers would like to participate. Next, I will start trying to reach the veterans and start actually having them play with juniors such as myself. I have ideas for doing this which include making a website where veterans can sign up or creating an add in the newspaper. However, I am prepared to do whatever the VA suggests. Lastly, this needs to be free for the veterans so I am hoping to speak with courses asking if they could host our program. If this request is not accepted, I will start a fund and advertise it even if it means the costs have to come out of my pocket in the beginning. This seems very overwhelming to me and seems like there is so much that needs to be accomplished. However, I feel very optimistic and know that what I will spark is a cause that many people will get behind and hopefully, after a lot of hard work, the program will run itself and everyone will know about it. This is a very new experience for me but is one that I embrace and greatly want to tackle. I feel very motivated because of the cause so it is really not hard for me to put lots of time and work toward it.




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