CAS – Creativity, Activity, Service

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

Anna Bishop represents the Apiary club at the 2018 East Cast Activities Fair

The Creativity, Activity, & Service (C.A.S.) program 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.

STAGE signups at the 2018 West CAS Activities Fair

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. 

The designers of the IB Program felt it was important that students be well-rounded, and that they 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.  Read the reflections below for examples of some of the meaningful experiences our students share with us!

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: AmeriCorps, Barnstable Land Trust, Boy Scouts, Cape Cod Child Development, Cape Cod Maritime Museum, First Baptist Church, Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC), Hyannis Main St. Business Improvement District, Hyannis Public Library, and the John F. Kennedy Museum.  The CAS coordinators and Sturgis students are always seeking to connect with organizations in and around Cape Cod so if you know of any opportunities please contact Jim Barrasso (CAS Coordinator at or Christine McDowell (CAS Coordinator at West –

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” things 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!


2nd International Banquet to benefit Her Future Coalition

Emma Jones, Class of 2019, Made by Survivors Club – West:  

On May 21, the Made By Survivors (MBS) club conducted the second international banquet. It was really fun planning the second international banquet as there were more people interested in bringing in food this time. Although the international banquet was exciting, it was also a little stressful. The line was at least 50 people long at the beginning, and it became a bit hectic when we ran out of tickets to give customers to turn in in exchange for food. However, the MBS club staffing the event quickly worked together to come up with a system to recycle tickets, and the event was ultimately successful. All of the proceeds are going to be donated to the Her Future Coalition foundation to help build shelters and give victims of human trafficking a better future. I am excited to say that we have raised almost $2,000 to send to the organization this year!


Mickaela Pia Gerenia, Class of 2019, Made by Survivors Club – West:

Yesterday International Food Day at school. The Made by Survivors club was hosting a sort of “buffet” during lunch made up of international dishes such as samosas, flan, chickpea soup etc.. In order to help my fellow friends who run the club, I decided that I would make flan for my international dish, considering that flan is Hispanic/Filipino! I felt that it was important to contribute to International Food day to give other students a look into what students with different cultural backgrounds like me would traditionally eat at parties/other festivities.

Claire Lovelace, Class of 2019, Made by Survivors Club – West:

In the beginning weeks of March 2018, the Made By Survivors club decided to host an International banquet. As a vice president of the club is my duty and officials to prepare and figure out the details of the “event”. Thus, we decided that the most efficient way to tell the school about the banquet is through posters we place throughout the halls. Some days, a few club members and I used our lunch times to create posters that invite the school to participate in the banquet. We were first stuck on what to out on the posters, but with hard work and working together we were able to create many posters. On the posters, we put different flags, and the possible food options of the banquet. The posters were a success proven by the long line that formed during the day of the banquet. Creating the posters not only demonstrated creativity, but showed that when you want something to become a success like the banquet, you need to commit and work together.

Holden Parrent, Class of 2019, World Challenge – East:

Today we had a meeting for the Nicaragua trip in June. It was 3 1/2 hours long, starting at 9 in the morning and continuing until 12:30, and during this time all of us Challengers learned more about the trip.  We then set up some of the tents we will be using for the trip. There are both 2-person and 3-person tents, however they are both set up in the same basic way. After a minute or two of figuring out exactly how they were set up, as well as with some helpful advice from our Trip Supervisor, we were able to assemble a disassemble the tents quite easily. They are composed of two sections: the inside tent portion, and the outside rain cover and tiny “porch” area. They can both be rolled up together, while they are still attached, which will make it much easier to break and set up the tents while we are in Nicaragua. After looking at the tents we transitioned to our kits. The Trip Supervisor talked about how we should pack everything and what exactly we should pack

This trip is ours. We will have to work out amongst ourselves what we want to spend money on and what is worth it. The Trip Supervisor had us actually present our itinerary to our parents once they arrived for their part of the information session. I think that this was a good way to help us remember what we will be doing once we get to Nicaragua and is also a good way of getting us used to doing things for ourselves. We learned a bit more about the service that we will be doing. It is going to be part of what many other World Challenge groups have been doing. We will basically pick up where they left off unless that is already completed. World Challenge, we now know, tries to avoid making the communities that they help dependent on their help by moving on the other communities once some things have been done to help them. This is a good way to help them, but to also make sure that they will be able to survive or function without the help; its very important that they can do so without World Challenge…I am excited to find out what service project we will actually be doing during that 3 day long phase of the expedition!

Brenden Glynn, Class of 2018, Coaches vs. Cancer – West:  

Being involved within a sport and a club can sometimes be extremely beneficial to achieving a goal. On January 24th, the boys and girls basketball teams at East & West had their annual ‘Coaches vs. Cancer’ basketball game. This is one of the biggest games of the year in terms of attendance and so the team does fundraising in which all the proceeds go towards the American Cancer Society.

Therefore a few days prior to the game, I sent out an email to the club explaining what the fundraiser was for and the ways in which we could raise as much money as possible. When game day came around, there were multiple individuals including myself who went around the gym in search of donations. The people who donated did not necessarily need much convincing which made the process a lot easier. Having so many people all working at once certainly made the fundraiser more successful since we were able to reach out to a lot more people.

This involved a lot of commitment and perseverance because I had to maintain this leadership role within the club and help things to run smoothly but I also needed to focus on the game that was only hours away. The fundraiser proved successful as we had raised a substantial amount of money that will go towards servicing those who struggle with the negative impacts of cancer.

Julia Berestecky, Class of 2019, March for our Lives – West:

I demonstrated planning the experience by attending meetings with the Board, as well as skype calling to plan. We made a list of things we had to get done and by when, as well as how to reach out to the community to explain the cause and try to get people to come. I demonstrated engagement with issues of global significance because gun violence is a huge problem, especially in the United States. It makes me very sad and sick when I hear about all the tragedies that occur as a result of gun violence. I further demonstrated engagement by running the social media and getting the news of our event out there. I also was responsible for having media stations contact me for questions about the march. I demonstrated the skills of benefits of working together because without the board working hard and planning together, the event would not have been as successful as it was.

David Girardin, Class of 2018, Composing music for “Romeo and Juliet” – East:

At this point, Hadley, Becca and I (Me and the West students who are all co-writing the music) have basically finished our composing process. The music is all supposed to connect the 1960s setting we have added to the show to its original Shakespearean text that we are still using. We did this by writing themes for each of the major characters or moments in the play in the style of a 60s song that reflects it. We have a theme for Mercutio which is evokes the Beatles song “Hey Bulldog” because Mercutio is a wilder, more comical and sassy character and “Hey Bulldog” is a riff heavy rock song that is filled with spunk and charisma. Hey Bulldog is a minor riff in 4/4 with a tom heavy drum part, these elements we adopted but with our our melodies and chord progression to make it different.

We gave the Beatles song “Let it Be” the same treatment to create the “Love Theme” for Romeo and Juliet. By using similar tonality and tempo it evokes the sweetness of the Beatles ballad as well as the romance between the titular characters. We paired Friar Lawrence, an advocate for peace between the two families, with the song “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield, a Vietnam protest song. By modeling off of songs that already could be applied to the characters in Shakespeare’s timeless play, we were able to create our own pieces of music that channels the 60s, a little of our own personal style and the timeless story of two star crossed lovers.

June Mello, Class of 2018, Track and Field – East:

In putting track on my CAS portfolio, there were several learning outcomes I hoped to meet. The first one, identify own strengths and develop areas for growth, I feel has been one that has been very naturally interwoven into the experience. Discus has always been something that has come a little easier to me when compared to shotput, and specifically last year I feel I made great leaps and bounds in my skill level and expected throw distance, which gave me a decent amount to talk about for strengths.

Developing areas for growth has also come relatively easily, as shotput was and is still a pretty large challenge for me at times, and thus has a wide area for improvement that I am trying to think of even more often now. And even with discus, my preferred event and best event overall, I still can only do the standard throw with a large success rate, so working towards a full rotation has been a constant area where I personally feel that I could grow. Demonstrating that challenges have been undertaken and new skills developed in the process is the second learning outcome I hoped to achieve, and I feel that that has been met largely by my discussions last year about the challenge that was posed by having the coach only be present for some of the days, and how even with those logistical challenges, I was able to greatly improve my throwing skill and get a much higher PR in discus.

The last learning outcome I hoped to meet was showing commitment to a CAS experience. And aside from having remained with the sport for 4 seasons in a row, these past two years I feel I have further shown my commitment through being vocal about the logistical issues involving the field we practice at and transportation, and consulting with coaches about that, and this year by having had a large enough presence in the sport that I have been entrusted to show younger athletes some of the basics by myself. Track has been a very rewarding experience overall for me, as it has exposed me to a variety of different people and environments, given me an athletic outlet to prevent laziness and boredom in the spring time, which I also find fun a majority of the time, and has allowed me the opportunity to take on a leadership position in something at school that I had a desire to influence.

Alison Harkins, Class of 2018, Cooking Club – East:

This year I decided to join cooking club. For the past two years I mainly joined clubs that weren’t very creative, such as student council, key club, and amnesty international. I wanted to have a club where I could show my creative side while also benefiting from the meetings. Once I heard on the announcements that there was a new cooking club starting this year, I knew I would love it. I was once in a cooking club in middle school and those were some of the best memories I have from that school.

Both my parents work full time and are rarely home to cook dinner, and are usually busy when they get back from work. Because of this, my sister and I have been cooking for ourselves for years. However, although I enjoy cooking, I run out of ideas a lot. By joining this cooking club I hope to be able to bring home more recipes and ideas for new and creative meals that I wouldn’t have thought to make before. For example, we made cupcakes in a mug in one of our cooking club meetings, and I saw how simple and fun it was to make. When I got home, I told my mother about the cakes we made and because she didn’t have much that needed to be done that night, we made a cake in a mug together. It was a great experience and now I have another quick thing to make because I learned how in cooking club.

Alex Scott, Class of 2018, IB Learner Profile Mural – West:

For my CAS project, I will paint a mural that will be the new focal point of people who come in and out of Sturgis. Painting a wall mural in the entrance foyer of the building is the perfect way to make the IB spirit “more visible” at Sturgis. As a passionate IB Art student, one of my goals before leaving Sturgis is to make it into a more visually creative place. I want to get more art on the walls, and to give the school even more personality than it already has. After nearly four years in this school, I have acquired my likes and dislikes about it. One of my dislikes happens to be that we preach the IB learner profile, and the mission statement, although I feel that we don’t SHOW it and EMBODY it as much as we preach it. My goal is to help Sturgis make some steps toward that embodiment.

Meghan McNulty, Class of 2018, Field hockey –  West:

Four years ago I was asked what my goal was for that season. What I said was unmemorable, but I remember Greta said that she wanted to do whatever needed to help the team succeed. Fast forward to this season which were only comprised on losses and ties. And all I wanted to do was help my team succeed as Greta , and thus every loss took its toll. Just one win, please! However there was more to be gained than a good score- I learned True Illustrious teams are far more than the outcome of the game. Because in the end, the other team won’t remember the score. Unless maybe you google it.

But, rather, how we deal with adversity is how we are remembered. we were all challenged on day one, walking onto a Varsity team some with little to no experience. I had been so nervous that first day and didn’t play very well. But through the help of my teammates and coach I was able to be named MVP/Allstar, but I couldn’t have if it wasn’t for them. We all looked at that challenges ahead and went for them. Through the initial christening by fire, illness, injury, the ib, and hours of homework after a game or practice, these girls kept fighting. I learned to keep fighting regardless of the outcome, good or bad, and (as they did) keep my head up, and be kind, and supportive. Yes there were moments when our beliefs we’re questioned, but we channeled that energy -Until the last whistle, the last hit, the last stop, the last corner. What the newspapers, the stats, and the still pictures don’t show is the dedication, intensity, and unity that this team has. That hard work, yet fun environment from running sprints or eating frosting covered cookies. I have had the privilege to play alongside these girls, nonetheless be their captain and lead them to be there best as the will for the future. Yes, we are not the best in the league but one, but I have no doubt that one day we may be, as they are already an Illustrious team, for kindness, for passion, for being us. And I hope to continue field hockey in the future to share those ideals, and apply those to my everyday life.

Elaine Fryer, class of 2019,GirlyGirl P.A.R.T.S 5k Walk/Run for Ovarian Cancer – East:

While the runners are the primary givers to the cause, the race itself, could not be done without the volunteers. At the race, the volunteers work together to make sure it is organized, everyone is having a good time, and it all runs smoothly overall. My primary goals for this experience was to help out in any way that I could and be up for any challenge while working together with the event coordinators and the other volunteers.

One of the most important objectives of the race is to make sure that all goes as planned, and this could only be done by a group of people collaborating. While we all had our separate jobs, when put together we made one team with a common goal. It felt wonderful to be a part of a program that was inspiring everyone who was there and giving back to try and help a global disease that affects thousands of women each year. Ethics of Choices & Actions was important for this experience because I had to focus myself on the task at hand, do what I was told to do, and do it to the best of my ability because I chose to volunteer and give my time.

The overwhelming feeling of support and encouragement of loved ones and friends was evident throughout the morning and was truly inspiring to see. Each person that decided to participate was there for a common goal: to make a difference in finding better ways to treat Ovarian Cancer and show their commitment. Families and friends formed teams to honor specific people and walked the course as a group, often wearing matching tshirts and outfits. While many of these teams were inspired by sad cases, all who were involved remained positive and persistent with their goal. This inspired us as volunteers to keep positive attitudes and be sensitive to all around us who could have been going through a had time. By the end of the morning, I had met so many kind and heartening people from all walks of life.

Madeleine Shaw, Class of 2019, Charter for Charity – West:

The activity that the club is doing is packaging presents for children in third world countries and impoverished families, and sending them to the areas where they are needed most. We recognized that with the holiday season coming up, there are many children who would not be getting presents for Christmas. We wanted to do something to help lift the spirits of these children and help others enjoy the holidays. Packaging presents to send to those less fortunate is a great experience. As a child I always loved getting presents on Christmas and being able to play with new toys, and I want other children to be able to have the same excitement and joy during the holiday season. This is a great way to spread happiness and help others to have a good holiday, and it helps you to recognize how fortunate you are for what you have.

Heather Kelsey, Class of 2018, Yearbook – East:

We have had two Yearbook meeting so far this year! Firstly, Lily and Kaeley and I are the Editors this year and were happy to have new members. However, at our first meeting we had so many more than expected which can be difficult because too many people is definitely a challenge when creating a yearbook! So when the number of members dropped by our second meeting we weren’t upset. We had found our group of people that planned to come to each meeting, dedicated and trustworthy! We had four seniors, not including us editors, and a couple underclassman. An amazing group and perfect amount. I helped set up everyone an account and we went over what Yearbook was and how the website worked. Then on Tuesday and Thursday, us editors, went to all the advisories and told the school about the current deal for buying a yearbook which is $49 until the end of the month, which is much better than the regular $60. Finally, at the CAS fair we had a couple posters and got another member to sign up and spread word about the deal for pricing! I can’t wait for this year and the group of girls and boy I get to work with!

At the first couple yearbook meetings we have set up accounts, assigned everyone to an activity or sport to take pictures at and picked out a yearbook cover and template. Last week we met with Chris, whom Sturgis Yearbook works directly with, and he came and taught a little bit about the website as well as helped us with the cover involving prices and designs. As an editor I had to work with my co-editors to get their opinions and collaborate and negotiate on which page we should pick as the cover. It took some time but we came to a consensus and allowed other members to get involved and evoke their ideas. We also had to recognize ethics of our choices because we could only spend a certain amount and although we may desire a better design, we had to consider the price increase for other students in our class who may not be able to afford it. Overall, Yearbook is going well but I need to start going to more sports games to take pictures and begin to contact coaches and theater and art students.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

%d bloggers like this: