A Drop in the Ocean

Congratulations! Crystal DP-CAS eFolio Complete 2012-2014

DP-CAS eFolio Completion Stamp 2012-2014

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Final Reflection

By participating in all my CAS commitments, I have reached my CAS goals by being able to stay well balanced while keeping up with the rigorous IB Diploma Programme and developing essential life skills such as communication leadership. They have also allowed me to gain more insight on the 8 Learning Outcomes: self-awareness, exploration, planning and initiative, collaboration, commitment, globalocal impact, ethics, and new skills.

First of all, CAS allowed me to increase my self-awareness. I learned a lot about myself from trying new activities such as squash and volunteering for Canucks Autism Network. I gained a better understanding of myself and the activities that I enjoy doing. For example, I initially thought I would dislike playing squash since it is a sport that is confined in a white box-like room and essentially involves hitting a small, black ball at the wall; however, after trying it for a couple sessions, the sport grew on me and I began to enjoy the sport. Although squash can be an exhausting sport, it has increased my appreciation of racquet sports, particularly ones that are confined to a room.

In terms of exploration, pushing my limits and trying new activities has allowed me to find new hobbies and learn more about myself. For example, I started playing squash at the beginning of Grade 11, and have continued playing at my local squash club twice a week ever since-I’m now in the advanced group! Also, I started volunteering for Canucks Autism Network (CAN) in Grade 11 as well. This was interesting as I learned a lot about ASD and how it affects people and their families. I also gained a lot more volunteer experience, which I think is important for future opportunities. Today, I continue to volunteer for them as well and I look forward to continue being a part of the CAN community!

In addition, I learned the importance of planning and initiative through my CAS commitments, particularly through my service commitments. One of my service commitments is to perform music at seniors’ residences a few times a month. Through this, I must plan and take initiative by contacting each senior home and organizing a time that works for both of us. Also, my experience with CAN has also showed me that planning is essential for successful events and programs. Each event/program I volunteer for with CAN has been very well organized-they have clear plans and everyone is always well informed of everything.

Collaboration is also an essential part of everyday tasks. Through organizing concerts at senior homes and attending CAN events and programs, I learned that events such as these are not possible without the collaboration of many people. Collaboration is also especially important in some of my arts commitments (jazz band and choir). Each person is equally important in both ensembles and it is necessary for all members to be present and committed to have a full band or choir.

Commitment is an important aspect for all my CAS commitments. In creativity and action activities, commitment is needed to self-improve and gain more knowledge about the arts or sports. It also allows us to improve our collaboration skills as we often work with other people in these activities.

I think my service commitments best demonstrate the globalocal impact I have made through CAS. By volunteering for various CAN events and programs throughout the last year, it primarily has a direct local impact by providing support for families and people living with autism in BC. Globally, these events raise awareness about autism and with the help of social media and media, we can spread more knowledge about autism and how it affects people and their families. Another example of globalocal impact is through the volunteer concerts I organize and perform in. It has a direct local impact because I am able to play music for a small group of people. However, it also has a global impact in that I am spreading music to people; music is a common feature in cultures around the world and acts as a universal language.

In terms of ethics, CAS has taught me to do what is right. An example of this is sometimes I feel unmotivated and do not want to go to a particular commitment, such as squash practice. Despite my initial feelings, I still attended my commitments and I usually felt accomplished afterwards.

Finally, I have definitely learned many new skills over the course of my CAS commitments. Through volunteering at CAN and organizing regular concerts at senior residences, I have been able to develop important skills such as time management, communication (through emails and in person), and leadership. These skills are especially important in future opportunities, so I found CAS to be a great way to be able to develop them. Other new skills include learning how to play squash and playing piano in the jazz band. In squash, I started from knowing nothing about the sport to playing full matches and even playing in a tournament. I have learned a variety of shots that use all four walls as well as efficient court movement (while ensuring that I wouldn’t hit or bump into my opponent). Playing piano in jazz band has also increased my knowledge of jazz piano and improvisation. Since I have a classical piano background, I found it interesting to try a different style of piano music.

Over the course of the last two years in the IB Diploma Programme, CAS has allowed me to gain and develop skills and knowledge that cannot be learned through academic means by giving me a chance to live a balanced lifestyle.

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Upcoming CAS

Although it is coming to the end of the IB Diploma Programme, I hope to continue staying relatively well balanced in my commitments outside of academics. In the arts, we have a jazz band performance for Bars and Frames night in the second week of April. I also plan on continuing learning new pieces in piano – recently, I have learned “Let it Go” and “For the First Time in Forever” from the Disney movie “Frozen.” I am also currently in the process of learning a Chopin Etude in C# minor and a piece called “The Lark.” For action, I am continuing with squash twice a week and going to the gym once a week. Finally, for service, I will volunteer for Canucks Autism Network at their Family Festival and I will continue giving volunteer concerts a few times a month at different senior residences throughout Vancouver.

Even though I will likely focus more on academics rather than my CAS commitments, I hope to be able to continue these commitments on a regular basis until summer break.

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CAS updates

Last week, I finished the winter session of the junior squash program at my squash club. This session was my first in the advanced group – I learned many new drills and different shots that are useful to use in game situations. We also worked on fitness by having regular warm ups before starting the drills. Being in the advanced group pushed me to improve my skills since everyone else had already been in the advanced group before. Because of this, I think I have generally improved my squash skills, especially my game sense. I look forward to attending the spring session for the junior program. My other current action commitment is that I try to go the gym regularly to maintain my fitness by doing cardio and strength exercises as well as swimming. Although it can sometimes be difficult to find time to go, I usually try to go once a week.

For my creativity commitments, I am continuing in jazz band, choir, and piano. In jazz band, we have Bars, Frames, and Brushes coming up soon after the break. This will likely be the last performance for the grade 12 students in the band. We also attended the Kiwanis Music Festival recently and did a clinic with one of the clinicians. For choir and piano, we continue to learn and improve new and old pieces.

Finally, I haven’t been doing as much service recently, but I just signed up to help with the Canucks Autism Network’s Family Festival and one of the weekly swimming programs. I am also looking forward to playing volunteer concerts at senior residences throughout Vancouver next week.

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To what extent have you achieved the goals you’ve set so far?

My goals this year in academics were to achieve Principal’s List, maintain at least 36 points, and to try to achieve the highest marks I can achieve. I think I have been achieving these goals as I am maintaining my current marks. I am very happy with my predicted marks as I think they are achievable. By having good time management and study skills, I was able to achieve these goals. This year, I have improved in my organizational skills as I feel that I don’t procrastinate as much as I used to – I have been able to meet almost all of my deadlines.

In terms of CAS, I am achieving my goal of staying involved in service, action, and creativity. For service, I play piano music at local senior homes such as Sunrise, Summerhill, and Royal Arch. For action, I play squash twice a week and go to the gym regularly with friends. For creativity, I play piano and continue learning new pieces.

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Today, we have our Christmas concert for the middle and senior schools. I will be singing in the senior concert choir, and playing piano for jazz band, middle, and senior concert choirs. Although it is stressful because I just received some of the music on Friday, I hope that the concert runs smoothly.  There is a rehearsal today after lunch, so I hope to figure all the technical parts out!

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CAN: swimming

Currently, we are about halfway through the program – it ends in about a month. By now, we know the participants very well and they have all made progress in their swimming skills. Though some are looking more to improve their social skills, all participants have become more comfortable with the pool environment. I have also learned so much about autism and how to support them by volunteering in this program. I look forward to seeing the participants make even more progress as the program continues!

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We Youth Help

I organized concerts with the volunteer coordinators of Summerhill and Sunrise Senior Living via email a month ago. On Sunday, I went with two friends to play music for the residents. We played 45 minute concerts for them- I played piano and my friends played piano and violin. The concerts were successful and the residents expressed their appreciation by telling us how much they enjoyed the concert. I look forward to organizing more concerts in the future and performing for the local community!

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Welcome Back BBQ

About a month ago, the grads volunteered at this year’s Welcome Back BBQ. This was a great community event as it welcomed old and new students and their families back to school, and brought the school community together. In addition, it was the first grad event where all the grads participated and ran all the stations. I was involved in running the beading and fishing stations – I had a lot of fun supervising kids and handing out prizes! Since this is my senior year, I hope to be involved in a lot of community events in the school to build school spirit and to be a role model for other students.

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CAN I can Swim – 1st session

Last Thursday was the first session of the I can swim program in North Vancouver. There were kids ranging  from kindergarten to middle school, all at different levels of swimming. Some were able to swim a couple lengths, while others were learning to swim for the first time. Also, as all participants are diagnosed with ASD, they had different ways of responding. Some were more responsive to visuals – we had pictures to reinforce what we wanted them to do, whereas others responded better to demonstrations of the skills. These sessions are very valuable to the participants as they often cannot join these regular community programs. This experience is also very valuable to me as I am able to learn how to approach autistic people. It makes me more aware of other people and more knowledgeable about ASD.

As a volunteer, I helped the support workers by holding up visuals, demonstrating skills, singing songs, and playing games with them. Thankfully, everyone had a great time and I look forward to the next session!

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