IB students making a difference through CAS projects

Sophia Bouwkamp, Staff Writer

What do elementary school snowball targets and the EGR Peer-to-Peer listener program have in common?

They’re all projects designed and carried out by students of the International Baccalaureate Program, IB for short. All of them were created to meet an IB requirement known as the CAS Project.

“CAS stands for Creativity, Activity, and Service and in the spirit of CAS, students try to expand who they are as a person,” EGR Math teacher and CAS Supervisor Elisha Murphy said. “It holistically helps the students to become well-rounded people.”

A trio of IB students made up of Abbie Green ‘20, Lydia Glowney ‘20, and Oliver Shapton ‘20 combined all three of the CAS ideals in a unique way to complete their project by building and decorating snowball targets for Georgetown Elementary School. The group’s inspiration stemmed from a friend of Shapton’s mother. 

“Her son really wanted snowball targets at his school but they couldn’t find someone to make them. She reached out to the three of us and we decided to build them for him,” Shapton said. “We worked on designing targets that the kids at Georgetown Elementary would like and then we started making them.”

From elementary schools to high schools, the IB students are finding creative ways to help out the community. 

Ben Sorota ‘20 created the Peer-to-Peer Listener Program for EGRHS students which aims to reduce mental health concerns and creates a safe and accessible outlet for anyone in need of support.

The program is all about helping students in a variety of ways, whether they just need to talk, or if they need someone to request extra help for them. However, the project and the IB program as a whole have helped Sorota in different ways as well.

“There’s a heavy emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I have to use my CAS project especially when I face a setback; I have to kind of think about what else I could do or what I could do instead of something, really work on those problem-solving skills,” Sorota said. “It’s a great way to kind of continue to learn about these things outside of the classroom and get hands-on experience in the real world.”

The problem-solving and critical thinking is done in the IB program has helped plenty of students like Sorota to find ways to deal with potential real-world issues and create unique and valuable solutions. 

All of the projects designed by the IB Program students have shown off the incredible skills they have learned from their teachers and fellow IB students. From the creation of a new recess activity to the installation of a new mental health program, the CAS projects of the 2020 IB Diploma Candidates have significantly benefited the community. 

The program has also helped students like Grace Kyros ‘20 with her communication, organization, and planning skills throughout the process of her CAS project: the electronics drive.

“One of the aims of the IB program is to help shape students into a strongly versatile person which means that they are able to adapt to a lot of different situations,” Kyros said. “With the help of my teachers, I have learned how to initiate planning and organize small events such as our CAS electronics drive.”

With the organization and initiation skills acquired from her teachers, classes, and peers, Kyros and project partner John Zerial ‘20 were able to reach out to a local organization to assist with the electronics drive.

“We are partnering with the organization Comprenew located downtown that takes old electronics and repurposes them,” Kyros said. “They sell them at a much lower price for people who can’t afford new ones. They also recycle the parts to electronics that are broken and use them for other projects.”