The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

2019 Scotch College CAS Launch Day

New IB Diploma students took a day out of their regular classes to attend the annual combined Scotch College & PLC CAS Launch Day, this year exploring the theme 'Stretching Out'. The Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) programme is a critical part of the boys' IB Diploma Programme, recognising that for all that boys learn in the classroom, there is significant learning that most powerfully takes place outside of the classroom as students engage in creativity, activity and service. Through CAS, students are encouraged to grow both personally and socially, developing skills such as cooperation, problem-solving, conflict resolution and creative and critical thinking, as well as developing their own identity.

The CAS Launch Day offered the boys and girls embarking on the IB Diploma a chance to understand the philosophy behind CAS and to hear from people who are living this philosophy out in their professional lives. Importantly, students also had the opportunity to understand from the boys who have gone before them the real and practical value of CAS in their education, and their growth as individuals. The day combined speakers with hands-on workshops to give boys time to consider their own strengths and weaknesses, reflect on contemporary global issues, and to develop plans for learning experiences they seek to undertake through creativity, activity and service.

The 2019 CAS Launch Day was a huge success, and we were proud to bring the likes of Associate Professor Angus Turner, the founder of Lions Outback Vision, who was recently honoured at the 2019 Western Australian of the Year awards, receiving the Professions Award for his work in delivering eyecare to people living in isolated and disadvantaged locations. Scotch boys heard from Associate Professor Turner about his journey from 15-year old Guildford Grammar boy dissecting an ox eye to embarking on a mission to provide sight-saving treatment to those in remote communities. He provided the boys with a vivid illustration of thinking globally and acting locally to meet genuine needs in the community.

Another major highlight from the Launch Day was hearing from recent IB Diploma graduates about their experiences in the CAS programme. They communicated clearly that the most powerful learning in CAS is often unexpected. Ben Marshall shared his journey through his CAS project coaching a junior water polo team. A state representative, Ben expected that he would be teaching these boys water polo; instead, he found himself occupying a critical role in their development as young men, and he recognised he was a vital mentor in helping them to develop positive masculinity. He went from reluctantly reflecting on what he was learning to passionately reviewing his interactions, the success of his strategies, and unpacking the challenges and successes he was encountering. Josh Law reflected on how his experience of CAS not only helped him grow in the confidence to engage with the community and liaise with different  agencies, but  had also helped him to connect with his indigenous heritage.

The CAS programme is a powerful part of the boys' IB Diploma experience, and it is part of the College's aim to prepare your sons for more than just examinations. It fosters well-rounded young men who stretch themselves into the unfamiliar. At its heart, it is also far more than a community service programme. It engages boys in service, but also in physical activities, even including experiences such as rock-climbing, hiking and scuba diving, and in creativity. Additionally, the CAS programme, with its focus on reflective learning, challenges students to grow through reflecting on  their actions and experiences, setting challenging goals and developing their commitment and perseverance to achieve them.