CAS Blog

International Student Karaoke Night

Thursday, June 27, 2019

On the 24th May we hosted the first ever karaoke night for international students in the Year 12 building. Social nights had been organised for the Year 12 students throughout the year and these had been very successful. From this, the international student leaders and international committee decided that we would try and host one for the international students.

We hoped it would help them have fun with one another and have a nice break from studying. We were quite nervous that not many people would show up. We organised a plan on outlook to which people could either accept or decline the invitation. At first, there were numerous declines and we began to feel discouraged. However, soon more and more people begun accepting.

The night was a massive success. We had Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and English songs playing on a large TV with two microphones. The singing began instantly as everyone arrived. Each student was asked to bring a platter of food, resulting in a massive collection, barely fitting on two large tables.

Everyone had a go at singing their favourite songs. No matter whether you were a good singer, (there were plenty of those), or a rather bad singer, (like me), the applause never ceased throughout the night. There were a lot of slow and emotional songs, to which everyone used the flashlights on their phones and swung their arms in tune with the beat. Whereas, for the upbeat songs, everyone got up and danced.

There were also a lot of games on the night. Table tennis was very popular. It did not matter who was on your team or who you were against, everyone was inclusive and enjoyed a friendly and competitive game. Other students played card games, monopoly, twister and Wii.

There was something for everyone and never a moment of silence. We were shocked at how great the night was, with many students wanting another one as soon as possible. I really enjoyed a part of this and being with a group of such lovely people. We are hoping to have another social night next term.

Abigail Burley
Year 12 IB Student


Training an Ex-racehorse

Thursday, May 30, 2019

I love horse riding and I wanted to include this in my CAS. I decided that I would continue my lessons (every Monday afternoon) while focusing on an area of horsemanship called légèreté (an alternative style of riding which is translated to ‘the school of lightness’).

An opportunity had also arrived that I could not refuse. A friend of mine was leaving to go to Germany for three months and asked me to look after her horse.

Her horse is an ex-racehorse called Widdle. Over the course of the three weeks I wanted to improve his training. He was a very jittery horse and jumped at almost anything that moved in the wind. He was so used to racing that he found going slow a challenge. During the three months I would also form a bond with him and improve my horsemanship skills. I would be carrying out all the tasks needed to look after a horse.

The first week was a challenge, it was constantly raining and his yard was full of mud. Cleaning out his yard in the mud was hard work as the wheelbarrow would constantly get stuck. Training him in this weather was hard work, he found it hard to focus.

The next few weeks I worked on establishing a bond with Widdle, we got used to each other and I was able to train him more effectively.

The next month I worked on his stride, I would try and get him to open his stride while not letting him hold his neck up “like a giraffe” he slowly became more relaxed. Most of our training was done off the horse as he was very tall and often reared and bucked.

By the end of the third month I was able to ride him freely without him running off like a wild horse. He could walk and trot at a regular pace. I ran out of time to work on his canter but I will work on this with his owner.

Widdle and I became very good friends. During the three months I cut my hair. When he saw me he came up and smelled around my head and face to make sure it was still me. After that there was no problem.

During the course of this I found there was a shortage of hay. This was due to the sudden wet weather, and having the wrong type of hay delivered. We were able to find some hay not long after.

I enjoyed my time with Widdle very much and learned a lot of new skills for training horses.

Alice Bekkers
Year 12 IB Student

Miah's Korean Cultural Experience

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Excerpts from my diary about my Korean Cultural Experience

2 December 2018

Today was my first day at Seoul Sahmyook Middle School. We watched movies in most of the lessons because the students had already finished all the work that they needed to do. Everyone sleeps in class and they bring in pillows and blankets and talk a lot during lessons. Everyone is very friendly and absolutely hilarious. I feel really bad because I can’t remember everyone’s names. The school is so different from Australia. You have to take tissues from the class room to use as toilet paper because there isn’t any in the bathroom and the class rooms are very small and the library is tiny.

The girls' skirts are so short, I don’t know how they keep warm in -2 degrees. The school lunch is very different too. Everyone who spoke to me told me that the food was famous for tasting terrible but it was okay...sort of. In between every single class there is a 10 minute break and lots of the kids go to the snack bar because they don’t have an allocated time for recess. Their school bell is also really nice because it’s a sweet song instead of an alarm.

22 December 2018

Last night we went to a Korean BBQ and it was really good. Except that they were eating 100% raw cow liver and this grey bumpy stuff, which I think was intestines. Completely raw! They just opened the packet and dug in. I didn’t try any.

23 December 2018

Last night we went to a Korean spa, which was a very interesting experience. All the boys had to wear blue play suits and all the girls had to wear pink ones. Above the baths and changing areas was a huge room which had two rows of massage chairs and the floor was full of heated mats with people sleeping, watching tv, eating ramen and playing on their phones.

There were lots of kids running around and there were video games that they could play. It was kind of fabulous. At the back of the room there were three saunas. One was 45 degrees one was 59 degrees and one was 89 degrees. There was also an ice room... my favourite room. The saunas were too hot. The 45 one was nice and I had a bit of a sleep. The 59 was full of salt rocks all over the floor which were so hot that the we had to wrap our little towels around our feet. The 89 one looked like an actual human oven. It was this huge dome that looked like a giant pizza oven/igloo and the wooden door to enter was tiny and very burnt.

My host mum made me go in with her twice. I felt like I was going to die. It was so hot!!! I was in there for about 2 minutes panting like a dog before I absolutely couldn’t take it anymore and I had to leave and sprint to the ice room. It was 6 degrees but it felt amazing compared to 89. My host sister told me that when she was younger she licked the wall of the ice room and got stuck to wall. We got home at about 2:30am and we all slept in until lunch time on Sunday.

Miah McCarthy
Year 12 IB Student


Formal Centrepieces

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Every year our school organises a night called a Formal, for all students in Year 11 and 12. Students dress up and gather for an evening of eating, dancing and having fun.

This year the Formal Committee decided to make the Formal theme ‘Enchanted Garden’. Since the start of Term 4 last year, our Formal Committee has been preparing for the event and each person or group of people in the Committee has a job to take care of, such as designing the tickets, buying the sashes or decorating the venue. Amy, Jeremy, Aurora and I were in charge of the table centrepieces.

Following the theme ‘Enchanted Garden’we looked at mason jars with flowers and fairy lights wrapped around it. We knew that Kmart at Marion has some mason jars available that come together with the flowers so we went there to check how many of them they had in stock. We needed 30 jars and 30 set of fairy lights for 30 tables, but they only had 15 in stock at Marion, fortunately, they had more jars available at Kmart Noarlunga. We were able to get all the jars and fairy lights that we needed.

We all met up one week before the actual event to put the fairy lights inside the jars and to make sure everything was ready for the night. On the night, each jar was put in the middle of the table with vines around it.

It was a great experience for me because I have never had the chance to decorate or to plan for an event like this before. I found it very enjoyable and fun to do. I got to work with other people in the Committee and put in my effort for an important event of the school. I think that we were successful. Everyone at the Formal said the centrepieces were very beautiful and they liked it a lot. It made me feel very happy when people liked and appreciated our efforts. This activity was an overall success for me because we had a lot fun doing it and the outcome turned out very well. I would love to do something like this again if I have the chance in the future.

Katarina Nguyen
Year 12 IB Student

The Benefits of Working Out

Thursday, March 28, 2019


Since the day I first started working out, it has been eight months. I am really happy and proud with what I have done in the gym so far, and also I can actually feel the benefits.

My body is getting stronger and so does my mind. As I am not a man who has strong willpower, I am pretty surprised that I can stick to it and keep on going and of course, it means a lot to me.

I start to believe in myself and realize my own strength. During this time, I roughly go to the gym three times a week. Additionally, I have read a wide range of books which are about working out. I have gained a lot of knowledge about physical ability and physical makeup. And now, I can make a good plan of training for each week and organise myself much better.

For myself, it even makes me feel weird if I stop going to the gym for several days after eight months training in the gym. One thing that I am really sure of is working out makes me better in various aspects. So I’ll keep doing this and stick to it.

CHEN, Qianfan (Kurt)
Year 12 IB Student


Cake Decorating

Thursday, March 14, 2019


Baking and cake decorating has always been one of my favourite things to do. Over the school holidays I decided that I would take my baking to the next level, and complete four technical cakes. My goal of this CAS activity was to increase my skill level by learning new techniques and practising old ones. Each cake was different and required a set of new skills to decorate.

Before I started baking, I planned my design to make the process less stressful. During my activity I created a “Forest Animal Fondant Cake”, an “Ombre Buttercream Cake”, “Flower Cupcakes” and a “Mirror Glaze Galaxy Cake”.

I asked my Aunty to help with each bake, as she has lots of experience in the decorating field. It was reassuring to have someone to answer my questions and provide an extra hand when it was needed. Each cake tested my abilities in different ways as they all required individual skills. I faced a few challenges with my decorating, mostly during the warmer weather. However as I progressed through and overcame each difficulty, the next challenge was easier to fix.

The cakes all took an extremely long time to bake and then decorate, but it was worth it in the end when I could see the final result. It was a really fun experience and I now know that I can do a lot more with cakes than I originally thought. I was very pleased with the outcome of all 4 cakes and I will definitely continue to bake more and more cakes whenever I can.

Amelia Gibbon 
Year 12 IB Student

Beyond the Senior School Maths curriculum

Thursday, March 07, 2019

+2=1 (mod 3) and parallel lines actually do meet (in the projective plane).

Don’t believe me? Want to find out more? Then you’re the perfect person for the National Mathematics Summer School (NMSS).

Based at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, NMSS is a 13 day University-style program for 75 students from across Australia who have completed Year 11 and have a strong passion for Maths. These 13 days are spent exploring a range of fascinating topics beyond the high school Maths curriculum, including an in-depth course on Number Theory, and side-courses such as Knots and Projective Geometry. There is also a fantastic sight-seeing program included, which allows for time to visit many of Canberra’s main attractions, such as Questacon, Black Mountain Lookout, the War Memorial, Old Parliament House, New Parliament House, the National Library, the High Court, the National Museum and National Art Galleries.

After applying for the program and being successful, it dawned on me that I was actually quite afraid of taking the giant leap into the unknown, as I hadn’t spent such an amount of time away from my family since Quest. Luckily though, the moment I stepped onto my first flight to Canberra and met the other students attending from SA, my initial fears were completely gone. They were the friendliest people, and this was a common theme with everyone at NMSS. This includes the lecturers and staff, who were all super enthusiastic and made sure we were well looked-after. Everyone was attending for the same reasons, which made the experience all the more enjoyable. We all resided in our own dorms at St John XXIII College on the ANU campus, so we spent a lot of our free-time playing games, chatting about our common interests and exploring Canberra together, allowing everyone to form great friendships with one another.

The math we learnt was definitely challenging, and I did spend the first few lectures wondering what on earth was going on, but this was exactly why I loved it so much. After each lecture we had time to work on problem sets, which is where my mathematical thinking really developed. You were forced to struggle, and very rarely were you given the answers (if they existed!), so I found myself always trying new techniques and viewing problems from perspectives I hadn’t thought of before, which (in most cases) led me to making the greatest progress. The chances to receive feedback from some of the best and brightest Maths professors and students in Australia during these times were invaluable too.

It would be an understatement to say that these were the best two weeks of my life so far. Sure, doing difficult Maths in the summer holidays is not going to appeal to everyone, but NMSS was about so much more than just Maths. I met an amazing group of like-minded people who became family, had rare chances to visit places like the Australian Academy of Science (where entry is invite-only!), explored so many new places around Canberra, and got a true experience of life at University and what it’s really like to work in Maths.

NMSS is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is not to be missed if you’re thinking about a career in Maths, or have a passion for STEM. It was certainly a memorable and unique experience that I will never forget.

If you would like to know more about the National Mathematics Summer School, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected].

Georgia Dallimore
Year 12 IB Student

Toy Drive for the Salvation Army

Thursday, February 28, 2019

For my first CAS activity I planned and completed a toy drive for The Salvation Army. I decided to collect a wide range of children’s toys including books, stuffed animals, puzzles, figurines and board games. I collected both new and second hand toys, by asking for donations using a range of advertising posters.

Thanks to the wonderful donations of my friends, family and colleagues, I was able to donate over 100 toys to a much needed cause. I was able to respond to a need, while also engaging with the wider community around me. I spread awareness for The Salvation Army through the posters I created and helped to give attention to a charity that does so much work for the people of Adelaide.

I found completing this to be a very rewarding experience, because I know that the toys I collected will make lots of children smile and ease the stress on so many parents. Creating and being involved with this activity was also extremely rewarding as I felt so fulfilled once it was over. I was able to realise how many people across Australia are in need of assistance, and how just one person can make a large difference. I am very happy with how successful my toy drive was, I exceeded my original target and overall collected a wide variety of good quality toys.


Amelia Gibbon
Year 12 IB Student



The Tinikling Dance

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Tinikling is the national dance of the Philippines, and is a traditional folk dance which originates from the Spanish colonial era. The dance imitates the movement of the tikling birds as they dodge bamboo traps set by rice farmers. Dancers mimic the tikling bird’s grace and agility by dancing between large bamboo poles.

The Tinikling is one of the oldest dances from the Philippines, and originated in the islands of Leyte in the Visayas. According to legend, the Tinikling was started by people who worked in the paddies and farms of the Philippines. When the Spaniards conquered the Philippines, the natives were sent to the haciendas (plantations, mines, or factories) and lost control of their land. To please the King of Spain, the natives had to work all day, and worked farms and paddies for nearly 400 years (1500 – 1898).

Those who worked too slowly would be sent for punishment, in which the worker had to stand between two bamboo poles. These poles were then clapped to beat the native’s feet. To escape their punishments, the natives jumped around the poles. From this action, the Tinikling was created.

Alice, Amy, Katarina, Miah, and I decided to perform the dance for our CAS Project, so we met regularly in the months leading up to International Day to plan the choreography, materials, clothes, music, and to practice and perfect our dance. We organised to perform our dance in front of the rest of the Middle and Senior School cohort on Celebrating Cultures Day, allowing us to showcase our dance and the culture of the Philippines.

Our performance on Celebrating Cultures Day was overall a success, we all had a lot of fun, and it provided us with an amazing experience which allowed me to share my culture with my friends and the school community.

Jeremy Talbot
Year 12 IB Student


CAS Project: 80s Quiz Night

Thursday, February 14, 2019

On Sunday 21 October 2018 Miah, Megan, Alice and I held an 80’s Quiz Night to raise funds for the drought.

We invited our friends, families and IB teachers. It was a long planning process as we had to make and send out invitations, find sponsors, write a quiz and work out the quantity of ingredients to buy in order to make 23 pizzas.

At times it was a stressful process but in the end it came together really well. Around 45 people attended and each was served with their pizza order which was included in the $15 entry.

We had 8 quiz rounds with topics ranging from 80’s Music to History, as well as two extra rounds of guess the celebrity and flags. They were quite challenging, thanks to the quiz writers Alice and Megan. We also had a raffle, as we were inundated with prizes thanks to Miah, who was in charge of sponsors.

All in all the night was super successful and we raised $850 dollars which went to Buy a Bale, in support of farmers struggling in the drought.

We would especially like to thank Miah’s Mum, Corina, for allowing us to have the event at her beautiful winery, Oliver’s Taranaga.

Grace Lockhart
Year 12 IB Student