CAS Blog

Volunteering in Beijing, China

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

On the 18 January 2019, I went to the Chenguang Cerebral Palsy Rehabilitation Centre for Children in Beijing, China, to make dumplings for the children with difficulties. The XiaoYa charity group holds the activity, and  dumpling making happens every Friday.

The activity began at 7am and the volunteers are in charge of all the procedures in making the dumpling, from cutting vegetables, making the skin of dumplings, putting them together and cooking them. In the end, we had more skin than filling, so we had some decorations made from flour and made muffins instead of dumplings.

The division of work was important in the activity since there were lots of work for us to do. Therefore time management is needed, a group of people made the filling while the others made the skin. We all needed to communicate so we could do the work efficiently.

The whole point of this activity was to bring warmth to the children with difficulties. I used to do similar activities in China, like teaching children to speak and play with them. The rehabilitation centre can't get much attention from the government in China, so the power of volunteers are needed. I also saw a boy who I met and played with three years ago. It was nice to see him growing up healthy, although he may not remember me.

Raymond Wang
Year 12 IB Student


Fundraising Dinner for Amnesty International

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Over the past three months I have organised and initiated a fundraising dinner for my fellow IB students to raise money and awareness for Amnesty International. We successfully raised over $350 that will go towards fighting for humanitarian rights worldwide. I cooked and served a three course meal for everyone and was given the opportunity to discuss why I decided to host this dinner and how it impacts everyone in our community.

Amnesty International is a non-government organisation aimed at the enforcement of universal human-rights world-wide. They do this by researching and exposing corruption or injustices to provoke positive changes in communities. The organisation is entirely without religious, political or economic interest with the primary goal of universal justice. I felt this to be a very impactful organisation with the genuine ability to influence positive change across the world which is why I chose to support them. I have always been very interested in global politics and am eager to have the ability to influence change in a significant way.

Zoe Ogilvie
Year 12 IB Student

Devonshire Tea at Kingston House

Thursday, August 15, 2019


At the end of the year the school is hosting a study tour to Cambodia with ROK Kern. This study tour lasts for 12 days and is aimed at Australian Schools “to help schools who have a heart to care for vulnerable children, to learn about the harm done by orphanages, and the benefits of family-based care.” (Children in Families | Cambodia, 2019). When the school mentioned that they were holding a study tour to Cambodia I knew that it was not an opportunity I could pass up. To be able to go on this study tour, we need to pay our own way, which was $3,000. To raise some money to help pay for my part of the trip I decided to hold a Devonshire Tea at Kingston House. I chose Kingston House because I used to volunteer there on Sunday’s when they would hold their weekly Devonshire Teas.

Before the date of the fundraiser I had to organise raffle prizes and also get the word out about my fundraiser so people would attend. At the end of my planning I had eight raffle prizes with two being kindly donated. I also had a list of approximately 30 people coming which I was very happy with. Then the day before the fundraiser I had to go after school to set up the tables. After setting up the tables I felt a bit more confident about the day but I was still slightly nervous about the running of the day and worried that I was going to have forgotten to buy something even though I knew that I had checked everything off my list.

The fundraiser was a great experience for me because I had never organised or planned an event like this before. The experience was very fun, although it was sometimes stressful but overall is was very enjoyable and I would do it again if I got the chance. Overall I think the fundraiser was very successful as I raised $1,006 which is fabulous as my whole cost of the trip is $3,000, so the money raised is a big chunk of this. I also was told by many people that came that the Devonshire Tea was very fun and that it looked beautiful.

Amy Watt
Year 12 IB student

Tracking daily run with GPS

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Over the past month I have started running in the mornings before school on weekdays. Each morning when it wasn’t raining I got up a 6am, put on my running gear and go for a run around my area. By the end of the month I had run over 31km over a total of 15 days. The screen shot below was taken from an app called Strava which is used to record the time and distance and where I ran by GPS tracking. This screen shot is from the first day of running, because I hadn’t done any physical exercise since I stopped playing basketball at the beginning of the year, the first week was especially painful because I was out of breath and was slow but by the end it look me around 5 minutes per/km instead of around 9 minutes per/km so there was an improvement. During the running I changed paths to keep from being repetitive and so I did three different paths - a long path for the first few days to get my fitness up, a path that goes up and down hill and the last one was laps around the block which I did three times per run 800m per lap.

Flynn Noble
Year 12 IB

Becoming a Surfer

Thursday, August 01, 2019



I used to live in Hong Kong, which is known for the concrete jungle, and now I am studying abroad in Australia, a country with sea and sunshine. I have joined the school surf club for two years and have become a surfer.

I went surfing every Thursday after school for around two hours in South Port Noarlunga with the surf club. At the beginning, I was a bit clumsy as I needed to master all the new skills to surf, but the more I surf, the more I understood how to paddle quickly, catch the wave, balance on the surfboard and surf in the sea. As a beginner, I found doing the paddling and standing on the surfboard quite challenging since we needed to have good balance skills on the surfboard as we were floating on the sea with waves. Also, surfing requires lots of coordination of the body, so we need to push our upper body up and twist our shoulders before we started standing on the board and tried to move our body a bit forward to change the surf direction. I can now stand and surf smoothly and master the skills without falling. Moreover, sometimes we can also go to the river and practice our balance by standing on the surfboard and float along the river as a free ride back to the storage room of the surfboards. Being able to enjoy the wind, the sun and the speed surfing on the surfboard in such a beautiful and clean beach, surfing is definitely an extraordinary sport activity to attend. I do not regret joining the Surf Club.

I really love surfing and feel so fortunate that I can surf now. It is beneficial that I take myself out of my comfort zone and develop a new skill and become a surfer. Also, I can learn to work with others to team up and carry surfboards together on a windy day to the coast. Since joining the Surf Club, I have learnt more about the surf culture and environmental aspects of the ocean. Surfing is an unforgettable experience; I don’t get much chance to surf in Hong Kong. I will definitely continue surfing as my leisure and sport activity.

by Aurora Mok
Year 12 IB Student



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