CAS Blog

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

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 

CAS Day 2018

Sunday, December 02, 2018

This year’s CAS day encompassed all three strands of CAS; Creativity, Activity and Service.

We began the day with Service at Treasure Boxes Inc at Beverley. Rikki, founder of Treasure Boxes, told us about their charity, which donates children’s goods to parents that are victims of domestic violence or that face homelessness. We all chipped in and brought something from home as well as the very generous donations from the staff.

We sorted clothing into sizes, sorted books into age groups and generally had a great time helping a worthy cause.

Next was onto Adventure Rooms where students had to use their Creativity and their smarts to escape situations.

The students were in four different teams and were battling to see who could escape faster. We then enjoyed a quick lunch down the mall.

Finally, we headed back to Woodcroft for Activity, where Old Scholar Josh Sorial put the group through their paces in a fitness session. 

It was a great experience for all involved and I would like to thank all the staff who donated goods and to the students who embraced the day so wholeheartedly.

Sarah Shoobridge
CAS Coordinator


Alice Bekkers cuts her hair for a cause

Thursday, November 29, 2018

For as long as I can remember I had beautiful long hair… 

This all changed a little while ago, my hair is still beautiful only a little shorter (by 38cm).

My hair has always been important to me and I realised that unlike me, many children with cancer or other diseases lose their hair due to these diseases or the treatment / medication they receive.

I saw this as my opportunity to make myself and another person happy.

I had had enough of my hair being the length that it was. (From tip to tip it was around 65cm)

It was getting strenuous to brush every morning and I am the worst when it comes to styling, (I can barely do a ponytail!) so I decided it was time to cut it all off.

I had heard before that it was possible to cut your hair and send it off to charities who make wigs for those with cancer or other diseases that cause hair loss, so I did a little bit of searching and found that Variety, the Children’s Charity, accepted hair donations.

The requirements for hair to be sent are;

  • No colour
  • At least 8 inches
  • Clean and dried
  • In a plait or ponytail with a hair tie at both ends. (Loose hair is not accepted)

I wanted to donate my hair to a children’s charity because children and adolescents often are self conscious about their appearance. I want another child who may feel self conscious about not having hair to feel like the most beautiful person in the world.

When the day came to get my hair cut I told my hairdresser what I had planned.

She had known me since I was a little girl and always saw me with my long hair so she was afraid to cut it all off, but after a little bit of convincing she washed and plaited my hair ready to cut.

My hair was so thick it was difficult to cut all in one go.

When the final cut separated my hair it felt like a huge weight had been taken off my head (both literally and spiritually). Because my hair is so thick and long it makes my head a lot heavier than you would think! I was so happy when I finally had the loose plait in my hand, it felt good to know that my hair would go to a child who needed it more than I did.

The length of the plait I donated was 38cm.

To make one wig it takes at least 6 ponytails, these charities are always in need of new hair to make more kids happy. If you are ever planning on cutting your hair and it’s long enough and isn’t coloured, please consider this I believe that what you put in life will give back, if you put in love and thought you will get that back someday, it also makes you feel like you accomplished something that benefits someone else.

I hope that once a wig is made the person will be able to enjoy it so much more than I am enjoying my new look!

Alice Bekkers
Year 11 IB Student