Dancers of 2017

Having recently started my own CAS Project, it’s really exciting to hear about what my friends are doing, and how they’ve approached it.

A project that a majority of our senior class is excited about being involved in is a Bollywood dance routine, organized by Amit and Ariana, for our school talent show, ‘Gecko Factor’. As our whole class has fond memories of dancing to hindi songs, I think this will be a great way to celebrate our senior class while engaging in a CAS Activity.

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Hope For Kids – DP2

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Photo Credits: Miss Tanuja

Meeting and Objectives…

Before even entering our first meeting, I was already eager for this service year, as I am now one of the service leaders for Hope For Kids. I will be in charge of the accounting aspect, while my other two fellow leaders will be in charge of PR and organization. While at first glance, numbers and calculation may seem to be the least thrilling part of service and giving back to others, I don’t think that’s the case for my service. Through years of hard work, HFK has a considerable amount of funding to its name, a fact that got all the members very excited as we came up with idea after idea for helping the hospital with our funding. Consequently, our meeting was filled with many suggestions and improvements from last year, leading to our current ambitious objectives for the coming year:

(a) Allocate funding accordingly for short term expenses such as arts and crafts material, as well as long term expenses such as buying medical equipment. In addition to broadening perspectives and bringing a childhood back to these patients, this year, we also want to help with more technical aspects such as necessities for families and expensive medical equipment.

(b) Strengthen our awareness campaign for the service and the issues it combats in Sri Lankan society. we decided a good first step would be to open up a Facebook page. Interacting and giving back to the kids is a reward of its own, but it is equally important create awareness and make sure we aid them as a unified community, and not just a school service group.

(c) Brainstorm new creative activities that would be meaningful as well as beneficial for the kids we visit. A new idea that we carried out in one of our initial visits to the hospital this year is making paper dolls. Due to their weak immune systems, these kids aren’t allowed to have stuffed toys due to its cotton filling. Therefore, by showing them how to make paper dolls, we are hopefully showing them a way to keep hold of their childhood and see the good in a bad situation.

Hospital Visits

img_6347As mention in our this objective, one of the first hospital activities we conducted was making paper dolls. what really struck me during this visit was how fun it was to interact with the kids and how much they had to give back to their community. One of the girls I was helping make paper dolls really didn’t need my help at all! Despite being shy at first, she quickly took control of choosing the colors and designing the doll’s outfit. Despite having a really great time talking to her, she was very enthusiastic about making her doll on her own – which in the end was a good thing as she seemed to have a great artistic vision that I did not possess. It really showed me how much all of them had to offer, and how it should be a privilege to us to get to see them every week.

End of Year CAS Reflection

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As the end of this academic year nears, looking back at my initial CAS goals, and the eight learning outcomes for CAS, makes me realize how much I have grown and accomplished this year, as well as the ways in which my aspirations changed and veered in new directions.
FullSizeRender-2Looking back on my goals for creativity, it’s encouraging to see that I have achieved my goals, and exceeded my initial expectations. Having reflected on the blog regarding my progress as a piano player, I am satisfied with my success at live performances, and my improvement in pianistic techniques. However, while I am glad that I undertook the challenge of becoming a better pianist and playing for live audiences, it has also led me to identify areas for growth in my learning.Now that I have experience playing live, and have a better understanding of how to cope with mistakes during the heat of the moment, I aim to take a more central and frequent role in these performances next year, as a DP2 musician.

While maintaining my commitment to playing the piano, I am also really grateful 1that I got the opportunity to expand my knowledge of music, by developing new skills as a violinist. As this was a CAS goal made at the beginning of the year, however, I am a little disappointed at how long it took me to organize a teacher and start my lessons, as it left me no time for reflection on the blog. For next year, I plan to take more initiative when pursuing any CAS activity, so that I have time to blog in detail about it, over the course of the semesters.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 8.25.23 PMA large part of my creativity hours, however, came about due to activities and events that I did not plan to be a part of, but felt a personal desire to try. MUN and Bugsy Malone (backstage crew) are two main events that became a spontaneous addition to my CAS blog. With MUN, I demonstrated my perseverance and commitment to an activity that had overwhelmed me the year before. Deciding to participate a second time allowed me to experience the activity in a new light, made more enjoyable by my prior knowledge and new friends. Volunteering for the backstage crew in our school musical, however, was an entirely new challenge for me, one that turned out to be very rewarding. Aside from teaching me new skills, this event showed me what it is like to be part of OSC, and revel in the school spirit.

Looking back on my goals for action, it is apparent that this is the are where myScreen Shot 2016-02-17 at 8.19.56 PM plans for the year changed significantly, taking me in new athletic directions that I had never thought of before. At the beginning of the year, I was eager to try a different form of action – dance. While I was very enthusiastic to learn, however, I did not find a class to my liking. Determined to develop new skills athletically, however, I joined yoga with my friends during the second semester. Rather different from dance, yoga taught me the importance of having a cal mindset and exercising your muscles to remain healthy. It was a very different area of action compared to badminton, the sport that I have been committed to for the past few years. Badminton allowed me to improve my strengths in technical aspects, such as succeeding in a smash shot, and enabled me to compete with friends in an activity I really enjoyed. Despite my athletic achievements, however, I wish I had been able to play sports more competitively, like in SAISA, something I am planning on working towards for next year.

HFKLooking back on my goals for service, I am glad to report that I have committed to “Hope for Kids” the entire year, a feat made very easy by the wonderful kids and dedicated group members. In the presence of my peers, who are so familiar with this cause, and determined to improve it, as well as my supervisors, who care about us as much as the kids at the hospital, it is impossible to see my service as a mere CAS requirement. Hope for Kids has definitely made me want to contribute to other service projects during my own time, which I think would be a good way to develop as a person, outside of CAS requirements.

For next year, I I plan to use all my ideas from the end of this year, as well as any new ideas I may have over the summer, to figure out new CAS goals.

HFK: Final visit

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Thursday, the 10th of May, marked our final visit to the hospital this academic year. Due to commitments such as exams, and figuring out service plans for next year, we had our final fun hour with the children this Thursday. Adhering to our goal of providing the children with the childhood and cultural opportunities that they miss due to their battle with cancer, we made the visit centered on the Sri Lankan (Buddhist) festival of Vesak.

Falling on the full moon occurring during May, Vesak is a greatly celebrated holiday in Sri Lanka, which marks the birth of the Buddha in Buddhism. As a child, my favorite part of this holiday was going out at night to see the lanterns adorning the doorsteps of houses and shops alike, making for a spectacular sight in their shiny, brightly colored glory. As a build up to all of this excitement, I used to love making the lanterns for our house with my parents, deciding on the colors I wanted and wondering if we could attach christmas lights to make it glow. This kind of childhood joy and immersion in culture is something that the kids at the hospital whole-heartedly deserved, and so, that is what we delivered to them.

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The lantern frames

When we brought the supplies to the hospital and got the kids started on their own lantern, their mothers also soon joined in, and in a matter of minutes, all of us worked together enthusiastically to complete the lanterns. Making lanterns with the kids remind me once again of the joy the activity gave me when I was younger – seeing them running around with the lanterns, and turning them into absorbing toys with their imagination, made me realize that they appreciated this part of our culture in a way that I never could.

Having to leave the hospital knowing that it was going to be my last visit, only made me more determined to come back next year, especially if I can once again work with teachers and students who are so committed to the service and, above all, the kids.

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Week Without Walls

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Dehigala – View from the Treehouse

On the 25th of January, the students of OSC set out to explore several diverse corners of the country on their Week Without Walls trip. As one of theses students, I felt extremely lucky to be able to actively discover new things about my country as part of my education.

The Cultural Triangle trip, with its cornucopia of ancient architecture and abundance of rich cultural sites, focuses on the creative aspect of CAS and allowed me to apply my creativity in a whole new way.This was due in large part to our Week Without Walls project. Before embarking on the trip, a lot of planning and forethought was put into the process in weekly meetings at school.At this point, the groups were split into groups of four and briefed on making mini travelogues for each location we would be visiting. To make the project as efficient and educational as possible, we were all assigned the rotating roles of director, narrator, interviewer and videographer and given planning place to lay out the pre-shoot and post shoot.While I was very excited to be working on a movie, I was at first apprehensive about my group as it was a mix of Grade 10s and Grade 11s.As I got to know them over the course of the trip however, I realized that I had made new friends with whom I shared unique experiences.

One of my favorite things about the trip was the number of places we visited in the five days – between Anuradhapura, Ritigala, Polonaruwa and Dambulla, the trip felt more like WEEKS Without Walls. This was especially gratifying for a DP1 student like me, as we were enjoying our last Week Without Walls this year.
As we shuttled from historical city to ancient landmark, everyone appreciated the natural beauty and serenity of the locations. It was well worth it to brave the heat of the scorching sun in order to get a closer look at these natural habitats and indigenous species.In an amusing twist of events, everyone ended up with ablest 20% of their photo gallery containing pictures of the undeniably abundant monkeys that could be seen all over Anuradhapura.

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Treehouse

Other than the monkeys, I also enjoyed the natural beauty evident in the places we stayed. My favorite was the resort where we spent the 3rd and 4th nights – a treehouse. It constantly reminded me of the wonder of the nature in the area and offered a beautiful view from the top of the tree.The accommodations also made me closer with the rest of the girls on the trip as we all shared one treehouse; sharing hairbrushes and chasing away spiders for each other made us bond quickly.

During our visits to ancient Buddhist temples and burnt ruins of castles, we made sure to keep a a sharp eye out for good photo video opportunities. As a group we tried to include as much of our learning in our daily video as possible, focusing on the relationship between history and art and its representation of Sri Lankan culture and religion.

Our learning was re-inforced during the evening in group reflection sessions.During these times we discussed the exploration we did in the morning and share our learning and personal insights about the art and architecture. The teachers also encouraged us to focus on reflection questions, such as ‘How has art changed over time?’, in order to answer some of the questions that come up in our interdisciplinary unit. As a native of Sri Lanka, I already had quite a good background knowledge of Sri Lanka and had visited several of the locations seen in the trip previously. Therefore, the little details I discovered during this trip, as well as the new ways of viewing my culture, took me by surprise and really helped me gain a holistic understanding of our culture and traditions.

One thing I had never accounted for in traditional Buddhist architecture was the meticulous planning and logic behind it. In several of the religious sites visited during the trip, monasteries were built with dining pavilions and drainage systems to keep the monks clean and well fed. These features portray the careful forethought put into such buildings and demonstrates between religion, culture and science. These sorts of interdisciplinary units discussed throughout the unit helped me to make connections between certain subjects, as well as with the real world.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 8.28.47 PMApart from the learning, we also had time to relax and splash about in a refreshing pond near the treehouse. Th water was fresh and soothing after being out in the scorching sun and I loved dipping my toes in. The only thing that stopped me from staying in there too long were the tiny, very friendly fish who liked to nibble on our feet. It was still fun, however, to swim around the pond trying to avoid the fish and laughing at the friend who screamed when one swam nearby.

The Week Without Walls trip this year was an endless source of fun, educational and unique experiences. I loved collaborating and making new friends and strengthening my knowledge of the country. It was also interesting to look at art, history and the sciences outside the classroom and connect it to the local culture. This was definitely an adventure packed trip that I can look back on and recall a new and exciting experience each time.

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My WWW Group

Here is the video of our second day on the trip, which I directed and edited:

After our Week Without Walls trip, we all gathered in the auditorium to set up displays of IMG_5676everything we had done that week. For the cultural Triangle booth, we displayed four of our best movies and the many pictures we took throughout.

I really liked visiting the other WWW displays and seeing how different, yet equally entertaining, the other trips were. It made me really glad to live in such a diverse and beautiful country and go to a school that encouraged us to IMG_5673explore it.

 

It was also really fun to look after our display and talk to others about all the really cool things we saw and experienced. The WWW presentation was a great way to finish off my last Week Without Walls trip.