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Creativity Activity Service (C.A.S.) and the Class of 2020

by Tian Yi, C.A.S. Coordinator

On March 9th, Upper Schoolers spread out across the Lawrence Street Campus and the Pearl Street Meetinghouse to engage with the Creativity Activity Service (C.A.S.) projects of seven members from the Class of 2020. Each year, BFS organizes an Upper School-wide event called C.A.S.apalooza, where a group of 12th graders shares their C.A.S. projects with the Upper School community. This year’s C.A.S.apalooza highlighted four different projects. 

Aja and Jack led Coding for Beginners, a workshop for 9th graders to develop basic coding skills by tackling the Monty Hall Problem. Adasa and Fadila led Hip-Hop Evolution, a discussion on hip-hop both within and beyond BFS. Finn and Ty led Voter Registration, a workshop highlighting the importance of voter registration and guiding students through the paperwork to get registered or pre-registered. Logan led Caste in Modern Nepal, an in-depth exploration of the caste system through his own experiences and research. 

Adasa and Fadila’s “Hip Hop Evolution” Workshop

The C.A.S. Program is ⅓ of the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) Core, alongside the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge. Together these programs provide opportunities for students to engage beyond the standard subject load, allowing students to build upon their interests and apply their learning in the community. The C.A.S. Program at BFS was integrated as a graduation requirement for all students, even those who do not choose to pursue a full I.B. Diploma. Throughout their 11th and 12th grade years, students engage in experiences that fall under each of the three threads – Creativity Activity Service – as they both identify their areas for growth and challenge themselves to engage in new and exciting opportunities. The Program culminates with each student completing and reflecting upon their C.A.S. Project, which combines two or more of the three threads and requires students to partner with members of the BFS or broader community.

The Class of 2020 C.A.S. projects have covered the wide variety of the 12th graders’ talents and passions. Last year, Nicole, alongside Holly ‘19, hosted, planned, and organized the Young Asian Leadership Alliance (YALA) Gala at Brooklyn Friends School, gathering Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) student leaders from across the city on our campus. Anique and Miah also created the Underground Poets last year, a three-part experience with a slam poetry workshop, a field trip to an open mic, and a culminating live student poetry slam at the Pearl Street Meetinghouse.

Some students built on “Legacy Projects,” C.A.S. Projects started by BFS alumni which current students continue. Libby and Sammi led the Middle School Tutoring Program, connecting Upper School tutors to Middle School students seeking academic support and mentorship across a variety of subjects. Gabe and Oliver channeled the dedication they have had to the BFS chess community since their Middle School days to carry the torch of the Upper School Chess Connection, facilitating a space for students to play and teaching chess to advanced and beginner students.

Otto giving a speech at Borough Hall during the Global Youth Climate Strike Otto and Milly being interviewed while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge for the Global Youth Climate Strike

The projects that the Class of 2020 undertook this year within the BFS Community spanned many different intersections of community. Milly and Otto organized BFS students for two city-wide efforts as part of the Global Climate Strikes and led presentations for Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School students as well as BFS Colleagues. Jackson served as the passionate dungeon-master for the Adventurer’s Guild, the Upper School Dungeons & Dragons group, writing and facilitating new adventures for students to engage in every week. Dylan created “Dylan’s Plant-Based Delights” a plant-based cookbook filled with his original recipes.

Cameron and Harrison led a series of well-attended financial literacy workshops for Upper Schoolers. Lizzy, alongside Jazz ‘21, created and led an Upper School Peer Tutoring Program. Kaley, Lila, and Sage facilitated a series of “Spectrum Activities,” where students sharing an identity gathered to discuss their many perspectives on those identities. Salma B. created “What We Bring,” a digital photography exhibit intimately exploring the experiences of Upper School student womxn of color. 

The Class of 2020 also engaged in projects beyond the BFS community. M curated and designed “Anonymous Anthology,” a zine for queer and trans teens of color across New York City to showcase their art and writing. Ben F. created and led walking tours for the public at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, where he has been a long-time volunteer. 

Hours after C.A.S.apalooza on the afternoon of March 9th, the BFS community began its transition to Virtual School. Among the many powerful ways the Class of 2020 has adapted in this transition is a unique creativity in identifying ways their C.A.S. Projects can digitally meet the growing needs across all divisions of our school community. Kennedy created a digital BFS Quarantine Fashion Catalog, which she shared with Preschool and Lower School students as part of their Marvelous May Quarantine Fashion Show on May 8th. Nora and Salma M. produced a face mask-making tutorial using basic homemade materials. Elsie and Willa S. filmed baking tutorials for people of all ages, from simple mug cakes to no-knead bread. 

Nora and Salma M’s mask-making tutorial

The C.A.S. Program is a powerful way for 11th and 12th graders to learn community organizing, build on their strengths and learn new skills, as well as continue their hobbies and passions for meaningful work in the world around them. The light this group of 12th graders has demonstrated throughout this year, and especially in recent weeks, will change so many people and communities within and beyond BFS. Thank you, and congratulations to the brilliant, inspiring, and passionate Class of 2020!

Class of 2020 CAS Projects:

Adasa B. & Fadila S. — The Evolution of Hip Hop Workshop

Aja M. & Jack B. — Coding for Beginners Workshop 

Anique E. & Miah P. — Underground Poets: A BFS Slam Poetry Experience 

Ben F. — Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden Walking Tour

Ben R. — Ecorangers 

Betsy A. & Ethan K.L. — An Often Overlooked Experience Transracial Adoption Workshop

Cameron W. & Harrison K.— Financial Literacy Connection 

Coby W., & Sam E., Sam F. — Jewfinity Connection 

Dylan B. — Dylan’s Plant-Based Delights Cookbook

Elsie R. & Willa S. — Baking Tutorials 

Emma S. — Peer Mental Health Support Group 

Finn S. & Ty S. — Voter Registration Workshop

Francisco V., Sebastian B.S., & Walker T. — BFS Indoor Soccer Tournament

Gabe D. & Oliver S. — Upper School Chess

Gena T. — BFS Bowling Club

Jackson K. — Adventurer’s Guild 

Jesse I. & Mazai A.W. — Home Crafts for Kids Tutorials

Jonathan L. & Mohamed F. — Upper School Talent Show 

Kaley B., Lila L., & Sage G. — Spectrum Identity Discussions 

Kennedy W. — Quarantine Fashion Show & Digital Catalog 

Libby S. & Sammi H.  — Middle School Tutoring Program 

Lily E. & Milly B. — Environmental Action Student-Led Activity: 2019 Earth Day

Lizzy G. & Jazz H. (‘21) — Upper School Peer Tutoring Program 

Logan H. — Caste in the Modern World Workshop

M.H. —  Anonymous Anthology Zine

Max B. & Nick D. — Quarantine Cooking Show 

Milly B. & Otto M. — Global Climate Strike 

Nicole A. & Holly H. (‘19) — Young Asian Leadership Alliance (YALA Gala) Conference 

Nora S.  & Salma M. — Homemade Face Mask Tutorial

Ryan B.H. — Quarantine Life Podcast 

Salma B. — What We Bring Digital Exhibit

Sylvie B. — CAS in the Age of COVID-19 Documentary