by Noel Quiñones, C.A.S. Coordinator
On April 20th, Upper Schoolers gathered in the Pearl Street Meeting House to participate in a unique experience with the Class of 2018. Seven 12th grade students took to the stage to share the intersections between their passions and their projects for this year’s Creativity Activity Service (C.A.S.) Collection. Student presenters included Nia L, Gabriella S, Alexander VB, Milo H, Rosemary DLC, Nisa R, and Lucy S.
For the past 18 months, Brooklyn Friends 12th Graders have been undertaking their C.A.S. Program. Through both internal and external community building our students have identified their passions and aligned them with concrete needs they see around them.
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 to the real world. Brooklyn Friends believed so strongly in the C.A.S. Program that it 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 community.
Juan C’s C.A.S. Project is included below, a video featuring all 42 of our graduating 12th graders and their work this year in C.A.S.
The Class of 2018 C.A.S. Projects span from Anthony H, Eduardo L and Michaela G creating our first ever BFS a capella club, to Jeremiah H creating a Hip-Hop album and showcasing it at a Leukemia benefit concert, to Juliet R-L and Grace K organizing a workshop on animal rights at the BFS Community Issues Conference, to Snow creating a collaborative mural to decorate the school’s walls.
Students may choose to partner with members of the school community or with the broader community. In school, TK K’s project grew from a lifelong passion for teaching classical music to young students. Scott M’s Day of Fun came from his dedication to mental health awareness and allowing a time for students to relax before finals began.
In addition, BFS runs an annual C.A.S.apalooza event where a handful of 12th graders share their C.A.S. Projects with the rest of the student body in attendance. This year’s event featured three projects: Immigration Impact with Jason C and Angel I was a panel featuring three representatives from various local immigrant justice organizations. The speakers shared about about their work, the lives of immigrants, and the need to take action today. Humans of Brooklyn Friends School, Aishat A’s Project, was a student-run club created as a way to give members of the BFS community a platform to share their stories. And Queer as Folk: An Exploration into Queer Culture was a project launched by Ernest M and Jonaé O to highlight LGBTQIA+ culture and the influence of voguing in the modern day.
Outside of school, Alice Q’s documentary on language privilege was her first experience with documentary film-making and Niamh H’s workshop on rape culture at the Quaker Youth Leadership Conference was her first time facilitating a workshop space.
Some students build on C.A.S. Projects that are started by previous BFS graduates and passed down as “Legacy Projects.” This year, Justine B and Kasey J brought their own spin to organizing the BFS Talent Show for Upper School students.
The C.A.S. Program is a powerful way for 11th and 12th graders to learn community organizing, build on their strengths and develop new skills, as well as continue their hobbies and passions for meaningful work in the world around them. Having started as the C.A.S. Coordinator two years ago, it has been an absolute pleasure to watch my first group of C.A.S. students graduate having accomplished so much. Congratulations to the Class of 2018!