In a time of uncertainty and hardship, GD Goenka World School decided to make June the creativity, activity, service (CAS) month in hopes to lift their community up through different projects.
“In any situation, there is a sacred-solution”.―Lailah Gifty Akita, Think Great: Be Great!
This quote reminded me of the students of our school, who relentlessly kept the true spirit of IB alive through their efforts. When in most parts of the world students were struggling to find solutions for completion of work in the difficult pandemic situation, the outstanding Goenkans were already at work on different creativity, activity, service (CAS) projects.
Service and volunteering have been at the forefront during this time of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. To stay safe, social distancing is the key, but it does not actually mean social isolation. We’re all together in this situation, so we decided to dedicate the month of June 2020 as the CAS month so that students could engage constructively during the summer holidays when everybody was restricted to their homes due to the countrywide lockdown. Students were involved in numerous projects and activities and ventured into territories untrodden before.
The year 2020 has been unique in so many ways. On one side, it was challenging overcoming confinement and on the other side, it brought in novel opportunities. Here in this article, we describe the various CAS projects undertaken during the designated month along with the subjects involved. Information technology in a global society (ITGS) and CAS collaboration resulted in the development of the e-Library project. The webinar series by students enhanced their critical thinking and communication skills. Under the Ann Dann project for a social cause, students collected huge amounts of wheat flour, cooking oil, sugar and pulses to donate to a charitable organization. Students at individual levels, enhanced their creativity through learning dance, exercising, making masks and many other activities while also remaining occupied.
The Goenkans seemed to be inspired by another quote of Lailah as well: “You will encounter many challenges in life. But you must never be defeated by the challenges” .
Under the able guidance and umbrella of our director principal, Dr Neeta Bali, and with the resilient support of Mr Jinas Panicker, the CAS coordinator, our IB candidates found the confidence to spearhead their initiatives during the CAS month, which have been mentioned below.
Project supervisor: Mr Amit Chand
Project leader: Parisha Bhutani
“A library is many things; it’s a place to go, to get in and out of the rain, it’s a place to go if you want to sit and think. But particularly, it’s a place where books live and where the soul of a school lives. We may have to leave the school building for now, but we’ll never give up its soul”.
For this CAS project, students created an online library, since during this lockdown, many people were unable to access their physical resources or are finding it difficult to collect resources online. So, in order to provide these resources to the students, parents and even teachers, the core team: Parisha, Naman, Rakshita, Elina, Praman, Harsh and Shreya along with six 11th graders prepared a Google drive where they collected and stored e-books, e-notes, past-papers, links to several websites, crash courses for all grades, everything from as big as required IB textbooks to as small as that one equation you just can’t understand! It is the one-stop place for all the information one may reasonably require for learning, but be deceived not that this is a service bound only to a few students―this is something for the Goenkan community, by the Goenkan fraternity. Not only have the students focused on academic resources, but to achieve a holistic approach and to make the best out of our current situation, they have included apps and websites where people can acquire a new skill or a hobby from the safety of their homes.
Since this is a CAS project, the students ensured that they completed all the CAS stages to achieve their aim by devising new planning strategies to create a wholesome and helpful working environment for everyone. They also collaborated with grade 11 students for the process to move smoothly and also devised ways to overcome common challenges, such as cooperation and coordination while working for this project, as it had been the most crucial part while working online. The project helped the students become better thinkers and communicators while also developing skills for inquiry and research.
Name: Ann Dan
Project supervisor: Mr Jinas Panicker
Project leader: Ria Arora
The Earth Saviours Foundation is home to more than 500 underprivileged and people with intellectual disability. During this crucial time of COVID-19, they were lacking essential needs like food, clothes and medical aid. Therefore, to help them, the students of GD Goenka World School initiated a CAS project अN Daan, which means donation of food or grains in English.
अN Daan is a food donation drive where essential food items were collected and distributed to those in need. The Earth Saviours Foundation and school staff collected items left in the donation bins at the main gate after a few weeks. The core team played a huge role in promoting the campaign of अN Daan through various posters and videos. They also polished most of their IB learner profile traits of being knowledgeable, thinkers, caring, communicators, balanced, principled and reflective.
The donator was requested to pack a bag that consisted of five items:
- 5 kg wheat
- 1 kg sugar
- 1 kg pulses
- 1 L cooking oil
- Glucose biscuit packs
Their aim was to collect 40 bags of items, but they ended up collecting more than 120 bags! This came out to more than 600 kg of wheat, 120 litres of oil, 240 packets of glucose biscuits, 120 kg
of sugar and pulses!
Mask Donation Project
Name: Mask Donation Project
Project supervisor: Mr Jinas Panicker
Project leader: Ria Arora
Core Team: Saloni Mohan, Aekum Kamboj, Elina Kher, Anya Arora and Harsh Gupta
Service—collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need―this definition was fulfilled with the Mask Donation Project.
The interact club of G.D Goenka World School organized a mask donation drive wherein 1223 reusable masks were collected, sanitized and donated to physically and economically challenged residents of the Earth Saviours Foundation. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in our country, the public use of face masks has become a necessity. Acting as the only physical barrier to protect oneself and others from the viral particulates, the mask can be seen as life-saving in these daunting times. Keeping this in mind, our interactors organized this drive to provide a high-quality mask to those that require them the most.
The Opportunity in Crisis
Name: The Opportunity in Crisis
Project supervisor: Mr Ramesh Karwasra
Project leader: Saloni Mohan
Core Team: Dhruv Wadhva, Sumer Kaistha, Anika Singh, Nishka Mittal, Jusjeev Singh, Naman Akanshi, Atufa Shabnum and Nandani Kapoor
Another feat of the Goenkans managed to accomplish was finding an opportunity during the crisis to develop the first webinar titled: ‘The Opportunity in Crisis’ which was held on Saturday 20 June from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm. This webinar was moderated by grade 12 students and included a session with a guest speaker Mr Deepak Sharma, an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) practitioner and a lifestyle and motivational coach. The webinar included a discussion on the best usage of our time at home during the lockdown and ways to convert challenges into advantages.
The second webinar titled ‘The best use of Internet during lockdown’ was conducted by grade 12 students on Saturday 27 June from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm. It addressed the impact of excessive screen time on health. Alternatives to social media, video games and other platforms like Netflix were discussed so that students could engage themselves with consideration of their health. Safe usage of social media and cyber-bullying were also covered in this webinar.
The third webinar titled ‘The economic impact of the pandemic’ included discussion on the impact of lockdown in India, the world’s economy and data comparisons of different countries’ policies regarding the measures they were taking to cope with the pandemic. Besides, the ways to deal with anxiety and depression during and post-pandemic and the post-pandemic world, was discussed and analyzed.
The Goenkans have made us proud by proving that, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. When this crisis is over, we will remain proud of how the community came together to help each other and how our young minds thrived during this period.
Dr Manisha Mehta, M.Sc, Ph.D, is an experienced educator and presently working as head of the IB Diploma Programme (DP) at GD Goenka World School in Gurgaon, India. She has been the head of school and has varied experience in coordinating the DP, IGCSE and A levels programs at international schools of repute. She is a DP examiner for chemistry and currently also teaches theory of knowledge (TOK). You can connect with her here.
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