Students at IB World Schools who undertake the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) must satisfy the many rigorous elements that ensure its renown as a unique, quality curriculum.
One of these is the Community-Activity-Service (CAS) project. At its core, the project requires students to challenge themselves by getting involved in real, purposeful activities, planning and reviewing their progress as they go along, and reflecting on outcomes and personal learning.
Introducing The Sentinel - a yearly CAS project
Amongst the host of dedicated and impressive projects students at Haut-Lac International Bilingual School have produced over the years is the secondary section magazine, The Sentinel. Last year, five DP1 students pooled their talents to create a brilliant piece of hard-hitting journalism.
Outcomes like The Sentinel are the reason the CAS project holds such value – they are a way for students to discover the world, engage with it and learn more about their own interests, strengths, weaknesses. The IBDP is about more than knowing facts. Instead, its CAS project pushes international school students to get to know themselves.
Unsurprisingly, there has been a history of student publications emerging from the CAS project element over the years, but the Sentinel is the first to centre on current affairs.
Let’s hear it from the students
“We chose stories based on our interests [as well as] ones that are less talked about, which we feel people should be more aware of,” the students said of their article selection process. As a team, their wide range of interests has ensured a great diversity in the stories they choose to highlight. With some preferring science and the environment, and others professing a keener interest in sports and politics, The Sentinel readers are sure to learn about a little bit of everything.
Speaking of learning, when asked about the takeaways they got from working on The Sentinel, the students admitted, “We have learnt a lot about cooperation and the difficulties of working as a team. Of course, in the midst of a global pandemic, this hurdle was particularly obstructive. “We set up several Zoom meetings [but] it was difficult to make sure everyone was on track.”
However, they also proved to have many strengths, like Ruben, who is “a very talented graphic designer”, as well as co-leaders, Ariana and Boris, who were “very good at setting deadlines and managing their time.” The passion each writer felt for the subject of their articles made for some truly eye-opening reads!
What about meeting CAS requirements?
Through explorations of current affairs and immersion into investigative journalism, these students certainly satisfied their learning outcomes! These included demonstrating engagement with issues of global significance and recognising the ethics of choices and actions.
Rifle through The Sentinel’s pages and it is obvious those boxes are easily ticked! What’s more, the team gained many other skills as they discovered the joys and perils of journalistic writing, such as maintaining objectivity at all times. Hopefully, these should hold them in good stead for the future.
It seems all that effort made for a great payoff. “We enjoyed seeing all of our hard work, research, writing and rewriting, editing, designing and planning (what a list!) coming together”. The response from the school community was also an overwhelmingly positive one.
After their second issue is released this year, this investigative team hopes to pass the baton on to another group of enthusiastic and motivated DP1s. Who is ready to take up the challenge?