IB Highlights: Spanish Existentialist Stories

Extended Essay Highlight: On Tuesday, February 8, the seniors will be uploading their EEs to the International Baccalaureate organization. One of those is Tariq Ravasia’s 4,000-word essay on Spanish Existentialist stories.

“My EE is an exploration of existentialist themes in a pair of short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, a prolific essayist and 20th century author,” writes Tariq. “More specifically, I looked at the construction and themes of two of Borges’ short stories through the lens of Jean-Paul Sartre’s conceptualization of radical freedom. I wanted a text that was thematically deep and one which I would actually want to read, and Borges’ works met the requirements.

“This may sound trite, but writing an essay that long in Spanish was far and away the hardest part of the process. Every step, whether reading, researching, or writing, was made far more difficult, as was staying motivated.

“I’ve learned quite a bit about how authors use fantastical motifs and devices in their texts to communicate existentialist themes. More interestingly, I’ve learned a few new words in both English and Spanish. For example, I had no idea that “pullulate” meant “to spread rapidly” until I’d done my EE!”

CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for all of our Upper School students (in the US and in China) include JOYA ice skating, bootcamp, Santa Express volunteer, playing hockey, putting together and handing out Care Packages, skiing, being a teacher’s assistant, participating in The Taffetta’s show, being a rabbit for Lower School cross country, learning to string racquets for tennis team members, playing basketball, and making fried pickles.

IB Question of the Week: Can you explain CAS a bit more for a full diploma candidate, including the learning outcomes?

CAS is organized around the three strands of Creativity, Activity, and Service defined as follows.
• Creativity — exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance.
• Activity — physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle.
• Service — collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need.

The CAS program formally begins at the start of the Diploma Program and continues regularly for at least 18 months with a reasonable balance between creativity, activity and service. Typically, students’ service experiences involve the following stages.
• Investigation, preparation and action that meets an identified need;
• Reflection on significant experiences throughout to inform problem-solving and choices;
• Demonstration allowing for sharing of what has taken place.

All CAS students are expected to maintain and complete a CAS portfolio as evidence of their engagement with CAS. The CAS portfolio is a collection of evidence that showcases CAS experiences and student reflections; it is not formally assessed.
Completion of CAS is based on student achievement of the seven CAS learning outcomes.
• Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth.
• Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
• Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience.
• Show commitment to, and perseverance in, CAS experiences.
• Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively.
• Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.
• Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions.

Through their CAS portfolio, students provide the school with evidence demonstrating achievement of each learning outcome. Some learning outcomes may be achieved many times, while others may be achieved less frequently. Check out this 2-Page Brief on CAS for more information.

Please refer to the IB page on the SGS website and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information.