Action, Volleyball

Reflecting on ISSEA 2016

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Above is a photo of the IST ISSEA Girls Volleyball team AKA Twigas AKA IST Chihuahuas. I was so happy and fortunate to be able to spend four days in Johannesburg playing with such a wonderful team! Overall, we came in 5th place in the tournament but I was amazed and so proud of how we played! It hurts to think that I know we could have done so much better (the game that basically set us up for doom against AISJ was won on a penalty in the third set after being capped), but there was so much more that I gained from this experience than a trophy or medal…

  • Great new relationships
    This season, I’ve gotten to become much closer with so many girls at IST who I would have barely interacted with otherwise. This became even more apparent at ISSEA when we were spending lots of time together, making inside jokes, and sticking together through the highs and lows. ISSEA also grants the opportunity to socialize with people from around the different schools and while I felt this wasn’t as strong at AISJ, I was able to catch up with people I had met the previous year or a few new people as well. It was especially interesting talking to the girls from ICS about the current politics in Ethiopia!
  • A stronger sense of team work
    I suppose that this builds off of my previous point. As I said, we were together through the highs and lows and became very close. Because of this I felt that we became much more of a team than previous people who I had played with. This was certainly obvious on court along with our little jokes (see IST Chihuahuas comment above ;)) 
  • Ability to perform well under pressure
    This, to me, is the most intense and obvious thing gained from tournaments. While I often involve myself in lots of public speaking and debate oriented activities, I find the pressure from sports to be a lot more intense. We’re working as a team and a sort of network and while that idea can be really overwhelming sometimes, it’s important to stay calm and collected.
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Creativity, Service

CAS Project Beginnings!

After a lot of brainstorming and changing my mind about five times, I have concluded that my CAS project will be a compost initiative at IST. I have chosen this as a CAS project for several reasons

  • It provides an outlet for both creativity and service as per the CAS curriculum
  • It has the potential to be sustained for many years to follow at IST
  • It is an incredibly simple yet effective opportunity for change
  • It is a cause dear to me!

My proposal can be found in this link however is yet to be completely finished. Before I submit it to Ms. Milne, I plan on meeting with Mr. Patrick next week to finalize a plan for the actual bins. While I am not very savvy when it comes to construction and design, I have noted the following as being important notes to consider:

  • How many could we realistically make to place around school?
  • How will we compost animal products – or will we even venture into that? (pests are a problem)
  • What are our materials available?
  • How long should this take?

After this meeting, I plan on discussing the matter with Mr. Smith and probably an IST service group relating to the environment for extra support. After all of these discussions, I will be ready to construct the bins and place them around school.

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Service

Reflecting on TGO Career Fair

As I mentioned in my proposal, the learning outcomes I anticipated were as followed the second, third and fourth. Below, I reflect on this experience through these lenses.

2. Undertake new challenges
Although this was not my first time in a leadership position, there was something that made this task distinct from my role in MUN or Cancer Initiative. The first aspect of this was the complete and utter responsibility which I will go deeper into in the following learning outcome. The second was the language barrier as there were some girls who did not speak English as fluently and I was worried that they were not completely understanding and therefore benefitting from the advice and formatting tips. What was interesting about this however is that I found myself benefitting even more strongly from the advice that I was sharing as I had to focus on communicating effectively regardless of barriers through diction and pronunciation.

3. Plan and initiate activities
While at first I was ecstatic to be taking part in this event, as the deadline approached I realize it was the first time that I was planning an activity like this completely alone. The only information that I really had to work with was that the workshop would be 20 minutes long following the theme of public speaking. To my surprise, I had great feedback from the girls and while it was not as interactive a 20 minutes as I’d like, I suppose the responses from those involved is really what mattered!

4. Work collaboratively with others
I think that perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of this event and my participation was the opportunity to collaborate with people who I would not normally have the chance to. What pleased me the most was the way in which at the end of each session girls would take my notes and transform them into own speeches. As they discussed issues like environmental awareness and women’s rights I realized that despite coming from different places and leading very different lives to my own, we have incredible amounts in common in terms of our interests and passions.

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Creativity, Theatre

Proposal: HS Play

Experience type: Creative

Duration: August 2016 – December 2016

Supervisors: Ms. Patel, Ms. Payne

Tuesdays, 4:00-5:00, black box costume room

This semester, I will be working in the costume and props department of the Black Box Theatre Company’s rendition of “Twelve Angry Jurors”. I have identified this as a creative CAS experience given the creative thinking and process involved in costume design and preparation along with the more conceptual aspect as how it fits into the themes associated with the play. This is an incredible opportunity to undertake new challenges, plan and initiate activities, work collaboratively with others, engage with issues of global importance for the following reasons:

Learning Outcome 2: Undertaking new challenges 
Although I have been involved in theatre from a very young age, this year marks the first time that I am so heavily involved in the backstage and specifically in costume and props. This is a completely different aspect of theatre which requires new and different skills and, with this, entails new and different challenges. This includes a stronger emphasis on design and visuals along with organization and logistics.

Learning outcome 3: Plan and initiative activities
This year, the Black Box Theatre Company has decided to have this play directed by teachers both on stage and behind the scenes. Although this minimizing the relevance of this learning outcome, it remains significant in the fact that we are supervised by teachers however, the brainstorming, planning, and sourcing of materials in essentially on behalf of the students.

Learning outcome 4: Working collaboratively with others
In order to execute a professional and well-done production, there are a variety of individuals involved. I am working most closely with three other girls in the costume department and as we have no particular leader, although some may take on this responsibility through their characters, it is a great example of working collaboratively and really building off of each other. Outside of our smaller group, we have to work alongside the set to make sure that the costumes will not clash or sink in as well as the actors so that they feel comfortable with how their characters are being portrayed.

Learning outcome 6: Engage with issues of global importance
I think that this is the most unexpected outcome to arise from this project however maintains relevance. The play that is being put on is “Twelve Angry Jurors” and discusses in depth the themes of justice, social inequality, and in turn social responsibility. We were given the job as costume designers to channel these themes while challenging the strict perimeters that the original play presents. Through portraying these ideas on characters in a play without setting we try to illustrate the timeless and more true aspects of each of these themes and therefore understand them in a more global way.

 

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Action, Volleyball

First Volleyball Tournament

Saturday marked my first volleyball tournament in my senior year. This was an incredible experience as I was able to gain a great deal of insight regarding my personal strengths and weaknesses along with those of my team. In order to reflect best, I thought it would help to write the following in bullet points so as to address goals individually.

My Strengths:

  1. Movement
    I think that where I did really well in the games on Saturday, especially when playing more difficult teams like Makango, was in the way I was moving. I felt that I was following the ball and anticipating their attacks quite well. This is something that is going to be vital in ISSEA against teams with incredibly strong attacks and so what I’m going to need is to be consistent in what I had done here.
  2. Receiving
    Although I think that this relates pretty strongly to movement, receiving is another thing that I am proud of from this game. In the final set against Makongo, I was in the back court for a significant part. This meant that I had to be low and counted on in order to properly play the game and continue the rally. I think that I did a pretty good job at this and one better than what I had expected. What I realized is that in order to maintain this I just need to remember to sacrifice as the worse that can happen is a simple bruise or scrape!

My Weaknesses:

  1. Attitude
    I noticed early on in the tournament that my attitude greatly affected the way that I was playing. Not playing the first game along with Fernanda, I wasn’t as comfortable in the way that I was warmed up to play a more challenging team. This was obvious as I wasn’t playing as well as I could and then began to stress. Luckily, Maya just casually told me to chill out and not worry a couple of times and it was really amazing how that changed how I felt and subsequently how I played.
  2. Setting
    The irony of being a setter is the fact that I haven’t felt very confident in my setting lately. There were moments during the games where I felt great however I think that consistency is key and the best way to practice this is by helping the team with hitting drills before games along with generally practicing with Millie and Denym.

Notes in the regards to the team:

  • As I said before, it was incredible seeing the encouragement from Maya and how that completely change the way I played. I’m happy to say that this year I feel that we’re a much more encouraging and warmer team than before and so I hope that we keep this up!
  • Our main weakness I think though is laziness. We need to really work on our positioning and moving for the ball. It won’t simply come to individual players and so I hope that by practicing with Jenny or other coaches, we’ll feel more pushed.
  • Along with this, an issue that we certainly have is calling. I think that the easiest way to fix this is by developing the habit during drills but I know that I do that and it’s really helped me.
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Service

Initial thoughts on Cancer Initiative

Last Tuesday marks the first session of Cancer Initiative this year. As seen below, used this meeting to sketch out some plans for this semester as well as to work as a group to meet some of the new requirements for trip approvals. This reflection will simply address challenges that I see for this semester, some goals, and general proposed ideas.

Challenges:
– Limited numbers of students:
Unfortunately, we are working this semester with only 2 students. Although we have sent many messages asking for students to be placed into our group, I don’t think that we are going to receive many students. This simply means that we are going to need to focus work between the three of us and larger projects might be an issue in terms of logistics.
– New systems put in place for trip-oriented CAS groups:
This seems to have been our greatest issue so far. The amount of paperwork is definitely slowing down our ability to travel to Muhimbili however, hopefully, this will all be sorted out as soon as possible in order to work smoothly for the rest of the year.

Goals:
– Create a stronger partnership with Muhimbili for next year:
I think that as a leader I simply want to ensure that this service group stays active even after I have left IST. For me, this means that I would like my legacy to include a stronger partnership between IST and the hospital so that we end up truly making a difference and using our resources and time wisely to benefit both parties.
– Receive more recognition at IST so that membership is no longer an issue:
For the past year or so, membership has been a consistent problem. I hope that through the proposed projects for this semester, students at IST will recognize Cancer Initiative as a more interesting and fun service group to consider.

Proposed Projects (see picture below):
Because we do not have many members this year, we have proposed to following two projects which would include involvement and collaboration with our service groups at IST to form larger projects.
– Mural at Tumaini la Maisha house
The first idea is being proposed to a number of art service groups at school and will seek to paint a long-term mural at the Tumaini la Maisha house made by the kids alongside artists brought in from IST. The idea here is some art that is made by the kids living there to comfort as opposed to the already lively art that they currently have. This will be proposed to the Muhimbili group as soon as there are willing students at IST.
– Storybook
The second project has been proposed by Alqaim and is the idea of a storybook featuring the stories of the kids staying at the Tumaini la Maisha house. There will be art and interviews in this book and hopefully some will be sold to raise funds for cervical cancer or other endeavours at Muhimbili.

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Action, Volleyball

First volleyball game of the season!

Today I played the first volleyball game of the season and, incredibly enough, the first game of senior year. It’s been really amazing to see my transitions and improvements as a player from 9th grade and seeing how some things have even stayed the same.

In 9th grade, I can remember just how terrified I was in the first volleyball practice. Given that I was new to IST, I hardly knew anyone and being the only freshman trying out, I felt seriously out of place. Looking back to 3 years ago, I can see all the amazing friendships I’ve actually made during volleyball and just how much of an integral part its become of my high school experience overall.

It’s funny thinking about how overjoyed and anxious I was reading the list of the first cut outside of Batterby’s office and comparing it to the feeling of making ISSEA teams in the following years. I suppose I’ve gotten more confident in my abilities to make the team but what I really realized today is the fact that I’ve worked for that confidence. Today’s game was incredible in the sense that we were really being worked in terms of defence and general stamina. I’m really proud of the points we were playing even though we didn’t necessarily win all of them. Off of this game, I’ve realized that I need to be more confident in my serve as well as work more on attack. Overall though, this season came to a great start and I can’t wait to *hopefully* bring amazing competition to ISSEA in my final year with some of my closest friends!

*written on 25/08/16, not uploaded because of technical issues*

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