Feature image taken by Yang Thai Tan.
My senior year of 2020-2021 is undoubtedly in a very unique scenario due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on societal functions. I am grateful for my school’s ability to adapt to the situation and still provide education on campus face to face, albeit many of classes are still conducted on Zoom as teachers abroad cannot enter Sri Lanka. Due to the pandemic, there have been a wide variety of restrictions on normal activity that span across all sectors. These may include the avoidance of contact sports, being in close proximity with other people in a closed environment for an extended period of time, or even just meeting with people. Though the country has opened up relatively, there is still a risk of the disease spreading and therefore we must always be vigilant and abide by the rules.
With that said, I acknowledge the challenges that must be faced to continue my CAS journey in requiring aspects of creativity, activity, and service to be fulfilled. Similarly, I have had to adapt to this situation and plan accordingly to allow for all three of these CAS mandates to be followed.
In regard to creativity, there is much uncertainty regarding the fate of our school band due to its nature requiring a closed environment with many people together in close proximity to do. Furthermore, our music teacher is away and cannot come back to Sri Lanka momentarily. However, my private violin tuition is still going strong. Despite the long hiatus of face to face lessons and doing violin lessons via Zoom, my violin teacher has recently opened up her home for real life lessons. Through this, I am able to continue furthering my passion and developing my creativity skills with my instrument. I hope to continue in this fashion throughout the year, working on pieces at the ABRSM Grade 8 Violin Practical level. These pieces would be either played in the music recital for IB music at the end of the year or in an ABRSM exam (though that is still uncertain), or both.
Activity in terms of badminton practice will be my main undertaking for the year. Although last year’s badminton SAISA came to an unfortunate halt and this year’s SAISAs are cancelled, I can still work on developing my skills in this sport. Over the summer, I have already begun restarting badminton lessons regularly, with a one month hiatus, but my goal is to go to lessons every Friday after school. One thing I have noticed over the summer is that long breaks from training tends to reverse the progress I had gained in months past. Therefore, a regular weekly training session would do well to retain the progress I have already made and work on my skills even more.
Perhaps the most challenging CAS goal for me this year would be service. This year, I would naturally become the service leader for Hope for Kids after having been in it for two consecutive years already. However, since the beginning of February, there have been concerns already about safeguarding the wellbeing of the children at the cancer hospital. This prevented our work with helping the children directly and we resorted to indirect support through sending presents and doing food drives. Due to the pandemic, it is highly unlikely that our service group would be allowed to enter the hospital for the entire year. With our past experience, however, we should be able to weather this storm and come up with ever more creative ways to support the children at the cancer hospital through distance support programs. I am looking forward to leading my group and organizing fundraisers, food drives, gifting, and more!