CAS profile


Knowing Riyaa….

“Solitude has its own very strange beauty to it.” ~ Liv Tyler

My name is Riyaa Ruwala and I currently study in Fountainhead. I believe the quote above tells a lot about me. Being an introvert, parties and being around a huge crowd had never been my idea of enjoying but nevertheless I have always loved being one. Relatively many people think me to be a person who is full of the milk of human kindness because I am one of those shrinking violets who face a hard time in expressing themselves, so most of the times people don’t get to know me as I actually am but as someone who I by default portray myself as. People around me are habitual to believe that I am a hardworking and committed person, but those of who get close to me eventually come to know that I am just a lifelong procrastinator. My love for music (singing and drums which I recently started learning), books and movies always remind me who the real “RIYAA” is. Listening music, reading books and watching movies are way out for me, through which I can effortlessly escape from the external world and walk in a world of mine, where I can easily express myself, where situational/conditions are always in my favor allowing me to foster my thoughts and ideas. But I have undying wish to evolve myself as a person who can confidently carry herself into a huge crowd, express herself and her thoughts/ideas freely and easily.

Family and friends( the few that I have) are things that I cherish the most and is so grateful about because no matter what they have always been by my side and in addition to this I always find times when I can help them out to show them how important they are to mean and also because of the immense  satisfaction I receive. I have always thought life as long, unexpected, surprising and a wild journey and walking through the different phases of life with those who are positive, adventurous and enthusiast make every moment memorable.

Frankly, I have had only one dream, to get a job where I can just sit and watch movies and TV shows. However, when I talk about my current aim, it is to get into a reputed university so that I can fulfill the expectations and dream that my parents have had for a very long time. I cannot assure whether I will be successful in the profession I choose but I will always strive hard to be responsible and try bringing a difference in lives of the unprivileged(no matter how small or big).

“Make your best mistakes” were words taken from a song, which might seem very childish but has constantly motivated me to sometimes take a leap of faith or going with my craziest ideas (which has some or the other way always helped me to live my life to the fullest). The most valuable thing people in my life have taught me is to “never let go of my identity” because that what make me one of a kind.

Go Green..! (CAS project)

Like any other, person I used to read about environmental issues in newspapers or the internet, but rarely remember myself putting efforts for any cause. However, during my IB Diploma years, while studying ESS (Environmental Systems and Societies), I learned that small steps locally by individuals can sooner or later have a significant contribution to solving the larger problem. So, me and 2 other friends of mine, together we decided to undertake our share of responsibility towards the environment, we decided to build a mini nursery in our school. Also during the initial stages of our project we also found out that around 3 lakh trees are cut every year in the state of Gujarat (where we live), surprisingly it didn’t come as shock to me because somewhere I knew what kind and how substantial damage we were doing to the environment from a very long time. However, it made my commitment to my project more firm and unwavering. My project also gave me chance to enhance and test my time management and leadership skills and chance to learn skills i.e. gardening.

Before, planning we already had decided that we did not want our project to just a mere activity to address the issue of deforestation but also wanted it to be a token of appreciation for our school for all it had done for me in the past two years after I joined fountainhead and of course the environment, and hence we managed to produce a small but a quality nursery, with all the best resources we could arrange.

In order to achieve the above goal, we initially worked with an experienced plant nursery worker and environmentalist. Also, before beginning the execution, there were a lot of things that needed to place like, what kind of plants to grown, arranging resources for gardening, volunteers, a patch of land etc, which required a lot of research and persuasion. I had to continuously be in touch with the environmentalist for guidance as we were, just freshers in this field (:P) collaborating with us in this project.

All seemed set to go and we were ready to execute our project after a rigorous planning for one month. But suddenly things started to fall apart, we didn’t realize what kept coming and hitting us. Our half of the seeds were misplaced, the patch the three of us cleared to plant on (which took us more than 3 three hours) was found to be inappropriate for gardening and lastly the environmentalist we were collaborating with and replying heavily on bailed out on us (we were hardly able to communicate with him). Subsequently, with all these problems showing one after the other our execution was delayed by two more months as soon, volunteers started bailing out as well as exams were soon approaching and considering it took us two weeks to arrange seeds and clear the patch and persuade volunteers we had almost given up on this project.

However, soon after the exams, even though we wanted a quality project; we realised that to do that we did not require a top-notch environmentalist, we started again with the project now working with our school gardener, we faced challenges to arrange seeds and bags to grow plants in without the environmentalist who was earlier arranging everything for us, but with our commitment and little more help from our school teachers we were able to arrange all the necessary resources (however did not compromise with the quality). Also, without any volunteers we knew it would be difficult to execute the project but not impossible so again started to call out for volunteers, initially when we started our execution nobody turned on early mornings, but we didn’t lose our hopes and started the project single-handedly, first day was tiring as hell as only three of us were trying to all the different jobs on our own. But as we did we realized I was more hardworking, responsible, determined and patient than I thought. Overall our quick and effective thinking and processing skills helped us come up with an alternative plan with all the flaws in our first one. Also this project helped me personally realize that how I needed to enhance my management skills after reflecting on the mistakes that we made during our planning process especially taught me the importance of commitment, like if broken it can mess things up for us badly (like we gave our volunteers a time period for the execution with all the problems we faced we forgot to keep them in loop and broke our commitment leading to no volunteers in the end).

After a while, few volunteers started showing up, not regularly but it did help us a lot and accelerated our project significantly. Moreover, working collaboratively also helped me gain motivation which I lacked previously. Also when own me and two of my friends were working alone but with three of together, it was a great support in tough times, which helped me mentally stabilize and think rationally in difficult circumstances. This project helped me learned gardening skills, how to form a contingency plan, how to persuade other and enhance my management skills.
Lastly, the important return this project gave me was: a sense of satisfaction and achievement.


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CAS Essay

What does CAS mean, theoretically speaking creativity, activity, and service which aims at involving students in a range of activities alongside academics, to develop new skills or individual personality. If I had been asked this at the beginning of the diploma programme I would have said probably another mandatory core requirement (which it actually is) to get a Diploma. However, as the academic year started passing by with every single activity I participated in small initiatives that I took or even getting out of my comfort zone by taking up physical activities just for the sake of meeting my IB requirements. I realized that every new challenge that I undertook, every commitment that I made to things that I didn’t really enjoy doing moreover collaboratively working with new people which may not have been the most comforting and enjoyable things that I may have done. But by doing so was slightly making me more open to new things/activities, confident, more responsible towards community and environment and also taught me time management as I was juggling my time between my academics and extracurriculars.

From my perspectivity and what I have experienced in the past two years is that the overall IB CAS is two step development programme helping every individual develop internally in terms of personality or confidence or new skills etc. and  externally in terms of motivating students to contribute their part of service in the community and towards the environment. When I think about my CAS experience overall it was highly thrilling with more unexpected surprises and challenges but the one experience that has majorly contributed in molding me in the way that I am today is the Diploma Fest. It was the first event in which I myself decided to take up more responsibility and ended up taking becoming the resource incharge for the entire event. Initially it started off with sounding like a pretty easy job (like I just had to arrange resources that were required for the activities and performances in the event) with another person on my side (my partner) however as actually began to do my job as a resource incharge I realised that even though the job description was easy, the hard part was to actually make people do stuff. We faced a really hard time in getting the list of things that was needed to be arranged as people don’t really work as you wish and one has to push them hard enough to get the work done. This journey helped me develop leadership skills, time management as to how to make people according to you and handle last minute crisis and taught the importance of  working collaboratively to make the entire process smoother.  

While doing CAS I discovered that one can never completely achieve its true potential or personality as every new thing that we try or new experiences/challenges we undertake act as a building block, continuously redefining and enhancing our true nature and persona. Furthermore, I would also like to confess that anything but the activity and secondly the service part had been the most difficult components of CAS to fulfil as considering my nature I am not a pro-outdoor person, physical activities have been the toughest part as I like to do stuff that come under my comfort zone which don’t push me to communicate with people that are unfamiliar. That is why I found it very difficult to achieve learning outcomes which needed me to show the importance of working collaboratively and undertaking new challenges. Even when I was selecting and planning my CAS project I tried so hard to make sure that it doesn’t completely go out of my comfort zone to make things smooth as it was the only requirement which required me to give my large proportion of time from my schedule and high commitment and a lots of hard work and I couldn’t have been able to do a thing which I didn’t like.

CAS not just gave me a chance to learn and develop new skills and abilities but more importantly helped in understanding my own strengths and limits. Also it has given me a chance to give back to environment and to the community like by volunteering for organizing an event for underprivileged students in my community or by helping in building an artificial forest in my state. Overall I believe CAS is a growing process that has help me build myself past 2 years and which I believe will also help me grow though the remaining half of my life.

DP Fest… 🙌

DP Fest- It was a Hell of a ride. 😛


Let’s just say it was the first big event for me. I still remember, after I received a form for volunteering for different posts in DP fest, I had already decided I was not ready to handle such important posts. But after teachers actually told us that what DP fest is about, I realized that if I don’t volunteer for any one of the two posts in the organizing committee, I would have to perform on stage on the event in front of a lot (emphasis on “a lot” :P) people. My fear of performing on stage convinced me to fill the form. However, I  volunteered for Resource Head instead of event coordinator (I thought handling this would be easier that other two jobs- handling the full event and performing on the stage).

To make things go as smoothly as possible, I and my partner (another resource in charge) Khushali had already come up with a plan that was required to be followed perfectly. I started feeling that choosing this post had somehow made me better-off everything just went untroubled and according to our plan. However, the happiness was short-lived as we realized that even though we were doing work from our side as we had scheduled but we needed others to complete their tasks on the deadlines set by us (which was really not the case 🙁 ). Khushali and I had to literally run behind people to fill the sheets that we shared with them so that we could order resources because as the days would pass it would become more and more difficult to arrange the preferred resources. But everyone still worked on their own paces, Most of the students really gave a tough time in the initial stage itself but Khushali and I managed to collaboratively distribute work and personally make sure that people filled the sheets as soon as possible.

But once we cleared the initial stage of getting our hand on the resource list, we realized that one of the groups (VA) were the next big challenge. The number of resources and the type of resources that they requested was really difficult to arrange. Khushali and I decided to arrange a meeting with the group member and see if we can come up with some alternatives. Although this would only solve the part of the problem, mainly because there other technical issues that created more problems but in the end we just managed to accomplish our task before the event day (running behind people and collecting resources also made me do a lot of physical exertion, which I didn’t know was also a part of the job :P). It every single passing second I realized that no job is an easy job- everything requires the same amount of commitment and efforts.

Once I was done with my task I also helped with the poster for the DP fest and particularly on the event day, I learned to manage the handle the technical job as well ( the lights; the sound and rest running stage duty). Because I had to do it because everyone else was busy with their own jobs (But it was genuinely a nice experience and I learned a new skill as well 🙂 ).
Overall, I was really proud of me and my grades as we managed to put a Fabulous show, against all  odds. This event as not just taught me some random new skill but helped me grow as a person as during my time as a resource in charge I had to talk with and cooperate with a lot of people ( which is a difficult job for an introvert), manage things regardless how favorable the situation was getting and more over for the fact that I tried coming out of my shell and undertook a challenge.

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First Winter Trip..! ❤️

Genuinely treks, adventurous trips, travelling and RIYAA these four words don’t really go well with each other. For an introvert and unadventurous person like me hiking and trekking trips would be the last options on my list  (probably if I wished they wouldn’t even exist on the list :P). However, as a part of our long-term CAS trip ( and also as our winter trip), we planned to go to Naggar, a settlement in the Kullu district surrounded by magnificent  mountain ranges.


Initially, I wasn’t convinced to go on this trip but after having a time trying to convince me my friends finally did it; I was all set to GO (I still don’t know how they even managed to convince me cuz I can give people a really tough time ;P). It might sound weird but after some time I myself started taking interest in the trip and was also getting excited about it (as it was my first trip with my newly formed Fountainhead family <3). But immediately after the meeting regarding our schedule for the trip with Gaurav Punj (our trip organiser), only with the thought of travelling for 10 hours in the bus and the span of the trip, I started feeling homesick. All of a sudden all the excitement just vanished into thin air and I just become more and more anxious.


But in no time those 10-hour road trip and a long train journey came to end. Somehow I just managed to survive the travelling part of the trip [ 🙁 ]. The major challenge apart from my fear of travelling (mainly because I suffer from motion sickness) was vigorous physical activities and exertion. Here my physical fitness was put to test. Even Though I had a really low stamina I was committed to waking up every day and go for the walks and treks (optional or compulsory). After my very first trek I was completely exhausted and my feet at that time hurt really bad. But after two days I was getting used to it and the after effects were slowly reducing.


That one day that Rujuta Diwekar came to visit us on our trip, she made us do YOGA. After that session (which I really really really wished I hadn’t attended) I realised that I had a really low physical fitness and me badly I needed to incorporate physical activities into my daily routine once I get back to surat.

Apart from all those challenges that I faced and overcome, I also had a really good time on the trip. We one day visited this place in Manali, where we indulged ourselves in various activities like skiing and tubing. Secondly, we also visited this village Rumsu and an Art Gallery, both of which gave me an insight into the people, their way of living and culture of the Rumsu village. The portraits and painting in the art gallery were definitely one of their own kind. Moreover, the art gallery gave us important insight into the life and work of a famous artist, Nicholas Roerich.


As a part of or trip, we also had to maintain environmental ethics. Naggar was a beautiful place and also an Indian heritage we always had to be careful that we don’t throw our plastic bottle, trash and plastic bags here and there and make sure that they are disposed correctly (not just because we were told to do so by our teachers and guide but as a literate and responsible citizen it was our duty).
Lastly, my overall experience was really good. This being my first winter trip I made a lot new memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life I learned a lot about my myself and other things (Like giving a reality check on my physical strength 😛 and enlightening with the culture and the way of living in Naggar and other places in the Himalayan mountain range). 

Bingo (Lit.Hum Fest)


For Literature and Humanities Fest 2015-2016, I had planned two Activities and one of them was “BINGO”. The objective of this event was to promote Literature and Humanities as subjects so through this event we were trying to promote the importance and value of Literature and Humanities in life and education. Unlike the other which was “Scrabble Wall,” I enjoyed organizing this activity. I was supposed to organize this fun activity with one of my juniors.

Bingo was one such game that I have played and enjoyed a lot in my childhood. Organizing this activity wasn’t a big challenge as we didn’t change the authentic bingo game we just replaced the numbers with the words (as through this fun activity we also had to promote both subjects: Literature and Humanities). In the beginning, we were in so much hurry that we planned the activity in a way which was not fair because we made only one list of words for all the students. Later we realized that this fun activity was for different grades and there might be a point where students from different grades might come together to play. The list of words that we had prepared might be easier for senior Grade students and very tough for junior Grade students. So while planning this activity we made sure that it is not unfair to anyone. To to this, we had to deconstruct our ideas and come up with a different strategy. After a lot of thinking and considering different views, we decided to plan the different games for each grade so that everyone should have an equal opportunity to win. The other issue that I came across was that we had to reuse the sheets and other stationery but even after informing students 10 times to carefully place everything back in the stationery basket properly, they misplaced pencils and erasers and threw away papers (so a lot of things were misplaced and a lot of paper was wasted). Our new idea required us to double our efforts in less amount of time which we dedicated for organizing the event and to manage everything nicely. We divided our work; I even gave my free slots to complete the tasks that were assigned to me.

But, as compared to scrabble wall event, we worked more productively for this event. Now that we could understand each other better we were able to work efficiently and, therefore, work as a good team (This reduced a lot of stress as now that I trusted her more I knew the work given to her will done on time and it will be quality work). As she participated in different events of that day so did I so we came up with a way so that the other one did not miss her activity at the same time someone is there at the activity both (This made our work easier). The event was a success as a good number of students participated and enjoyed it. Overall it was a good learning experience.



Ride with Pride

The concept of Ride with Pride is really interesting. It was Cyclothon for spreading awareness about breast cancer. It was organized on 6th  March 2016. Being a girl I believed it was kind of a responsibility to make people aware about breast cancer and so I decided to volunteered in the event and help my peers who were organizing this event so that I can help them (as they were facing a shortage of volunteers) at the same time help them in spreading awareness about breast cancer (engage myself in a issue of global significance).

I volunteered to help them at registration desk and other jobs (small tasks as the major ones were handled by big and experience people that were appointed on that day) on the event day that like spreading leaflets about why this event was organized and what it aimed. But as we were doing this job, I realized that people that are participating in Ride with Pride were more interested in cycling and not only this, we saw few people throwing away those leaflets.

This is one of the ethical concern I came across because the organizers thought that everyone who is participating might be interested in gaining knowledge about breast cancer and so they printed a lot of leaflets but as mentioned above none of the participants were interested (in being aware about the cause) so there was a lot of paper wastage. On the registration desk I was not working alone there were three more people with me so we divided our work so that we can cater to all the participants properly and as fast as we can. One of us was registering participants on the spot and another was making sure whether the participants that have come to participate in the event have already registered or not.

Though the event was a big  success but it might have failed to achieve its aim which was to spread awareness about breast cancer. But the good part was that a lot of people participated in the cyclothon which in turn helped us raising a good amount of money for donating for breast cancer patients (as per my information). Also everyone at the event enjoyed the event thoroughly including me.

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Activity 1: Lit.Hum Fest (CREATIVITY)

The concept of Literature and Humanities Fest was introduced this year in our school. the basic concept was to promote literature and humanities through varied fun activities. I organized two activities one of them was “Scrabble Wall”.

I am not really a fan of scrabble nor am I so interested in literature. This was the first challenge I faced  because I had to devote my free slots and play time to pull off an activity that I was not interested in or passionate about so this thought of me giving up my free time in a thing that did not interest me hold me back from giving my 100% towards organizing this activity. I had to pull this thing of with a partner so it was necessary that we coordinated well. But because she was in 10th she was busy most of the time as she had her boards this year. Initially, we weren’t able to put our best efforts. So there was a lack of coordination among both of us that delayed our work and made me anxious and at times, I messed things up. once I made a mistake while preparing the posters for our activity and once my partner had the duty to prepare charts for scrabble wall which she forgot and hadn’t done it like we planned and so we had to do it again. But then my partner made me realized that it wasn’t too late and we can still put up good activity.

After that I think we were able to coordinate well with each other because now that we understood each other we were able to divide work in such a way that it does not affect our other stuff (like at times when we had to meet our mentor teachers for updating and discussing our progress I volunteered to go alone as she had few tests during that time which were important for her and sometimes she did extra work because i had to complete some urgent submissions)  and tried to give our 100% and  also gave our free time not only at school but we also did few things from home as well and completed our work before our deadline. After going through this I had realized that how important teamwork is and how necessary it is to understand each other in order to ensure that the things go smoothly and as planned.

The second challenge was that students weren’t really interested in the fest like me but were dedicated towards earning points for their respective houses (the only reason so many students showed their interest in Lit.Hum fest) but the activity that we were organizing wouldn’t help them earn those points as it was a fun activity and so it was very difficult to convince students to participate in it. As a result, it was not a big hit initially nor in the later stage but after some time we received better responses from students than earlier as our mentor teacher Smruti ma’am started playing herself with few of her grade 12 students which encouraged others to come and play. earlier when did not receive any response I panicked and was really sad as it was the very first time I volunteered to organize something on my own and it failed. The idea of failure highly demotivated me but then I realized that it was my first try (we all learn from mistakes right!) and now because I have experienced it once I will have a good idea how to go about organizing an event.

The kids from grade 7 and 8 didn’t quite understand it and were playing it their way. I didn’t try to stop them because at the end what would matter is that they had fun (right!). And once in awhile a lot, them cheated as well in order to win those badges that we gave to those who win but again it the aim was that these kids should enjoy so we gave them badges even though we knew that they cheated. So this was like an ethical issue.

Planning this event was a challenge for me because I haven’t done anything like this before but taught me few things: I learned to keep calm in situations that are not wanted and handle them wisely and smartly. Overall, I am satisfied with my performance.


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Creative Mela – Card Making Workshop

Art and Craft in one such thing that I love doing. I and one of my junior were in charge for Organizing Card Making Workshop in Creative Mela. Even though not everyone was excited about the Creative Mela because they had to give up their precious weekend but I was actually very excited as card making is something I love doing and I did not mind giving up my weekend for this.

As soon as I was given my activity that I had to organize (Card Making) I started planning about what was I going to teach those who will opt for my workshop. A lot of ideas started flooding my head at once. In this process, I tried something different that I hadn’t done with quilling before (hence trying to expand my knowledge about quilling and experimenting with it). I had planned a lot of things but then I was informed that we had very limited time so that actually reducing my enthusiasm (But then I convinced myself every little activity is worth your time and deserves the same excitement if you enjoy doing it).

I faced a challenge as well. Like all tasks were equally divided between me and my partner but unfortunately, she failed to teach and every one of them, I tried pushing her to do them but it didn’t quite work so at last out of frustration I informed the event coordinators about the same. They gave her a warning but even then I had to complete my work as well as hers. So I had to put double efforts and give more time ( taking away my studying time sometimes). But on the event day, i think we worked together well as we divided the kids into two groups and managed them pretty well ( Because even she realised it won’t work now if she didn’t work sincerely and helped me considerably well in pulling off this workshop)

There were several activities like card making organised in Creative Mela whose main purpose was to teach these students something new and hence help them develop a new skill but then there was this kid in my workshop and in my group who didn’t actually do anything by himself. Even Though I told everyone they had to do everything on their own but I did all of his work (because even after telling him or forcing him he didn’t do anything so I had to do it for him as he a so stubborn that he wanted to something different from everyone else so I think I was partial as  I did all of his work and at the same time did something different from what other kids were doing). This was an ethical issue that I came across.
But lastly what mattered was that I as well as students in workshop all enjoyed thoroughly and everyone learned something new and I also covered three aspects of my CAS that were Activity, Creativity and Service ( Because we had put our time and efforts for organizing this workshop for these students as well as helping them in developing a new skill without getting anything in return by volunteering for it)



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