CAS Profile



My name is Riya Shah. I study in Fountainhead school and am in year 2 of IB. I have taken English language literature, Business management, and Psychology as my HL and Hindi B, Mathematics and Environmental systems and societies as my SL. As it is evident from my subject choices, I am more inclined towards humanities and subjects that inculcate human interaction and deal with human experiences.

Apart from school, I am found either debating, dancing or singing.

I have always been a talker, and over the years with increasing knowledge, I seem to have an opinion about almost everything. Being dominant and persuasive, I am more inclined towards activities like Model United Nations, and parliaments.

I don’t quite remember what got me dancing, I remember moving my legs and shaking my hips since I was about 5. Dancing is legitimately the only thing that I would energetically do even at 3 in the morning. Though I have barely had formal training in dance, I am not that bad altogether.

Singing is something that I began when I entered elementary school, primarily because a teacher came over to teach my elder brother. Over the years, I seemed to love the sense of belonging I felt with music and that’s how it became and still is one of my favorite hobbies.

I would want to keep doing and improving in the three things listed above!



I have a very philosophical perspective towards life, I believe in thinking and questioning all the possibilities and repercussions our actions can have. In addition to that, one of the strongest belief I hold is that each and every person on this planet has a purpose, and the potential to accomplish that purpose if given the right growing and learning conditions. Having said that, I strongly believe that amongst many other social groups, women are a group that is one of the least fortunate as far as freedom for exercising one’s own potential is concerned. I, as a person can no more see women being objectified, demeaned or silenced in the society. Thus, I would always want to be a feminist in order to first raise the level of women to that of men and then pull both the genders to a greater equal freedom.

In order to accomplish my purpose sometime in my life, I staunchly think I need to improve my listening skills, my commitment and my tolerance and acceptance of people and the society at face value. Therefore, I would really want to get involved in activities that fall under either education and/or gender equality.



I am a fan of adventures that thrill me, with a great certainty that I will not die. I don’t fear ANY roller coasters, and it’s my dream to ride some of the most dangerous and thrilling roller coasters of the world. With that, my top 3 dreams would hands down be Sky Diving, Deep Sea Diving, and Bungee Jumping! I would also want to travel places that have different cultures and societal norms than my existing society. I want to meet, interact and understand various people around the world and establish a connection irrespective of the endless barriers.

CAS Essay

The activity that first comes to my mind when I think of my two-year journey in CAS is Learning camps. This activity really stood out for me because of my personal engagement and attachment with the issue of education and equality that was practiced in that activity. I feel proud that I initiated that with a few of my other friends and remained committed to it for a very long time despite the fact that my CAS ‘project’ was already over. This activity reflected my learnings of all other activities. It showcased the patience I built, the hard work I put in, the compassion with which I looked at the world and the very concept that if you just start somewhere, your destination will come walking your way.

In the heart of the PYP comes the learner profile, and in the heart of the IB comes CAS. No wonder that CAS enabled me to be open-minded, to be a better communicator, to be a thoughtful thinker and of course, how could anyone pass CAS without being a little reflective? CAS is an experience that brings out all the learner profile attributes in you and forces you to practice them, in order to attain a certain level of success. Over the two years, the growth in me which could be measured and tested with the learner profiles has tremendously helped me to not only be a better learner, student, daughter or sister; but an actually better human and a better global citizen. CAS teaches you the art to interact, understand and respond to the world outside in a balanced and thoughtful way.

A way in which CAS actually does that is through the difficulties it throws you way in forms of ‘Learning outcomes’. One such difficult learning outcome for me was LO4 which reads : “how perseverance and commitment in CAS experience”. Ironically, this is my LO with one of the highest points. However, commitment to one particular thing for a decent amount of time was a great challenge to me in the start of 11th grade. I am someone who likes trying and doing new things now and then. Taking up projects has always been the easy part, but sticking to it has been a challenge. One of the reasons of why I absolutely love CAS, which I would like to mention here is that you actually get points to do this kind of crazy stuff and all these fascinating activities. Usually, students of different schools struggle to take out time for their physical emotional and spiritual well-being whereas CAS here makes it mandatory to actually take a productive break from IBDP and renew ourselves and maintain our flavors! Having said that, I don’t know if I need to specifically mention that I would love to take this forward and help others and make this world a better place because let’s be honest here. CAS isn’t just an IB requirement, it’s an escape to reality. A reality that teaches you and guides you and lets you be your human self. So I might not call it CAS when I go to uni or sometime later in my life, but these learnings and these experiences have surely just begun!

CAS Plan

CAS Plan:

Activity CAS Components Duration and start/ end dates Learning outcomes
Intraschool Basketball Competition Activity 7/30/2015 7/30/2015 L1,L2, L5
HMUN Creativity, Service 8/12/2015 8/16/2015 L1, L2, L4, L6, L7
Arts Fest (Singing Competition) Creativity 8/22/2015 8/22/2015 L1, L2, L5
Literature and Humanities Fest (Project) Creativity, Activity 7/19/2015 8/23/2015 L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, L7
Bal Mela Activity 1/18/2016 1/18/2016 L7
Learning camps (project) Creativity, Activity, Service 7/26/2016 10/15/2016 L3, L4, L6
FSMUN EB Service 11/1/2016 11/2/2016 L6
Organ Donation Activity, Service 7/15/2016 7/30/2016 L3, L4, L6

Bal Mela

Dancing is one of my most favorite activities, and also something I’m not too bad at. So when the forms for Bal Mela were released, I instantly ticked to be a part of the running stage, unaware of what was ahead of me.

3 days before the event, I was informed that my job involved 4 hours of continuous dancing, as the number of schools and children had increased. Instantly I felt, I didn’t want to participate anymore. Despite of my love for dance, due to my extremely poor stamina and dislike for physical exertion I wasn’t willing to go ahead with my participation. To my relief, there was an escape. My family was traveling to Mumbai that weekend for a family function that I reallyyy wanted to attend. I figured I had the chance to back out from the event with the excuse of going to Mumbai.
I instantly picked up the phone to call up my dad regarding it, but in that moment, I just realized a few things. I put the phone down, and went into thinking about the ethical aspect of the decision I was about to make. I realized that I had given my word to somebody. And that someone depended on me for their event. Additionally, the underprivileged kids that I was doing this for, don’t get chances like these to enjoy all the time. I was responsible in that moment for the happiness of those littles kids and for the organizers. I figured that I couldn’t let someone else down because of my own enjoyment and biases.
And so I didn’t. I stayed back at home, woke up in the morning and danced for 4 hours for those kids and for myself.

The sweat and the body ache had become all worth it, as I was proud to take a decision like this by myself. I felt inner peace and happiness as I knew that I had done the more difficult, but the right thing.

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Learning Camps

Lack of education has always been one of my deepest concerns. I can’t help but wonder about the number of children whose lives and dreams are sacrificed because of lack of education.
This issue really bothered me and I just wanted to do something about it. Rather than waiting to grow older to take some action, I decided to initiate something. Learning camps.

The idea was to teach underprivileged children English, ICT and Character Building through student volunteers from our school. This meant, I had to gather Underprivileged children, devise a plan, a syllabus and take approval from school authorities, and gather student volunteers. I knew from start, that this would take up a lot of time and effort, and so a few of my friends suggested me to not continue with it as my “CAS Project” was already over. But the fire in kept me going.
I was confused of where to start. After a lot of thinking, I came up with the idea of orienting the didi’s and Bhaiya’s in my school about the learning camps and gather their kids and teach them. In order to communicate with them effectively, I had to use their native language, Gujarati, for all communications. Though I know Gujarati very well, it was a challenge for me to type and create presentations and forms online in Gujarati. It took me about 3 hours and lots of google translates to finally come up with a presentation and a participation form. Slowly and steadily everything fell into place. Volunteers and kids were all ready. After about a month of planning, the day had finally arrived when we began the learning camps.

The learning camps were after school. Which meant, that after 9 hours of school, we had to stay back in school till 7:30in the evening and teach these children. The challenge in the start was that there weren’t enough student volunteers for 5 days. So in the first two weeks, I stayed back thrice a week, went to school and studied for my 12th. Despite the extremely busy schedule, I kept going on and stayed committed to this project.

Through this project, I learned about the difference children can make. I learnt about my level of commitment to something I so dearly loved doing. And I learnt about the extent to which I could work hard, and keep going.



The purpose for my participation as the Executive Board in the FSMUN was to encourage young people to understand global issues and discuss them with and international mindedness.
I was the Vice chair of the most important committee in the MUN- the security council.
During the conference, I really felt that rather than genuinely discussing and understanding the issue, the delegates were more keen on just winning the prizes. This really disturbed me and so I did something that I didn’t HAVE to do.
I paused the formal procedures for an hour and informally just took a session with the delegates to explain our agenda in depth and discuss why it really matters. To my surprise, the delegates responded very well and kept their foreign policies aside to express what they personally felt about the issues. It was one of the best 1 hour of my munning experience as a chair or delegate. The next two days didn’t matter, who won didn’t matter, who lost didn’t matter either. Because all of us knew, that we were going away from this conference as not only better diplomats, but as better global citizens who had just understood their home, their world better. We knew that day, that this MUN had been a rewarding experience because it gave some of us our purpose and defined our responsibility as citizens better.

Organ Donation

When one of my friend’s mom suggested us to do something regarding Organ Donation and its stigma in India, I instantly knew I wanted to do it.

Since then began brainstorming of ideas and research on what Organ Donation exactly meant, and what was the best possible way to execute it. My friend Vinit and I were both involved in initiating this experience for ourselves and few of our other classmates. After intense research, we realized that stigma against donation of one’s organs was more in India, but was still present around the world.

Hence, we decided to script a short play on Organ donation, act it out and upload it on social medias so that it could reach maximum number of people.
However, due to lack of knowledge about direction and acting, it didn’t go well, despite weeks of hard work. It really brought our moral down, and we wanted to quit. But we knew, how important this was. Through our efforts, even if one person’s life could be saved or enhanced, it would all be worth it. We motivated each other and came up with the idea of drafting a script for a street play and act it out on one of our city events called “U-Turn”.
We had only about 2 days to execute all of this. Urgently, we encouraged a few of our friends and made a team of 5 people. We drafted the script and practiced continuously and we very excited to perform.
The biggest challenge I faced was when we had to wake up at 5:00 in the morning and reach the venue. My parents were not in town, so I had to rely only on myself to wake up in the morning on time. Once I did, I felt the hardest part was over, but it had just begun. It was raining cats and dogs, and our play was to be held in open. We called each other with great apprehension. All of us supported each other and decided reach there on time, and see what happens next.

Luckily, the rain eventually stopped, and we started enacting our streetplay. People stopped to watch, and many even walked away in between. We felt really bad, but we kept on going and performed it atleast 15 times that morning. We got 30 people to pledge their organs, and that made it worth it.

It was wonderful and challenging experience that taught me that if you stay committed to something, you will always succeed, sooner or later.


Literature and Humanities Fest- CAS PROJECT


It all began is 2015 year start, when I had a talk with our Language Team leader, Miss Subhlaxmi Iyer, about introducing a Literature and Humanities Fest in our school for the middle and senior years. To my delight, the proposal was accepted, and I knew from that moment on that this would be one historic and most remembered events of my life, because I was planning to be involved in it right from the proposal stage to the final execution.

Very soon, I got news that I was selected as the Event coordinator for this event… well, I was really excited about it, but I felt I just had a very huge responsibility on my shoulders beginning now. I had organised events in my school first, so I knew neither me nor my teachers doubted my experience in management, but what was worrying me was, that amidst the challenges of the IB diploma programme, would I be able to be consistent in my actions and give my best to the event?

To my relief, I wasn’t alone. My senior, Diya and I were together held responsible for this event. I am always someone who likes doing everything by myself, but I soon realised that in order to be effective and consistent, we required immense understanding within us, and needed to divide our work wherever necessary.



In order to organise this big of an event, it was necessary for us to be very organised and hardworking, both that don’t come naturally to me. However, before planning for the event started, I penned down my priorities and assigned myself a checklist which consisted of my expectations from myself through this event.

The most important thing for me at first was to befriend and understand Diya. It was imperative for us to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses in order to work synergically. Turned out, over the course of the event, we became really great friends and it was honestly so much simpler to deal with all the crisis and work that came our way, together.

After thorough planning, we decided on the activities that will be held throughout the two days, held interviews, and assigned segment coordinators to these activities, but well, easier said than done. I had a lot of pressure on me to choose the segment coordinators. My position demanded objectivity out of me, there was very little room for me to choose people who I liked and not someone who was worthy of the position being offered. One such prominent incident was when I had to choose between my friend and someone I didn’t really like as an activity incharge. Deep down inside, I knew that the one I didn’t like was more capable, but I constantly made excuses like “It’s better if I choose someone I like so that you know, I can work better with them.” It was true to a certain extent, and I knew I had my friendship at stake but when I choose the better person for the work, maybe I think I lost my friendship to a certain extent, but it really did make me feel proud of the decision I had just made. It was a light of maturity that I had achieved already through this event. However, In order to be on top of all things, we came early to school for about 2 weeks everyday and held one to one meetings with all segment coordinators. Doing this was really challenging because this meant about 10 hrs in school. I had to sacrifice my sleep for a lot of days in order to manage both my academics and the event.

The most difficult thing was consistency, this wasn’t an event wherein you take out a day and complete everything. It required time and efforts over a long period of time. For example, simultaneous to our Lit fest, there was going to be an Arts Fest. This demanded that our timetables were set harmoniously so that students could take the most off both events. The trouble began when the event coordinators of Arts Fest did not make their time table for a very long time, we had to follow back with them everyday for about 3 weeks! I lost my temper multiple times but I still never stopped asking them each and every day if the timetable was made. Eventually they gave in and our timetable was made in about a day.

The biggest crisis was faced just 3 days before the event. After posting students selections on the blog, we started getting SO many grade 7 and 8 emails saying their name wasn’t there anywhere. We realized that there was a technological flaw and none of their responses were recorded. It was devastating and panicky, we didn’t know what to do now! Just then Diya and I sat down together and started brainstorming. Her support really made me calm and helped me think out of the box for solutions. Together we decided to keep a session with Grade 7 and 8, and sorted things out with grace. With that, our 1 month’s hard work and perseverance was almost coming to end, soon it was THE day!


I couldn’t have any complaints with the two days! They were flawless! Our determination grit and hard work was clearly reflected! I began with giving a speech and guiding the students through the two days, while Diya checked all the venues and made sure individual events ran smoothly. It was a fabulous team effort and the greatest thing wasn’t it’s success but Diya and my friendship.

This event was crucial in my learnings about time management and crisis handling. I had also realized an area that I can work upon, it was that being in leadership positions did NOT essentially mean being loud and bossy, in fact it meant being strategic and calm.

Given a chance, I would take up this activity next year as well, and this time I would keep in mind 3 very important things:

1. Portray true leadership skills

2. Market this fest so well that people can do nothing but just wait for an event like this

3. Change perceptions about language, literature and humanities in not only minds of the students but also parents.

With that, I believe this was in fact a wonderful and enriching experience for me in organizing and for students in participating. Looking forward to more such challenges that force me to grow as a person everyday 🙂




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HMUN India – “It’s not a resolution, it’s a revolution.”

Suits, ties, skirts, shirts, that’s exactly how an MUN looks like. Only, HMUN wasn’t a group of 200-300 people, it was a whole lot 2000 people! HMUN or the Harvard Model United Nations was held in the city of Hyderabad from the 12th of August up till the 16th of August, 2015. I was participating as a delegate of South Sudan in SOCHUM for the agenda “Rights for the protection of journalists globally.” The difficulties began all the way from the month of April. After receiving our agendas, we had to thoroughly work and do in depth research for the topic for about four long months. There were times when it got really frustrating because there was so much to do and so much to understand, however I knew I could not give up because presenting conceptually correct ideas in the committee was imperative. Then eventually came the day of the mega conference. Stepping out of the comfort zones of our city and being exposed to a completely new environment filled with strangers made me apprehensive in the start, but that was not all. The discomforts and challenges only grew with passing time. I was frustrated when I was hardly allowed to speak for about five minutes over the course of four days. Our committee consisted of 250 people, each very talented and here to win. There were 5 established groups working on different resolutions, 3 major and 2 small ones. I was the leader of one of the small groups which consisted of me and 11 more people. At one point, I had understood that if I wanted to win, I had to abandon my group and merge with a bigger group that was ready to give me a higher position, but I decided to do it differently, and I took it up as a challenge to not strive to win but unite ideas and people, and make a whole lot of friends. This was not me because I always believed in winning, little did I know that winning was not only about the prize or the position but about winning people’s hearts and friends. The HMUN gave me an invaluable experience in dealing with global issues, made me realize my responsibility as a global citizen and made me understand the true value and meaning of a win.  


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“The only thing better than singing is more singing.” – Arts Fest (Duet Performance)

My excitement reached the 7th sky when I got to know I was selected to represent my house in the upcoming Duet Singing competition in school. I however knew I would be selected because of my consistency in passion towards singing and my growth in areas such as scale and tone. My AS Music classes helped me gain this type of expertise and confidence in singing. I was performing with one of my seniors who is a really great singer. However, due to unmatched timings and well, procrastination, we did not finalize on our song until the day before the competition! The nervousness only grew with passing time, confidence was never an issue for me, but working synergic-ally was. Had I been the only one, I would have figured something out, but working in a pair meant finding a song that both of us were very comfortable with and could perform with little practice. Being impatient, I quickly lost temper as I couldn’t narrow down even after about brainstorming for an hour. However, I soon realized that losing my temperament wasn’t going to do any better. Later in the evening, my partner and I sat down together with a fresher perspective, and did things in a more calm and organized manner. Within a short period of time, we were able to narrow down on the song! That was the moment I decided, that it was much more beneficial working together and helping each other, rather than minding one’s own business. Continuous practice throughout the night included pointing each others flaws in singing, helping one another and looking at the situation with utmost optimism. Our hard work and synergy gifted us with second position the competition! Though, that wasn’t all, the competition gave me more than a certificate, it opened my eyes to two very important lessons of life, believe in the strength of composedness and, don’t procrastinate! 


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