[CAS-BHS] All CAS: Perspectives on CAS
CAS at BHS: Current Students & Parents Mailing List
cas-bhs at mail.transpacific.net
Fri Feb 26 09:33:33 PST 2010
Dear CAS Community:
What follows are comments written by current and former CAS students and parents about the ways in which CAS has affected their lives.
I hope you will take the time to read through them as I'm confident you will find the experience a positive one. Taken together, they paint a very flattering portrait of the school we've all created together and the education it provides children.
What CAS Students, Parents and Graduates Are Saying…
Before coming into CAS I didn’t really have social skills. Being in CAS helped me to put myself out there. Sometimes it was scary and hurtful to put myself out there but afterward I felt so much stronger and more confident… The academics are tough and hard to stomach. It’s not hour after hour of homework but day after day of deep revelations.
-Ken Matsueda ’10
The kinds of kids who should join CAS are the students who want to learn beyond the textbook education system and learn about social justice and community Students who want their high school memories to be full of bonding activities and retreats. To be able to graduate from Berkeley high, a school of thousands, and be able to say they know the first and last names and entire life story, hardships and happiness of their 69 CASmates. Knowing they had a family to guide them to success and at least one teacher that can write their personal letter of recommendation from the heart.
-Anna Wagner ’10
I have begun to see myself in a new light. Being in CAS has shown me that there is always room to grow. Being at Orinda Academy for the first two years of high school made me think that everyone had to be a certain way in order to succeed and yet, if chose to be different, nothing you could ever do was "right." That was the idea that I was fed for two year and afterwards I honestly thought that that was the way life was and worked. If I was going to choose to be different that everyone else, then I was going to have to settle for less… Less acceptance, less respect, less success, less support. However, coming to CAS changed all that. For the first time, being in CAS made me feel welcomed, made me feel as though maybe it was alright to be different, think differently, dress differently, be MYSELF.
-Lia Jimenez-Robbins '10
"CAS does not prepare you for the world we live in. I say that, not because i am not getting the education I deserve, or the preparedness training I will need to be successful, but because the world favors rugged individualism and blatant self-interest. CAS prepares us for the world that we will have to create. A world based on taking initiative to make positive change. A world where you work together, not because you want to help or pity, but because every single persons liberty is bound upon the liberty of another."
-Anonymous CAS Graduate
You know, if you were in the big school, they wouldn't even care about you. That's CAS-Cares About Students."
- Terrence Wiley, CAS Class of '10
I am very happy here at Brandeis; despite not being in Berkeley, there is a very deep sense of social justice and social activism on campus that has allowed me to continue living with a CAS spirit even 3000 miles away. Currently I'm involved in a student movement that opposes the school administration's recent decision to arm the campus police force; four years in CAS equipped me well with the tools to be active. Although I haven't decided for sure, I think I'm leaning towards American Studies as a potential major.
-Lev Hirschhorn, '07
I'm here at UC Merced … I can honestly say that not many people here can read an article or listen to a lecture and conceptualize how this fits into their life, how does this connect to the larger world? What is the importance of learning this? I'm not just going through the motions, I'm learning and I know that these skills have to be from CAS.... because that's pretty much what we were all about :).
-Karime Blanco, CAS Class of '07
CAS was and is undoubtedly the most positive educational experience I've ever had. It allowed me to forge deep and lasting relationships with several of my teachers, provided me with a supportive and small community without which I doubt I would've made it through Berkeley High, instilled in me a commitment to social justice and a passion for learning, taught me how to understand and analyze difficult ideas in a deep, analytical and creative way, and facilitated the most eye-opening, powerful and mature class discussions I've ever had. In addition to providing me with a great high school experience, now that I'm in college, I'm realizing that CAS prepared me for life beyond Berkeley High in ways I couldn't even imagine. I can't even count the number of times in my classes now that we'll be discussing a concept or reading an article that I've already seen three years ago in one of my CAS classes. So many of the things that are new to my friends in
college--finding internships, writing long research papers and communicating with people that are different--I have experience with because of CAS. CAS really did teach me how to be an active, informed, passionate world citizen, and I feel so lucky for that.
-Ellen Cushing,'06, New York University, ‘10
Going to college after leaving CAS showed me how lucky I was to be in a diverse environment like CAS where teachers knew who I was and what I was capable of and pushed me every day to be a better student. CAS set the base for the rest of my life. I learned the basics of how to efficiently manage my time and how to balance schoolwork with everything else. What I learned in CAS continues to astonish my college professors and peers...
The friends I made in CAS and the experiences we shared have helped me through all the good and the bad times in the past two years and will continue to help me throughout my life. CAS teachers do not look at students as if they are only students, but rather they look at them like a members of a large and tightly-knit family. The CAS community is a vibrant one, with every kind and type of person under the sun. CAS is a glimpse of the possibility of what a students can accomplish, in high school and beyond.
-Yejide Najee-Ullah, CAS '06, Smith '10
By the end of four years I had created great bonds with both my classmates and my teachers and I had grown so much as an individual. Through class discussions, I formed my own opinions and learned how to convincingly argue them . In CAS classes, I encountered material that I am now seeing again as a college student. For example, it amazes my professors that I learned U.S. History from both the traditional textbook and Zinn's A People's History of the United States! I learned to closely analyze all material I was presented with and to write critically in a way that many of my college classmates are just beginning to. Through my internship as a senior in CAS, I was able to apply the values of CAS while working in the community in a way that helped me to distinguish myself from other college applicants. Being a part of CAS prepared me to be an aware, engaged, and socially responsible member of our diverse global community.
-Olivia Werby, CAS '06, Pitzer '10
I just wanted to send you a short note to let you know how pleased I am with my son's progress in the CAS program. My son attended Berkwood Hedge school in Berkeley and Prospect Sierra Middle School in El Cerrito... When it was time to decide between public and private high school. I thought a small private high school might be better... However, he was adamant about attending Berkeley High. After speaking with the High School Liaison at Prospect and other teachers and parents, we decided on Berkeley High...
I am so happy to say that so far he has done well. He received four A's and two B's on his last grade report, and has gone from feeling like he was one of the "problem" students to being a good student. He has gone from hating school to "kind of liking it". He recently told his Dad that he was feeling like he was "stupid or something at Prospect" but now feels like any other student who has the ability to do well. I'm relieved that we made the right decision in choosing CAS. I know I can't expect the next four years to be easy and stress free; but at least Ade has started Berkeley High feeling like he is capable of doing well just like everyone else.
Thanks so much,
Julia Thomas (parent of a CAS '11 student)
I cannot begin to thank you two for the guidance you have given my man Sam over the last 2 years. I had the great opportunity to teach him his freshman year, and I know that he was a bit behind the curve in terms of where he needed to be.
This morning he told me that he got into the University of Oregon.
From someone who cares a great deal about this young man - what CAS has given Sam is inestimable. Thank you so much for giving him the opportunity to shine and succeed.
Co-Team Leader, Academic Choice
Berkeley High School
[Our son] Casey had his first college essays due, both on the same Friday. (He has followed his older brother to UC Santa Cruz.) In both cases he made appointments with his professors to discuss the assignment. I am not sure I ever made an appointment with one of my college professors. I give credit for Casey's action to the collaborative atmosphere set in CAS between teachers and students. Casey was comfortable and self-assured in his correct assumption that his professors would want to discuss the assignments with him. My work at Cal crosses with the top scholars recruited here and an astonishing number of them do not feel comfortable in approaching their professors in spite of best assurances that professors hope students will come to office hours. Casey and our family will forever be better for our CAS experience.
Financial Aid Office
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