3 Mar 2022

Year 12 CAS – VOiCE XX

CAS stands for Creativity, Action, and Service, and it is one of three essential elements that every student must complete to receive the IB Diploma. While not formally assessed, CAS provides opportunities for students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development through hands-on learning. 

One of the components of CAS is the ‘CAS Project’, a collaborative series of student-initiated CAS experiences over several months engaging students in one or more CAS strands (creativity, activity, and service). Students explore their passions whilst challenging themselves to initiate purposeful action around defined goals through the five CAS stages; Investigation, Preparation, Demonstration, Action, and Reflection. The following months will bring a series of interviews where the STC Media Team interviews different students around school to highlight their CAS projects and initiatives. 

This week, Hay Wong and Kadence Wong speaks to the STC Media Team about their CAS project, VOiCE XX, of which they are editors-in-chief. They joined VOiCE as they are passionate about literature and hope that STC students will garner a deeper appreciation of various creative works through their publication and service activities.

What is VOiCE?

Hay Wong: VOiCE Magazine is the English Department’s annual publication, supervised by Head of English, Ms Lindsay Tandy. We receive submissions of literature and artwork from the student body towards the end of Term 1 and launch the magazine in early March. This year marks our second online publication and twentieth edition of VOiCE.

Kadence Wong: This year, VOiCE comprises two editors-in-chief and four teams: the literary editorial team, the art editorial team, the ICT editorial team, and the publicity editorial department. Everyone works together to promote VOiCE, select pieces, host service activities (e.g. Book Week), and launch the magazine itself. We want to encourage a wider appreciation of diverse creative work through this CAS project.

Why did you decide to join the VOiCE team?

H: When I was a Year 6 visiting the school, they handed out copies of VOiCE XIV to the parents. That was my first brush with entirely student-led literary publications. Six years later, Kadence and I are leading VOiCE XX as editors-in-chief. 

K: My first memory of VOiCE was in Year 7 when they released VOiCE XV. I remember a stack of copies in the library, and I was flicking through them when I came across a poem about family and the passage of time. I don’t remember the content specifically, but it profoundly impacted me by spurring my interest in creative writing. I am honoured to lead VOiCE XX alongside Hay; our team put a lot of effort into the magazine and hope the STC community will love it as much as we do!

I understand that this year’s theme is ‘pyrrhic’. Why this word?

H: Pyrrhic is an adjective that describes victories won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor. One classic example is the sacking of Troy in the Iliad; the Greeks win, but only after ten long years and uncountable bloodshed. 

Traditionally, VOiCE votes on the theme in the first meeting of the year; each member comes with three words, and one word is selected from the rest by the process of elimination; ‘pyrrhic’ was one of my words. 

What impact/outcome do you hope your project will have on the community? 

K: Everyone in the VOiCE team is passionate about visual and written arts, so we understand how intimidating it is to promote work and share ideas with a receptive audience. We want the VOiCE magazine to be a platform for aspiring artists and writers to showcase their ideas in a low-stakes setting, hopefully encouraging them to develop their passions into a project or a career in the future.

Are there any events/initiatives planned to take place? 

H&K: Thanks for asking! Our first event is Book Week (Feb 28th – March 7th), organised by the VOiCE team, the STC Library and the English Department. We have ten events lined up and hope students will participate in all of them!

First, we have the main event, a Read-a-Thon; from 21st Feb to 7th March, students can sign up and find others to sponsor their reading. All proceeds will go to the charity ‘Room to Read’, a leading non-profit organisation for children’s literacy and girls’ education across Asia and Africa. We are looking to raise 5000 HKD or more, which will help Room To Read to fund:

  • 625 language books or,
  • One year of reading instruction for 12 children or,
  • Five groups of teachers with professional development and mentoring for one month to further support students in the community.

We also have a ‘take a picture with your favourite book’ activity, where students and teachers can take a picture with their favourite book from which we create a giant collage; ‘STC’s Favourite Book of 2021’ where students nominate their favourite books in several different categories, and an online book recommendations board with a diverse variety of authors and books.

On March 3rd, a.k.a World Book Day, we also have two events planned! There will be a dress-up day where you can dress up as your favourite literary character as well as a D.E.A.R (Drop Everything and Read) session, 15 minutes where the whole school stops their class and reads. 

Other activities include a Year 7-9 Slam Poetry Contest, author visits for Year 7s, a Battle of the Books Interhouse Competition, and a bookmark competition where the best student-designed bookmarks are printed and made available in the school library.

Lastly, we will officially launch VOiCE XX on March 16th! We will send the webinar link to the whole school, and we strongly encourage people to join and hear from their fellow students about their creative work.

How has the pandemic affected your CAS project?

K: I worked with VOiCE XIX last year, where we had to move the VOiCE launch online to adhere to social-distancing rules. Since the pandemic is still ongoing, the VOiCE XX launch will be held online again, with a digital copy of the magazine published on the school website. While it isn’t the same as having a physical copy, there are perks to an online magazine in many ways, like the integration of audio links.

For Book Week, we expected it to be online as there was already news about a suspected fifth wave when we started planning. We made plans for an in-person Book Week and some contingency plans for an online version. From there, it was just a quick switch from doing everything face-to-face to doing everything on online platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom.

What is one thing you’re looking forward to in terms of VOiCE? 

H: I’m looking forward to the launch; I can’t wait for the pieces we’ve chosen to be published; they’ve all been of such high quality!

K: Like Hay, I’m super excited for the launch, and I hope everyone will tune in to our webinar launch on March 16th! Be sure to check out our Book Week activities as well; we promise they’ll be fun and exciting even though they’re online.

Written and edited by: Georgiana Watt