SAISA Badminton Recap and Tournament!

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SAISA OSC A & B Squad 2017!

The first big surprise for me was being chosen for one of OSC’s badminton teams, OSC B, to participate in SAISA which was hosted here as well! I was extremely excited but also anxious because over the winter break, I wasn’t able to practice very much and not at all with the team, since I was abroad in Malaysia. The 2 weeks after the break and before the tournament, however, I made sure to show up to every single practice and really do my best to improve my skills and work with my doubles partners, Shreya and Jamaal. I also worked on my singles more and because the final team players were chosen, I was able to play more often and apply strategy and gameplay tips from other SAISA team players. 

It all began with the team matches, which were the highlights of the whole SAISA, because it really bred camaraderie between us as a team. During my singles matches I tended to get very nervous and make a lot of mistakes, but I think I really did try to play my best and improve my gameplay throughout. It was definitely disheartening whenever I I lost a match, but I knew to learn from those mistakes and felt more confident as I played more matches. Following the advice of Mr. Pradeep, if a strategy is working against them, keep using it; if your strategy isn’t working against them, change it. I was able to catch up in terms of points when I was playing against during the second half of the match most of the time, and I was proud of myself for that, even if ultimately I might’ve not won. I’m also very proud of the teamwork between my doubles partners, although Shreya and I ran into communication problems as we played more matches, we were able to mend that. I made so many mistakes when playing with Jamaal that we did encounter during practice, but I’m glad he was still supportive and we won a lot of games together through teamwork nonetheless! 

In the end, OSC B placed 5th in a total of 11 schools in SAISA, which was definitely impressive! I tried my best in the singles tournament and doubles tournament and the following consolidation matches that followed as well, although I wasn’t able to place very high. Overall, I couldn’t have done it without the help of my coaches, Mr. Pradeep, Andre and Ms. Tharu. This was the most unforgettable experience for me, and taught me how to persevere and enjoy in a competitive sport, both for myself and for a team!

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Girls for Girls – Spreading Our Wings (Completed CAS Project)

 spread your wings (idiom): to use your abilities for the first time in your life to do new and exciting things

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Read this post beforehand for some context. Below, all the research we did to conduct the CAS project has been hyperlinked. 

Our service is a brand new service, so we had a lot of ideas and plans in mind. The one that we decided to tackle first was to make a mural in the garage of the transitional center, to make the place truly ours, but also to welcome the girls. It took around 3 weeks to complete after prior planning  (LO3) and I am so proud of the outcome and the level of commitment that each member of the service displayed in making the mural come to life (LO4), which will be shown in this blog post.

Making a mural was something completely new to us as a group and although we, as leaders, had some experience with making a mural, we had never worked on it together with a larger group of people and on a much larger wall (LO2). For example, we knew using stencils would be more efficient time-wise so while planning, so we brought up this idea during the planning process, and it benefitted us because we both had experience with stencils (LO1).

We found it important that our mural had some meaning and thought. We wanted to express the significance of the global issue (LO6) of how the sexual abuse survivors can move forward in their daily lives and transition back into society as well.

The first step we took was to come up with a design. We found a picture on Pinterest which uses magazine cutouts in the shape of bird silhouettes (below on the right) and used it as inspiration for our own design (below on the left).

We incorporated the same silhouettes but instead, I decided to use pastel colors because they have a calming effect and because they are reminiscent of spring, which is a time of rebirth. I thought the birds were also a great idea because they are often symbolic of discovery and freedom.

Kaavya, from Emerge, also said the mural could be a backdrop for when they take graduation pictures who will stay at the residential transitional center. They only stay at the center for 3 months before they leave and ‘graduate’. In a similar vein, the birds flying upwards is a reflection of how the girls will graduate and leave the ‘nest’ that is the transitional center onto even more ambitious things!

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a fresh start – manually painting the walls white

We painted the wall from yellow to white because when yellow is overused, it can “have a disturbing effect”. 

We also wanted to include a quote, but we had to be mindful that it would be inspirational and not insensitive (LO7). Ariana found a good quote which we decided to use because it was meaningful in the context of what they’ve been through: “No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again”.  

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Hardworking service leaders!

We ran into a problem where we tried to paint the patterns from my initial mock up design, but they didn’t turn out as nicely or as harmonious as we would’ve liked. The patterns clashed with each other too much. In the end, after suggestions from all our different members of the service, we just used solid colors that still stood out against the white wall (LO5).

I’m very proud of the service group as a whole for cooperating and committing themselves to finishing the mural. The process took many visits over many weeks and maintaining our interest was quite difficult but we pulled through in the end (LO4). It taught me how important it is to communicate even when we ran into problems (the patterns) and also allowed us to grow closer as a group. I can’t wait for the girls at the center to see it and hopefully like it as much as we do!

Thank you so much Ms. Johnson for all the supplies, Ms. Dahlan and Ms. Kuruppu for your support.

Badminton – Getting Started

This semester, badminton is offered again as a SAISA after school activity. I have been playing casually all my life (as expected of a Malaysian). However, I think it is time to shift that mindset and also work developing skills for competitive gameplay. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve only been making small steps since I first joined badminton in Grade 10. In Grade 11,  my progress was interrupted by my commitment to scuba diving. This senior year, especially with other academic commitments, it’s important that I maintain some level of fitness. The best way to do so is by playing a sport I enjoy!

I have a lot of determination to become more of a competitive player in general and learn new skills, rather than simply to make it onto the SAISA badminton team – I think that is too ambitious of a goal at the moment. In short, my primary goal is to become a better player strategically and to stay fit.

So far, I have been able to make it to all of the sessions for badminton. Most lessons have a focus on learning a new skill, be it clearing or a high serve. Focusing on learning a new skill each session has been much more useful than simply playing matches against people.

Look forward to future posts detailing my progress in badminton with images!

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My inspiration! World’s #1! (credit)

 

Body Conditioning – A Brief Session

The Body Conditioning after school activity was something new I tried in order to stay fit within the first few months of the school year, before I started Badminton. I definitely ventured outside of my comfort zone by doing Body Conditioning. It was extremely beneficial because it taught me many different ways I could stay in shape. We ran laps around our field; we skipped using jumping ropes; we even used the machines in the weight room; or we just did intense drills of a combination of squats, burpies, jumping jacks, etc.

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example of an EMOM workout, which I was introduced to through Body Conditioning (credit)

Unfortunately, I was unable to document this experience using pictures because I was quite exhausted afterwards! Nevertheless, I hope to incorporate some of the different exercises throughout the year whilst I do other activity/action.

 

Girls for Girls – Emerging as a New Service

We have partnered with Emerge Global (Emerge Lanka) to become the first young group of students to be interested in a long term commitment for the girls who survived sexual abuse in the country! We are also the first group of mentors who are around the same age as them, because most of their mentors are adults. 

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our new logo for the service, created by Khalis

Our logo exhibits the bond between us and the girls at the center in a simplistic way through the linking Gs. We are grateful that Khalis could make such an impactful design!

September 1, 2016
We met with two representatives of Emerge Lanka, Kaavya and Alex. Although we had already done a lot of preliminary planning concerning the different activities to do with the girls, our activities were keeping in mind the environment of the shelter (locked gates, not as well lit and other restrictions). They soon told us about how we could become mentors for the girls in the Emerge Center instead of the shelter. This broadened the types of activities we had in mind, since it is a center directly under Emerge. All of the girls in the service group were excited about this! Different activities could help the girls in their reintegration and growth. I am so excited not only to teach them, but to learn from them as well (maybe I will pick up some useful Sinhala or bead-making skills!)

I also made a flyer/poster to raise awareness of our service and its aims, in case there is an event in the future, we can get OSC families and the community involved and interested in what we are doing. It highlights the key issues linked to the service and about the local community as well, through statistics:

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September 8, 2016
We visited the center today with Ms. Tassy and Ms. Rangika, our teacher supervisors. It was mostly a visit to survey the different rooms where we could conduct activities. We all went over our plans with Alex and Kaavya again. All the effort that went into decoration was amazing – for example, the girls’ rooms were decorated with different self portraits and framed images with motivational quotes. They said they even worked with psychologists in order to determine what colors were suitable for each room – blue walls were calming and appropriate for the counseling room. 

As you can see above on the right, there was a wall with different positive adjectives and nouns to inspire the girls. It brought the biggest smile on my face to see something so simple, yet so encouraging.

On the left, you can see the yellow wall we are going to paint and make into our own personalized Girls for Girls area (and us being a bunch of cuties)! The girls live and learn in the center for only 3 months before they leave, and Alex and Kaavya suggested it could be the backdrop for the photos when the 16 girls graduate from the center. I hope that this wall can become another source of inspiration for the girls – I want them to pass by it and think of us, but also think of the life ahead of them. Ariana and I have been planning properly for a mural that will convey a meaningful message through this mural, not simply something that is aesthetically pleasing.

I will create another post about the mural making, as it is a lengthy process.
To read more about the center, click here.

DP2 IB CAS Goals

Creativity
This year I decided to focus all my attention to Yearbook, especially as I step up to the position of Yearbook editor-in-chief this year! Yearbook has always been a joint effort between a team of students to plan and create one final product that embodies the whole school year. I already familiarized myself with graphic design and I feel confident using the program, Adobe InDesign. The Yearbook team this year is even smaller, which is both a disadvantage and benefit. The communication and discussions will be more organized, but it means everyone must have a good chunk of pages to make by certain deadlines. I am responsible to make sure this happens.

I need to maintain my commitment from last year. On top of that, I would like to develop my leadership skills and ability to teach others the skills I know. Last year’s seniors were great role models for me-they demonstrated the willingness to give feedback and collaborate. I also would like to work on incorporating variety, while still following a unique theme, into the design of the yearbook.

Activity

In the beginning  of this year, I am going to do Body Conditioning because my fitness is definitely a big area for growth… I also enjoyed Yoga last year, so I might continue this within the next block of after school activities. Yoga helped me balance out my priorities mentally and physically, even though honestly it was a challenge for me to be patient. 

This year is my last chance to commit myself to Badminton and truly improve! I’ve been making small steps in improvement since Grade 10. Before I lacked a lot of determination, but now I know I definitely have a lot more determination when I have less on my plate than I did last year. This time, my badminton will not coincide with my other activities such as MUN. This did not allow me to play to my fullest capacity with only half an hour to play instead of a full hour. It also coincided with scuba sessions. My biggest goal for badminton or activity this year is to improve my skills, rather than to attempt to make it into the SAISA team. I have already thought of different ways I could tackle this and plan and initiate my progress into becoming a more competitive badminton player. My dad plays badminton regularly with his colleagues, so I will also dedicate this semester before badminton season, to practice new skills on the court. 

Service
In cooperation with the organization Emerge Global, Ariana and I are now leaders of a brand new service group, Girls for Girls. The service aims to raise awareness but also develop a relationship with young girls who are survivors of sexual abuse. Starting a new service is always a challenging task. Ariana and I are well aware of the obstacles in organization and communication issues because of Prison Outreach last year. However! We hope that this service will engage our community in a dialogue about the rights of sexual abuse survivors and women’s empowerment. We have already been planning many different activities; some are creative, some are activity/action, some have to do with business and IT skills! We will be consistently communicating with representatives of Emerge throughout the year. The organization has also opened up a transition home recently and they were enthusiastic about us helping them prepare the home and volunteer to teach skills to girls who are ready to reintegrate back into society. Ariana and I are working towards creating a strong foundation for the service in order for it to continue for years to come.

I know I might face some challenges emotionally. Honestly, I had doubts about how I, someone who has never experienced such hardships like having the courage to go to court or to cope with trauma, would communicate with them. I realized that should not stop me from engaging myself in this issue of global importance. I have so much to learn from them, and through the activities we have planned they will learn so much from us too. Nevertheless, I have optimism that I can build a strong relationship with the girls at the shelter and make a lasting impact. 

End of DP1 Reflection

This year, there were many activities that I dedicated to myself to in terms of CAS, and I learned so much from my experiences, regardless of how difficult some of them were. CAS successfully allowed me to consider how to become a balanced student, even pushing me to try new activities that I never thought I would enjoy so thoroughly. Below is my reflection in all areas of CAS with reference to specific Learning Outcomes.

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