The International School of Florence recognises that learning that happens outside a classroom, whether acting in a musical (Creativity), playing sport (Activity) or working with refugee communities (Service) is just as important as what happens inside. The CAS programme offers a broad range of school- and student-initiated experiences, which are both internationally minded and uniquely Florentine, reflecting ISF’s mission and vision.
Teachers, coaches and members of the school community who offer CAS Experiences as part of extra-curricular activities are qualified, passionate professionals, dedicated to nurturing an understanding of collective responsibility and a culture of solidarity. Students carry out a minimum of three Experiences per trimester, in addition to which each student must complete an Extended Project, which must last for at least one month, and should show initiative and perseverance, developing skills such as collaboration, problem solving and decision making.
“This summer I participated in an excitingly unique conservation project. I joined the non-profit Waldrappteam for Conservation and Research as they helped teach a critically endangered bird, the Northern Bald Ibis, how to migrate to its wintering site. The Ibis has been extinct in Europe for nearly 400 years, and a crucial part of its reintroduction into nature has been teaching them how to migrate. We taught 29 zoo-bred birds how to migrate from the Austrian Alps down to Laguna di Orbetello, in Tuscany. It was a three-week intensive internship, throughout which we slept in tents on the side of airstrips. We would travel in short trips, roughly 200 km at a time, as the birds followed two ultra-light aircraft, listening to the calls of their human adoptive mothers. The job of the interns included social media management, cooking, assembling and disassembling the aviary, and speaking with visitors. The journey was completed as planned and is considered a great success story for the European community as a long-term biodiversity conservation and reintroduction initiative.” Selina Marton, Grade 12
On Tuesday, October 4, ISF students took part in a very special project called Labyrinth of Love in Laurel Plants. By Villa Favard in Rovezzano, they helped the gardeners plant 250 laurel plants to form a heart-shaped maze. The project was organized to spread awareness of the importance of environmental sustainability and recycling in order to contrast climate change and global warming.
“I found it a fantastic experience. This activity gave me the opportunity to do manual work outdoors with my friends. It is important that everyone learns to respect the planet and to take care of it. The actions we do today will have a huge impact on our future and in particular on future generations. This gardening activity also allowed me to understand that teamwork is essential. In less than an hour we were able to plant about 150-200 plants. We struggled, but it was worth it. The hard work paid off!” Teresa Meoni, Grade 11
Human Rights Club
ISF’s Human Rights Club was founded in the summer of 2020, with the goal of creating an environment for students to become engaged with human rights issues on both a global and local scale. Since its founding, with the support of the generous ISF community and the work of club members, a series of drives have been held to provide aid to the Florentine community.
Last year, the club hosted two main campaigns. The first was a Holiday Toy Drive to support three local non-profit organizations: the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation (RFK), Fondazione Martacappelli and Sant’Egidio Scuola della Pace. The drive was a tremendous success, having collected over 250 toys, diapers, school supplies and baby clothes to be donated to children in need in the Florentine community. The second was a campaign to support Ukraine, which took place in March 2022. In partnership with RFK and Colors for Peace, first aid kids, energy snacks, dehydrated food, baby food, yoga mats, clothes and diapers were donated by the ISF community. After members of the club helped sort and pack the donations, they were driven by truck to the Romania-Ukraine border to be distributed to Ukrainians in need.
Over the summer, grade 12 student Carolina Hohagen, one of the club’s founders and leader, had the privilege of taking part in an internship at the Robert F. Kennedy Headquarters in Florence. There, she learned about the different roles of the organization and shadowed senior advisor Fiammetta Chiarini to learn about RFK’s day-to-day operations logistics. She also helped produce a start-up and best practices manual on the ISF Human Rights Club to serve as a base for other projects.
Corri la Vita
We have been delighted to support this event since its inception 20 years ago. Oliver Ferragamo organized the sale of Corri la Vita t-shirts on the Upper School campus. Many of our students, teachers and parents took part in the walk/run, which was summed up in the reflection of one of our students: “…the feeling of unity when I was with the hundreds of others, as it felt like we were all fighting for the same cause”.
“Volunteering alongside my peers with other volunteers from the Angeli del Bello organization to clear the rubbish from Parco dell’Anconella was overall a great experience. We also worked on the bank of the river Arno and met with other groups, some who were focused on cleaning the river itself. It did not take long before it seemed our mission was complete. However, many volunteers stayed on to continue painting both the benches and the walls, succeeding in removing the graffiti from these public areas. Personally, I found the afternoon very pleasurable. Being given the chance to better the community around me while being part of such a large group was a very eye-opening and enjoyable experience.” Laurence Poles
“For me this was the most beautiful experience. I felt really good about doing something meaningful and having a positive impact where I live. This experience has certainly enriched me and I will definitely continue to participate in such events because I realize that, to live well in a place, we must be the first to treat it with respect.” Ginevra Pesci