The Ramaz Open House: What Changed?

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Gabby Ostad ’21

Every Ramaz student remembers the Saturday night they came to the Open House as a prospective student. The energy and excitement that fills the building is a feeling that sticks with students.

For the past three years, Ramaz has held two nights of open houses; a smaller one on a Wednesday night for current 8th grade Ramaz students and a larger one on a Saturday night open to all prospective students.

On Wednesday, October 30th, the Upper School opened their door for current Ramaz 8th graders. In the past, this night used to be solely for parents of current Ramaz students, but a few years ago, the admissions office decided to open it up to current Ramaz eighth graders as well. The families went on tours of the building. Afterward, the parents sat in on classes while the students had a Q&A. Ms. Lieber explained, “the students did not sit in on the classes with their parents because they had already experienced the Ramaz classroom environment on their half day.” The Q&A panel was comprised mainly of former Ramaz Middle School students. However, the panelists who did not attend Ramaz Middle School did not find it more difficult to answer questions. Eric Kalimi ’22, a sophomore who began going to Ramaz for high school stated, “The questions were mostly about the Upper School, so I was able to provide them with my insight. I loved getting to answer all the students’ questions because I really wanted to share my love of the school with them and tell them about all Ramaz has to offer.” A current Ramaz eighth-grader stated, “One of the highlights of the night was that it was only kids in my grade. There was a sense of comfort because we all knew each other, so everyone felt relaxed asking their questions.” This night did not display the co-curriculars Ramaz has to offer.

The following Saturday night, November 9th, was the larger Ramaz Open House, where all prospective students were welcomed into the “Ramaz World.” Instead of having all prospective students arrive at the same time, students who do not currently attend Ramaz Middle School were asked to come first. The reason for this was because “the majority of this night is dedicated to students who are not currently at Ramaz,” said Ms. Lieber. The families learned about Ramaz, the workload, and the commute to school, something many Ramaz Middle School students do not experience. The Ramaz students entered a room filled with unfamiliar faces later in the night to watch a video and see the big program in the gym. Together, all prospective students watched the Ramaz video, which displayed various characteristics Ramaz emphasizes: Jewish identity, commitment to Torah, chesed, academics, and co-curriculars. 

In the gym, Sam Deutsch ’20 hosted the Ramaz Show, styled after Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight show, where he interviewed current high schoolers. This interview provided a relaxed way for prospective students to hear about the various clubs and teams that Ramaz offers. Current Ramaz 8th grader Charlotte Kleeger said, “I found the Ramaz Show to be a fun and informal way to learn about all the school has to offer. I liked how the Saturday night one was more focused on the students.” While the students were in the gym, parents were able to attend a new elective, Ram Talks, where three current Ramaz Upper School students presented on different topics. 

In addition, this year, the admissions office added another video to the email they send out after the Open House, an overview of the Ramaz Show in addition to the regular Open House video.

Overall, the new features added to the Open House helped enhance the experience for the families by making it more engaging and providing more options for both students and parents.