Although Ramaz Zoom programming takes up much of Upper School students’ days and weeks, many students are taking advantage of other remote opportunities. Whether it will extend into the summer or only for the time being, students are enrolling in Zoom courses, participating in Zoom internships, and more. Additionally, the college office sent out a helpful list to the sophomore class consisting of virtual opportunities to participate in this summer. These opportunities are open to a wider range of participants so that the summer of 2020 will not be a total wasted opportunity for intellectual growth.
Many colleges that usually offer courses and on-campus experiences when times are normal have decided to offer their courses remotely. The college guidance office sent out a list of college courses being offered from Columbia, NYU, BU, UCLA, Harvard, Stanford, Brandeis, and, YU, as well as courses not at colleges, like BlueStamp Engineering and Tikvah Online Academy. Although it is more exciting to have an on-campus pre-college program, virtual courses can also be intriguing—and sometimes much more cost effective.
In addition to courses being offered, volunteer programs are also taking place virtually. Friendship Circle has a variety of programs in which students can take part. Every Sunday at 2 p.m., Friendship Circle offers a virtual Sunday Circle, where one can participate in activities, circle time, and rewarding discussions with Friendship Circle children and teens. Additionally, Ms. Benel offered an elective to Zoom with Friendship Circle participants. Julia Feit ’22 said, “I have been calling Ian almost two times a week, every week. It has been so amazing to see how Ian is so excited to call me and Rachel. I know how difficult it is to learn and interact over zoom and I can’t even imagine how tough it is for Ian.” Additionally, the Yachad club hosted Ben Mars, a teenager with Tourette’s Syndrome to speak to students, parents, and teachers. Also, the seniors have the opportunity to participate in the chesed elective with Ms. Benel where they learn about different chesed opportunities and participate with their Yachad friends. Aliza Freilich ’20 said, “It was an amazing way to end my high school experience by participating in chesed activities with Ms. Benel. This elective allowed me to use my free time learning in an emotionally rewarding way.”
Along with these volunteering opportunities, many students are participating in virtual research programs or are taking the time to learn something new. Either by learning a new language, how to tie dye, or how to play a new instrument, students have decided to take advantage of this abundance of free time to turn their negative situation into a positive one. Although this pandemic has brought enormous changes and challenges, students have found mechanisms to cope with the situation and have turned something devastating into an opportunity to learn and help others in need.