Seniors Give YOU Advice For Next Year


Class of 2020 at Senior Shabbaton

Four current seniors: Olivia Sakhai ’20, Avery Sholes ’20, Gail Hafif ’20, and Ethan Rubin ’20 answered five questions about their time at Ramaz and their thoughts looking back on their four years of high school. 


What advice would you give for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors?

Olivia Sakhai: Rising sophomores: You guys should enjoy the process of high school. This is the easiest and most relaxing year of high school. Don’t be afraid to take risks and step out of your comfort zones because the following years are more stressful. High school goes by very quickly. Enjoy your time in this school and use it to explore your character.

Rising juniors: Rising juniors, keep working hard! This year is difficult, and you will feel like it is never going to end, but before you know it, you will be a senior, and you will be graduating. Find comfort in the fact that your entire grade is all going through a difficult time. Academics should be prioritized over the ACT/SAT, and feel comfortable taking a study break if you need one. 

Rising seniors: Rising seniors, cherish every moment of senior year! Before you know it, high school will be over. Go to all grade gatherings and become as close as you can with everyone, because before you know it, you will all be going your own ways. In regards to college, you will ultimately get into a school that is right for you. Know that your friends are there for you and that this college situation will all work out. 


Avery Sholes: Rising sophomores: Guys, I know your freshman year was cut short. Enjoy sophomore year because this is the time when your grade starts to truly bond. At this point, you are accustomed to high school life and should find a balance between your social and academic life. Use this year to strengthen relationships with peers and teachers. You guys are blessed with youth and should have a good time with your friends. 

Rising juniors: Yes, what you hear is correct, you may become pressured by your schoolwork. The standardized test situation is a lot, but you guys should only begin to focus on college in senior year. Trust me, you have plenty of time to do so senior year; you have the whole first semester of senior year to do so. Junior year was my favorite year. By not thinking about college, you will leave time to enjoy other aspects of the school.

Rising seniors: The first semester is engulfed by college admissions. If you apply early decision, you should start brainstorming your regular decision essays because you will want to have your winter break free. I have made so many great memories this past year! Being organized between your college life and social life is very important, though. 


Gail Hafif: Rising sophomores: During 10th grade, you do not have to worry about standardized tests or college, and you are not new to the school. The fact that you have already had one full year in high school will make you more comfortable. Sophomore year is a good time to experiment with things you are interested in. Join clubs. It is a good time socially because there is not much stress. Explore all the school has to offer.

Rising juniors: Juniors, get the ACT and SAT over as soon as possible. The work of junior year does get harder, and not having to worry about the standardized test makes life easier. Even though this year is hard academically, everyone is going through the same things and you will find comfort and support in your grade. Through these common emotions, your grade will become closer.

Rising seniors: There is no doubt that the college process is draining. It is stressful. If you do not get into your top few colleges or early decision choice, don’t worry because you will end up at a school that is right for you. Know that nothing is permanent; you always have the opportunity to transfer. Now, amidst this pandemic, I realize that my grade will never be together again. Senior year is your last year to be with your grade. Strike a balance between academics and your social life. Strengthen your relationships before going your separate ways. 


Ethan Rubin: Rising sophomores: My advice would be to enjoy sophomore year because it’s the last year before you really need to focus on college and standardized tests. 

Rising juniors: My advice for rising juniors would be to learn how to manage your time between the SAT/ACT and schoolwork. You should really take advantage of the fact that you get to go out for lunch with your friends; even if you don’t buy lunch it’s really fun to hang out with your friends outside of school.

Rising seniors: My advice for rising seniors is to not stress too much about work. The first semester you should definitely not slack off, but the second semester you’re basically chilling. Congrats for pretty much finishing all the hard work!


What was your favorite part of your Ramaz high school experience?

OS: My favorite high school experiences are the spirit nights for the basketball teams. This is a time when the students get to show their love for the school. I love that everyone goes all out with the facepaint, wears blue and yellow, and that there is lasting excitement in the building from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.. 

AS: My favorite experiences throughout high school have been the Shabbatons. Every time you go on a Shabbaton, you recall what you did the year before. It brings back great memories with friends. These good times are what you live for. The bonds and memories you make are things you will bring with you everywhere. 

GH: Throughout high school, I have really enjoyed being a member of clubs. I loved taking trips with the teams and competing on a larger scale at competitions like YUNMUN and Penn Model Congress. These trips always end up being so fun! 

ER: It is too hard to choose my favorite memory from Ramaz. Before I was a junior, I was taking my experience here at Ramaz for granted, but when I look back at it now, I only remember the good things. Honestly, my every moment at Ramaz was the best.


If you could do anything differently in high school what would it be? 

OS: Be able to have graduation! But seriously, in freshman year I wish I would have been more open to the new kids. At this point, my grade has become united. You can’t tell the difference between who was a new kid and who came from the Ramaz Middle School. 

AS: I wish I removed all Ramaz social pressures and norms and “threw them out the window.” Don’t get bogged down with the perceived norms. Everyone is great. Make high school what you want, and you will be happier and have a more rewarding and fulfilling high school experience. 

GH: Looking back on my high school experience, I realize that I should have been more open-minded when coming into Ramaz. I should not have come to the school with a preconceived notion of what the school would be like, rather let the school guide me and create an image of the school as I learned from my experiences in school. I wish I enjoyed the experience more and that I was less stressed. I wish there were times when I could have prioritized social life more and not had academics be the number one thing. As I got older, I did develop this mindset, and I am really happy that I did. 

ER: If there was one thing I could do differently, I would stress less about tests. When I did poorly on one test, I would flip out over it. Looking back, I realize that it’s not the end of the world. There will always be room to improve. 


If there is one thing you could change about the high school, what would it be? 

OS: I wish clubs and sports could take place during the school day so that we would not have to be in school till 8 p.m.. I also wish that the full-school minyan was Sephardic style. 

AS: I wish there was a more comprehensive curriculum. I think it would be worthwhile for lessons to be taught through film and television. I think it must be made clear to the students that the curriculum taught is relevant for more than just a test. I feel that many times, students learn the material for a test and then forget the material. The material should be communicated in a way that describes its importance. It is useful not only for tests but also for the outside world. I believe this insight will make students more willing to learn. 

GH: I wish there were more classes where you could learn without worrying that everything you are doing is being factored into the GPA. I also think there should not be rules in the school that are blanket rules that apply to all students like the attendance and makeup policies. With regards to the attendance policy, someone commuting from the Five Towns has the same attendance policy as someone commuting from 80th Street. Both of those students follow the same attendance policy even though one person’s commute is over an hour and the other student’s commute may be seven minutes. These rules seem punitive. 

ER: If I could change one thing in the school, it would be the food in the cafeteria. 


What is your message for your fellow graduating classmates?

OS: Thank you for an amazing four years! Our grade truly makes all other grades want to emulate our closeness. I wish you all nothing but success in the future, and I hope we can all maintain close bonds.

AS: I love you all. We all had a unique impact on the grade. The fact that we have become a fantastic group is so special. We are only as great as the sum of our parts! Everyone has played a role in bringing us to this point, and our closeness would not be the same without each of you.

GH: I am so proud of everyone! Everyone has grown so much since freshman year and it makes me so happy to see that everyone is on their way to achieve great things. I know this year is not ending the way we wanted to, but hopefully after this corona situation is over we can hang out again. There is a reason we are the school’s favorite grade! I cannot wait to see what everyone achieves in the future.

ER: I love you guys, and I’m really going to miss hanging out with all you! It’s been a really fun four years and I’m sad that it all has to end. I can’t wait for our reunion.