While this year was void of many regular activities at Ramaz, the administration and faculty worked hard to create various trips, programs, and activities to supplement those losses. The school year began with hungry students carrying all of their binders and textbooks, without a place to sit and veg. Shortly after, the Parents Council created a lunch service, students were assigned lockers, and bean bags were added to the empty lounges. Students were given the opportunity to eat lunch outdoors on the terrace and on 78th street. Among many differences this year, Ramaz had a five day schedule as opposed to a rotating schedule. In terms of the student government, there was not only one GO election, but two GO elections!
Students went on trips in each season to spend time outdoors with their grades. To kick off the year, students went on trips to Central Park. The freshmen and seniors ventured out of the building to participate in outdoor scavenger hunts. On the other hand, sophomores and juniors went ice skating at Wollman Rink.
When winter came around, each grade went on a snow tubing trip. In the spring, each grade went on trips to a ropes course. On the ropes course trip, students completed ropes courses of varying difficulty while they were attached to harnesses. Students also had the opportunity to participate in axe throwing on the trip.
Although these trips gave students opportunities to socialize with their grades, Rabbi Dov and other teachers felt that Shabbatons and retreats in previous years ensured students the opportunities to have impactful bonding moments. The seniors spent an overnight at Camp Kaylie whereas other grades spent a full day there. Students played sports, went bungee jumping, drove go-carts and had grade-wide bonding activities. Izzie Ottensoser ’22 said that, “going on retreat was such a great way to bond with classmates after missing Shabbaton and other regular activities at school.”
In addition to trips, there were various programs this year that connected people. One program was the Decameron Project, which is a program that gives students and faculty a platform to share their stories. The inspiration for the project was born when Ms. Rabhan spoke to Dr. Jucovy about her anxieties about the pandemic. From that point on, they started recruiting teachers and students to head certain parts of the program. Storytelling allowed students and faculty to connect with each other while being physically isolated. In other years, students have joined sports teams to bond with other students. Although most students did not have sports seasons this year, the baseball team has had a regular season and students have been playing games against other schools.
Other staples at Ramaz are RamJam and Celebration of the Arts. These are celebrations which highlight students’ talent in the arts. RamJam is an event in which the whole school watches musical performances from the chorus, band, guitar ensemble and dance team. RamJam was virtual this year. Jordan Mittler ’22 said, “the best part of RamJam is seeing everyone’s reactions and excitement during the performances. I wasn’t able to experience that while recording in my bedroom with headphones on.”
Celebration of the Arts is an event which displays students’ artwork and performances from students interested in the arts. Celebration is on June 17th; there will be a live Celebration right after finals in the auditorium. Art from all grades will be hung, there will be music and a short introduction to Virtual Celebration, which begins at 5:30. Ms. Abramson says, “hanging art, planning the virtual performances and exhibition takes an enormous amount of planning, rehearsing and technically pulling it all together. It is so moving to see students sharing their expressive, creative & joyous sides.”
This eventful school year ended with a full school assembly. We reminisced about the year, thanked the maintenance and security teams, said farewell to teachers who are leaving, and thanked all of the teachers at Ramaz who continued to prioritize students’ education. At the end of the assembly, we watched a photo montage encapsulating our school year.