This is the second year the Open House was virtual, and since we have all become more comfortable with the online aspect of life, the transition to Zoom was even smoother than last year’s.
Last year, the Open House included a collection of pre-recorded interviews and speakers, and an in-person Q&A. This year had the same format, except the in-person Q&A will be broadcasted in one room instead of each student standing in a separate room.
The most exciting part of the admissions process this year is that half-days are happening again! The Open House was a great way for the school to meet applicants and get a feel for next year’s freshmen, which we did not have last year. Half-days will be a helpful addition to the open house because it will allow for current students to speak to applicants about their concerns and address their questions.
Although half-day visits are an exciting step towards normalcy, the school will take some health precautions. For instance, every student coming in for a half-day will have to be an applicant to Ramaz. This has never been a requirement before, but this rule will narrow down the number of students entering the building. Additionally, all half-day students will need to be vaccinated. Ramaz wanted to institute this regulation to protect their students and faculty.
Aviva Leiber, the Assistant Director of Admissions at Ramaz, commented on both mediums of the Open House: in-person and virtual. She concedes that a virtual open house is much easier to coordinate. By the night of the open house, her work is done and she can merely watch the show unfold. During in-person Open Houses in the past, she would run around the school to ensure that the night runs smoothly. She admits that the energy in the school at the in-person Open House in-person is unmatched and is eager for another in-person Open House. The admissions committee is planning on keeping virtual interviews in the Open House. Ms. Lieber revealed that these interviews were successful because they were during the program at night and could be administered at home, which fits better with students’ and teachers’ schedules.
Another aspect of the online Open House that is sticking around is PanoRAMa week. This program was developed last year in place of half-day classes that students would normally attend in person. PanoRAMa classes are in place of the mock classes that prospective students would attend at the Open House to give students a feel of what real Ramaz classes are like.
Aside from the technicalities of the program, Rabbi Dov Pianko is in charge of the “afterparty” of the Open House. This year’s “host” of The Ramaz Show was EJ Singer ‘22. Rabbi Dov picked him after reviewing the programs, clubs, and activities he has been involved in throughout high school. Rabbi Dov believes that EJ’s involvement in those activities gives him unique stories and experiences that might be important for prospective students to hear. Overall, the Open House this year was very similar to that of last year, with minor changes to display the friendly atmosphere of the school, along with other changes to ensure there is enough interaction between current and prospective students.
“The Open House was a great success,” said Rabbi Dov. “It was amazing. I led the Q&A and it was great to interact with students and hear their thoughts about Ramaz.”
EJ Singer ‘22 agreed with Dov. “I had a great time, and overall it was just really fun.”