Atlanta adventures

Eighth grade takes annual trip to the South

Eighth grade itinerary for their five day trip to Atlanta.


Eighth grade itinerary for their five day trip to Atlanta.

From May 16 to 21, the eighth grade went on the third annual Bridges Capstone Trip to end their middle school experience. Accompanied by nine of their teachers, the eighth grade visited Atlanta and Montgomery, Alabama before ending with a shabbaton at the YMCA in Nashville.

Rachel Meytin, Middle School Experiential and Service Learning Chair, along with Middle School Assistant Principal Janet Ozur Bass planned the trip for the third time since it began in 2019. They organized the entire logistical aspects of the trip, from flights and ground transportation to rooming assignments for the students.

Meytin hoped that the trip served as a stepping stone for students entering high school, while simultaneously reinforcing student relationships and serving as an educational opportunity about American history.

“We want to bridge their transition to high school, to have this trip that pulls everything together and then launches them into high school, whether here or elsewhere,” Meytin said. “We really want them to explore civil rights and how it changed the country, how it changed that community in particular.”

A large emphasis of the trip was learning about American history in the places where significant events occurred. Eighth grade student Obi Schneider enjoyed learning about the Civil Rights Movement and diversity through museums such as the MLK Center, the Rosa Parks Museum and the Legacy Museum.

“In one museum, there was an experience where you were an African American at a [sit-in], and you experienced what they felt during the peaceful protest,” Schneider said. “It’s a really important aspect of our country and people should know more about it.”

In addition to participating in the teacher-planned itinerary, students were able to sign up to help create and plan activities to do with the rest of their peers on the trip. They had options to lead downtime activities, as well as take prominent roles in Zman Kodesh and other prayer opportunities like reading Torah.

Schneider helped coordinate three grade-wide activities during the trip. The most popular activity took place during the weekend shabbaton: the coveted color war with a “Coke vs. Pepsi” theme. The students were responsible for planning the entire event, from the teams and activities to skits that their teachers would act out.

For Schneider, the trip was especially meaningful because this is his last year at CESJDS.

“I won’t see all of my friends that much [after this year], so having this one big week with everybody in my grade was really, really great,” Schneider said.

Junior Darya Dayanim and three other juniors joined the eighth grade for the shabbaton portion of the trip, helping the teachers manage the students. They assisted with activity planning and also slept in the bunks with the students.

“I really liked the opportunity to foster relationships with the eighth grade before they enter high school so that our relationship will be stronger when we are in high school together,“ Dayanim said.

Meytin believes that the trip is a great way for students to connect with their peers and teachers before the beginning of a new phase in their lives.

“The trip puts a capstone on their experience … and it also gives the kids a chance to bond and learn more about each other through learning about other [topics],” Meytin said.