The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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JDS students begin school year with service and bonding field trips

Dr. Anna Band
Sophomore students attempt the climbing wall at Terrapin Adventures.

To conclude the first week of school, high school students had a chance to bond with their grade through adventure type field trips, while middle school students served the community through service field trips on Sept. 1.

“School is about learning in the classroom, but school is also about connecting with your community, and we want to make sure that students have time for both of those things at the beginning of the year,” Tori Ball, Dean of Experiential Leadership and Service Learning said. “It’s really important for all of our students, our new students in particular, to have an opportunity to connect with one another socially as they start off the year.”

The middle school trips were centered around serving the community. Sixth and seventh graders picked up trash, and eighth graders worked in a soup kitchen.

Freshman students spent their day at Calleva, where they got the opportunity to push themselves out of their comfort zone with adventure activities, as well as bond with their grade through team building activities. 

Ninth-grade Dean and biology teacher Melissa Andrew thinks that this bonding trip was especially important for the freshman class as approximately a quarter of the class is new to CESJDS. 

“When you’re in a classroom all the time and you have to be quiet, you don’t really get to know people,” Andrew said. “So for ninth grade, a trip like this is really important at the beginning of the year…they get to do something fun, where the environment’s loose enough that they can talk anytime they want.”

Freshman and new student Tara Hains enjoyed the opportunity to connect with her grade in a more relaxed environment.

“I hung out with people that I haven’t talked to before,” Hains said. “It was nice to get to know people better.”

Sophomore students had a similar day at Terrapin Adventures, where they had bonding activities along with adventure activities such as rock climbing and ziplining.

The junior and senior classes spent the day on the water. Juniors went rafting on the Potomac river, while the seniors went tubing at Harpers Ferry down the Shenandoah river in West Virginia.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm at the beginning of the year to connect with friends and meet new people,” Ball said. “It’s a little bit challenging to readjust to the school year from the summer, and it’s nice to have a break and to begin the year with some joy.”

According to Ball, this was the first time that the beginning-of-year field trips focused less on education and more on adventure for the juniors and seniors trips.

“It definitely set a tone of not necessarily playfulness, but relaxation and gave us a very good vibe of ‘this is what you should kind of expect out of the year,’” senior Daniel Simon said. “Spend time with your friends. Don’t take yourself too seriously, but take your work seriously.”

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