Spend your summer

Ellie Fischman, Assistant Sports Editor

With the tang of old metal permeating the air, stacks of cardboard boxes stand sentinel against the wall. Sophomore Maddie Polonsky sits in the back of Bonanza Coins and examines ancient foreign coins bearing delicate flowers from Singapore, sharp lettering from China, sprawling landscapes from Japan. 

Many students saw summer vacation as the perfect opportunity to get a job, whether their motives were to pursue a passion, make money, gain workplace experience or simply have fun.

Polonsky worked at coin and metal shop Bonanza Coins over the summer. She unpacked and sorted coins from as long as one thousand years ago. An avid coin collector herself, Polonsky began working at Bonanza Coins in June of last year.

“It’s a little community,” Polonsky said. “Being around people who know and appreciate your talents is nice.”

Polonsky works in the back at Bonanza Coins and sorts both American and foreign coins. She said that studying different currencies has given her a wider perspective on the world.

“It opened my outlook to how big the world is and how different the world is,” Polonsky said. “Each country has its own set of coins and currency. Euros come out in a lot of countries, but each country has a different design based on what they produce and what they’re known for.”

Sophomore Sela Wertlieb worked as a counselor-in-training at Barrie Camp to earn SSL hours. She worked with first graders and sometimes found it difficult to work with children who were so young because they needed help with basic tasks like getting dressed and going to the bathroom.

“It was interesting that these kids actually looked up to me when I’m 14 and they’re six years old, and were like ‘oh, can you help me?’” Wertlieb said. “And I just didn’t expect anybody to need that kind of help when I’m this young.”

Some JDS teachers also used the summer as an opportunity to work. Middle School Jewish Text Chair Rabbi Derek Rosenbaum worked as a yoetz (parent liaison) at Ramah DC Day Camp for second and third graders. He served as a mentor for camp counselors and communicated with campers’ parents about everything from lost water bottles to their children’s behavior.

“It’s just a really nice break to focus more on mentoring, like sharing some wisdom I’ve acquired over the years of having been on various tzevets [staffs], working at camps, working for Israel trips and also being a Jewish education professional,” Rosenbaum said. 

Senior Ellie Hasenberg spent her summer at the Eastern Shore. There, she worked as a camp counselor at the Miles River Yacht Club Junior Sail Program. Hasenberg taught children from ages six to 12 how to sail in an intense program involving five hours on the water each day.

“Sailing can be really scary for little kids because they’re in their own boats on the water,” Hasenberg said. “Being able to develop a trusting relationship with a seven-year-old where they look up to you and they love you is one of the best things ever.”

For Hasenberg, getting a summer job provided an opportunity to pursue her passions. She has been a sailor since she was six years old, so she enjoyed passing that experience onto children.

“I see it more as something that’s super fun that I get to do with all my friends, and then I get to get paid for it…” Hasenberg said. “I feel like generally, summer jobs in high school, you don’t always love what you’re doing, but I cannot picture a more ideal summer.”

Some JDS students worked in environments drastically different from a summer camp. Senior Mira Beinart used the summer as an opportunity to pursue one of her interests. She worked at the cardiology practice Cardiac Associates this summer. 

Beinart’s main responsibility was to work in the back and scan files for the doctors. She said that this offered her an opportunity to meet people with different life experiences and learn about a profession that she wants to pursue.

“I do want to go into the medical profession at some point, so being in a doctor’s office and seeing how everything works on the back end is really interesting,” Beinart said.

Many see getting a job in high school as an important step in growing up. It provides students with an opportunity to gain workplace experience and learn what it is like to gain an income. 

“As of now, I haven’t had any other source of income aside from allowance from my parents,” Beinart said. “Now, I have money and I’m learning how to be financially responsible, which is really important.”