By: Noah Dobin (12th Grade)
As part of the Senior Seminar course led by Assistant Principal Rabbi Assaraf, the eldest grade in the high school travelled to Oleta River State Park for the highly anticipated camping trip. From Wednesday afternoon to Thursday evening, the students participated in various team-building and bonding activities, both impromptu and prepared by the chaperones beforehand. The trip, debuting with last year’s senior grade, acted as a nice conclusion to the high school careers of the soon-to-be-departing seniors.
Preparation for the two-day venture started earlier this week with the students coordinating who would be responsible to bring the different supplies. While the more sophisticated items were brought by Rabbi Assaraf, the students were tasked with bringing the snacks, drinks, and cooking utensils. This quickly turned into an opportunity for the students to spend time together as the simple shopping excursions became group outings for many of the students.
On Wednesday afternoon, the students arrived to the site at Oleta River State Park. Upon arrival, students handed in their phones to Rabbi Assaraf and got to work assembling the tents, building the bonfire, and preparing dinner. As the sun started to set, the smell of fried chicken filled the air and the seniors soon moved to the common area, eagerly anticipating dinner after the tiring work of setting up camp. The students enjoyed a dinner of fried chicken, brisket, and french fries, all prepared at the campsite, telling funny stories about the day’s events. A fun night of hanging out by the fire, making s’mores, and eating a late night poike ensued. With the exception of a raccoon spotting near the campsite, Wednesday night was serene and quiet.
The following morning, Rabbi Assaraf and Activities Director Rav Oded, the two chaperones, woke the students up for shacharit before Judaic teacher Rabbi Koriat drove up and joined the fun just in time for breakfast. Fried eggs, hash browns, and cereal were served until on-and-off rain showers interrupted the meal as students ran to retrieve their belongings from the tents and move them to cover. Shortly after, the tents were taken down and students played a fun game in which they held a out a rope in a circle while one person needed to walk around the tightrope with only the upper bodies of the rope-holders for support. With the frequent rain showers, students all stayed together, relegated to the only covered area of camp, hanging out and having fun despite the poor weather.
After more downpour and more games, the weather finally cleared up allowing the group to go kayaking. Pairs of students made their way through the water, jumping off and tipping over the boats of their friends along the way, to the beach of a nearby island where the students had fun pulling their friends into the water and running around on shore. Upon getting back to camp, the seniors enjoyed an early barbecue dinner before departing back home.
“It was a really great trip, probably one of the best we’ve had in high school,” said Essence Slomianski. “We were able to go off campus into an unknown environment and bond and learn from each other. It was a great way to end the year. It showed us how lucky we were to be able to have this experience and spend time together and have one last hurrah as a grade.”
As the end of the school year approaches, seniors have been getting ready to say goodbye to the school and each other. While everyone is excited to be finished with the work and responsibilities, many students are dreading having to completely move on from high school. This trip allowed the students to experience one more class trip all together before moving beyond into the college world.