May 1, 2015

12th of Iyar 5775


 Parshat Acharei-Kedoshim
Candle Lighting at 7:35 PM
A Promising Future Awaits


Every spring like clockwork, after the Passover dishes are put away and the mango trees begin to bloom, as high school students across the country prepare for final exams and clean out lockers, another rite of passage takes place.  It is something I still can't get used to, even after so many years in education.  Kids you have come to know and really like, who have wiggled their way into your heart, prepare to don a gown, cross a stage, receive a diploma, move a tassel upon an awkwardly-perched mortarboard, and proceed onward into their adult life along a path that you have, just a little, helped to carefully and lovingly pave.

What seems like just a minute ago, they were naive freshmen learning to maneuver the hallways of high school.  Now they are confident young adults, accomplished, even invincible seniors and soon­-to­-be­alumni -- and then freshmen all over again.  About this time, many begin to feel vulnerable with the realization that the comforts, camaraderie, and community of their little school house on Montoya Circle will soon give way to far­off yeshivot and seminaries, sprawling metropolitan areas, and college campuses near and far.  The unknown awaits, but so does the future with all of its promise. Those of us who have taught, counseled, or coached these bright young people begin to feel a bit nostalgic, too. Years pass.  Some will visit often, extolling the virtues of their program in Israel, sharing plans to join the IDF or make aliyah, proudly telling us about the "A" they got on their first college paper.  We are happiest when they tell us how happy they are...or nonchalantly remind us of something we once said or did.  Others wait years to return.  We don't always recognize them at first; boys and girls return as young men and women, career plans in place and sometimes even children in tow.  No matter when they return, we are delighted to see them.  We dance at their weddings and celebrate their successes.  Our hearts swell.

This connection is something exceedingly precious and rare, a bond our community might even take for granted.  As our seniors prepare to depart from the daily rituals and comforts of WYHS, they leave confident in the knowledge that they can always return to the place where they received a strong foundation -- not only in English and Gemara, but in how to lead a virtuous, fulfilling, benevolent life. 

Now, the time has come: time to tip our hats to our extraordinary seniors, the WYHS Class of 2015.  We are so very proud of each and every one of you, yet we know that your best is yet to come.  Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."  So when you dream, dream big.  Remember that anything worth dreaming and doing in life is worth doing well.  And as you do well, also do good.  

Thank you to the Highlites staff for putting together this extraordinary college-themed edition of Highlites.

Shabbat Shalom,
Mrs. Marcy Roberts
Director, College Guidance
Good and Welfare

Rivka Pearlstein ('12) to Gilad Mordekovich

Upcoming Events
May 7
Lag Ba'omer

May 22
Next edition of Highlites
Seniors Going Global
Class of 2015 Has Many Destinations

 Graphic by Gabi Frohlich ('17)

WYHS Class of 2015 College Facts

Where are they going?
7 seniors are staying in-state for college
37 seniors are going out-of-state for college
9 seniors are going to Israel for college or to join the IDF

YU remains the most popular college destination for WYHS graduates: at least 19 seniors plan to attend Yeshiva College or Stern College in New York. Seven out of seven WYHS seniors who applied to YU Honors were admitted.
For the second year, the University of Maryland is the second most popular college destination for WYHS graduates:  at least five seniors plan to enroll at UMD in College Park.

Yeshiva and Seminary Facts
20 out of 31 girls are going to seminary in Israel (plus 3 more girls going to Israel for other non-seminary programs)

19 out of 26 boys going to yeshiva in Israel (plus 4 more going to Israel for other programs like BIU year-course or IDF)
Chutes and Ladders College Edition
Will You Win at the Game of College?
Graphic by Aaron Senfeld ('17)
Let's Chat
Class of 2015 Offers Sage Advice to Fellow WYHS Students

Graphic by Ariel Schneider ('17)  
College Firsts
Class of 2015's Unique Accomplishments  

Graphic by Shara Saketkhou ('16)

WYHS "Firsts" from the Class of 2015

First WYHS student to attend Emerson College
First WYHS student to attend Syracuse University
First WYHS student to attend University of Hartford
First WYHS student to attend University of Michigan
First WYHS student to become an Eagle Scout
Let the Games Begin!
10th Graders Begin College Process with
the "College Guidance Game" 

Graphic by Ariel Schneider ('16)
Article by Jonathan Leff ('17)

This past week, the sophomore class met with Mrs. Roberts to discuss the exciting experiences ahead in college guidance. The highly informative program introduced us to the complex world of higher education. Mrs. Roberts spent most of the time conducting the "College Guidance Game" -- an activity geared towards familiarizing us with the many components of an "ideal applicant" sought by colleges. We learned the importance of having a well-rounded academic background, as well as the immense value of extracurricular pursuits. Whether it be GPA, community service, or foreign languages, Mrs. Roberts emphasized the significance of a balanced resume. The student with the highest GPA does not always win. Overall, it was a very helpful discussion, and we look forward to working with Mrs. Roberts and Mrs. Seidenfeld throughout the college guidance process.
March of the Living
Group of Seniors Embark on Emotional Journey Through Europe and Israel
Graphic by Ariella Mamann ('16)
Article by Daniella Cohen ('15)

I very recently had the incredible opportunity to participate in the international March of the Living. The Southern Region -- comprised of over 100 students from Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Sarasota, Dallas, Bolivia, and New Zealand -- spent the first week of the trip in Poland traveling to some of the most horrendous places on Earth. Together we visited concentration camps, death camps, and ghettos, a mere few among thousands of locations where Nazis destroyed and massacred Jewish people during the Holocaust. No matter how many pictures I have seen, movies I have watched, or stories I have heard, there is nothing comparable to actually being at those horrifying sites. The experience was all the more powerful for me because my great grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Standing near the crematoria at Birkenau and listening to the esteemed Rabbi Lau tell his unbelievable tale of survival at the March of the Living ceremony, I could picture the incidents of brutal torture or miraculous escape in my own ancestors' history. 


Although we often hear the phrase, "Our survivors won't be around much longer," it never becomes trite. It gets more true by the year. The March provided me with the ability to not only befriend survivors but also and perhaps more importantly to relive their pasts and view the settings of their stories firsthand. These amazing heroes taught us, before and during our trip, about the strength and courage ingrained in each of us and in our nation. As I stepped through the "Arbeit Macht Frei" gate at Auschwitz on the day of the actual March of the Living, walking arm-in-arm with one of our survivors and looking out at a sea of Jewish teens from numerous countries such as England, Brazil, and even Germany, I felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and pride. 


Following our week in Poland, we spent a fun-filled, inspirational week in Israel. Our trip had come full circle, and it was clear to all us Marchers that the Nazis failed. We as a Jewish people have never given up. Out of the devastation of the Holocaust, we fought for and reconquered our homeland. The contrast between the appalling concentration camps and the magnificent Kotel says it all: We are still here, and we will always prevail.  
Tanach and Talmud Competitions
Students Compete in Moot Beit Din & Chidon HaTanach
Graphic and Article by Simcha Stadlan ('16)

WYHS students were given the opportunity this year to participate in two Jewish-knowledge competitions: Chidon HaTanach, the international Bible contest, and Moot Beit Din, a Jewish mock trial. These competitions have given students a chance to expand their Torah study outside of school and have provided a new way of learning our ancient Jewish texts. 


For Moot Beit Din, a competition organized by Ravsak, thirty schools across the country were presented with a civil court case and were tasked with formulating a halachik ruling based on sources from the Torah, Talmud, and rabbinic commentaries. This year's case entailed studying about lashon hara, the laws about reading private snapchats (mail), and a teacher's role in discipline. Four juniors, Dani Koenigsberg, Simcha Stadlan, Leor Levenson, and Tani Kay, with the assistance and guidance of Rabbi Horowitz, worked for the past few months on devising their halachik approach to the case. A few weeks ago, the WYHS Moot Beit Din team flew to Los Angeles, California to present their ruling as a mock "beit din" in front of a panel of judges. The students also spent a Shabbat with the other teams, meeting new friends and exchanging Torah knowledge. 


Ten students also participated in the Chidon HaTanach, the international Bible competition run by the Jewish Agency for Israel. With Mrs. Kanner, these students studied the books of Shmot, Shmuel, Esther, and parts of Trei Asar. Participants had to learn the texts in preparation for three regional exams on the material throughout the year. Three students, Leor Levenson ('16), Corey Reichenberg ('16), and Lana Rosenthal ('17) qualified for the next round and will be competing in the national competition in New York this Sunday. 

This Week in Pictures

Graphic by Ariella Mamann ('16)