While Sophomore’s were preparing for Sophomore Slam in Niagra Falls, news reports out of Buffalo spoke of impassable roads and several feet of snow. We were scheduled to leave on Thursday morning and more snow was in the forecast for Friday. Over the course of three hours on Wednesday, our amazing teachers and administrators planned an all new Sophomore Slam packed with activities in (somewhat) warmer Virginia Beach!
The faculty put together an incredible itinerary; from roller skating to go-karting, all activities saw countless amounts of student bonding. While creating new friendships and strengthening past ones, we had the amazing opportunity to connect with one another in an out-of-school environment. This gave us the opportunity to push our social boundaries and create lasting relationships without the pressure of school work or classes.
As Friday came to a close, Shabbos was welcomed with an inspiring Kabbalat Shabbat. The grade transformed into a united front as the trip progressed, displaying this with looped arms and clapping hands. The singing eventually became so loud that the walls shook, the pure ruach reverberating through the hotel. The night continued with more singing, inspiring D’var Torahs, and thoughtful group sessions, during which students were asked to think about their relationships with Hashem, their teachers, and one another.
Shabbos day was equally inspiring as we davened, learned, and laughed as one. Whether it was an especially meaningful D’var Torah, or walking along the beach, there was never a dull moment. A resounding unity was present every time someone approached a group of new friends, asked a teacher a meaningful question, or linked arms during acheinu.
As Sunday morning rolled around, we davened Vatikin overlooking the ocean and sunrise – a truly perfect ending to the weekend. With the whole grade davening together and marveling at Hashem’s creation, it truly encompassed everything that we had learned in those few days. Even though the trip was not what we had expected, it was better than we could have ever imagined. In the words of a student, “I realized that our grade was no longer simply a grade, but rather, a family”.