JCHS News

Sophomore Journey: From SF to Paris to the Stars

Shayna Dollinger, Class of 2018
It's 5:30 am; The sun isn't even up yet. I put my suitcase in the car and head off to the airport. Greeted by the Class of 2018, emotions immediately change from tired and nervous to excited and, well, still tired.
It's 5:30 am; The sun isn't even up yet. I put my suitcase in the car and head off to the airport. Greeted by the Class of 2018, emotions immediately change from tired and nervous to excited and, well, still tired.

After waiting a long hour for everyone to arrive, we head towards the gate, just in time to board our flight to Las Vegas. We have a nice and quick flight involving a lot of sleeping. With most of us being slightly more well rested than before, we load the bus and head to the strip.

Our first stop is Paris, which involved a scavenger hunt where we had the task of interacting with the space and the people there. #utahchavrutah. Only after being stopped by the security guard for being underaged in a casino, does the group head out to the strip for some free time. Activities include swimming, walking around, getting food, ice cream, shopping, and much more.

Sophia sums up the afternoon well. I say that "we have conquered Vegas." She politely tells me, "no, Shayna, Vegas conquered us."

So...on to Utah.

Back on the bus for a three hour drive to Springdale. A lot of us sleep more. And more and more. By the time we wake up, we are surrounded by beautiful canyons and mountains. Truly a wake up call from the buildings and atmosphere of Las Vegas.
After dinner we meet with our tribes and reflect on our experiences in Vegas. Let's just say it isn't the next destination on everyone's list of places to travel. So now the time is 9:45 p.m. Everyone figures: ok, time to go to bed. But no. The adventures are only beginning.
We all board the bus and travel to some unknown location where we are instructed to get off the bus and gather together. Baruch, our amazing wilderness guide, begins leading us through the darkness.

I cannot begin to describe the beauty that we witness. The stars are brighter than I have ever seen.

It is during this night hike that I really see how much our class knows each other in the short time that we have been together. It was pitch black and yet we all managed to guess who the other people were just by their voices or certain features. It is truly an incredible experience. We all held each other's hands and guided each other through the darkness. We used so many of our senses that we would never think to use on a hike. Without seeing it, we immediately recognize a rushing river and we learn to appreciate the beauty of sounds.

The solo "hike" allows all of us to be in touch with ourselves and focus on all of our senses. Walking back to the bus, we were all amazed by the beauty of nature. It was an amazing day, and I know that we will sleep well tonight.
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Jewish Community High School of the Bay
1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415.345.9777
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The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.