Sophomore Journey: Exploring New Spaces

Michael Mirelman
We have done our best to take advantage of the beauty that this amazing national park has to offer.
Yes yes y’all, it’s the evening of our second full day in Zion National Park and it feels like we have been here for weeks already. The sophomore class has jumped right in to every activity. I think I can speak for all of the faculty chaperones when I say that we have been impressed with the way that they take care of each other. 
Our journey began early on Sunday morning at the Virgin America terminal at SFO. Mr. Wolkenstein introduced students to the theme of our trip: “the masks that we wear.” Students kept this in mind as they explored the Las Vegas strip and participated in our Instagram #utahchavrutah challenge. Many students noticed the smell of cigarettes in the casinos, the consumerist grandeur of the hotels, and the way that the slot machine players resembled zombies. With food in our bellies, we gladly boarded the bus destined for Springdale, UT, our home for the next five days. 
In the short time we're here, we have done our best to take advantage of the beauty that this amazing national park has to offer. Students have gone on trail runs with Mr. Hagen, hiked 2,200 feet to Observation Point, trekked through the night without flashlights, and taken a challenging hike to Angel’s Landing and Observation Point. We have explored the town of Springdale, rappelled down sheer 100-foot walls, and climbed sandstone rock faces with guides from the Zion Mountain School. I’m proud to report that yoga tefillah has seen record numbers here in the desert, enabling students to be sufficiently stretched out for the physical tasks of the day.
Mr. Shapero has been a hero, preparing delicious kosher meals for us and giving us healthy options for our lunches on the trail. Some students have even dared to eat the Tofurkey! Mr. Brody has been our trail blazer and expert in everything outdoors. He really knows how to layer! Ms. Beck, Ms. Sturgill, and Mr. Hagen have been rock solid in leading activities, keeping students safe in the hotel, and adding happiness to our daily program.
I want to shout out the Divrei Torah that Zoe M., Moriah R., and Ariel C. have given at our student assemblies. They have helped frame the hard work on this trip as moments of growth. I’m looking forward to our last two days, which will include rock climbing, a campfire, and a nature bazaar. Finally, I want to give huge props to the JCHS sophomore class. These students are thoughtful, engaged, and kind. It has been a pleasure to explore Zion with them. 
Signing off!
Jewish Community High School of the Bay
1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415.345.9777
JCHS is grateful for generous operational, programmatic, and financial support from:
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.