60 new freshmen meet, greet and learn at all-day orientation

Orientation takes them first to the beach, then back to school to meet teachers and the block schedule


Noa Segal

BLOCK: Dean of Academic Affairs Ms. Aviva Walls showed freshmen Noa Silberstein, left, and Layla Dauer how to color-code her schedule at Freshman Orientation Aug. 24.

By Rami Fink, Ninth Grade

The class of 2021 was welcomed with a mixture of fun-and-games and nuts-and bolts at an all-day orientation last Thursday, start-
ing at the beach and ending with kids feeling less nervous about starting high school.

Beginning with a two-hour trip to Santa Monica beach, the event was followed by a return to school for advisory meetings where students received their schedules and details about Shalhevet life.

“It kind of relieved that awkward first moment of school and made it easier to so- cialize,” said freshman Max Wintner in an interview later.

According to Admissions Director Ms.Natalie Weiss, this year’s ninth grade has 60 students. She said a third came from Gindi
Maimonidies Hebrew Academy and the rest are graduates of Hillel, Pressman, Yavneh, Kabbalah Center Academy, Emek, Ohr Eliya-
hu, Alice and Nahum Lainer School (former-y Sinai Akiba) and four different public and charter schools.

The orientation began just as a regular school day would, at 8 a.m. with davening and breakfast. Then came a 45-minute bus ride to the beach, accompanied by Judaic Studies teach- ers and various administrators, including General Studies Principal Mr. Daniel Weslow. Awaiting them were jenga, a marble track race, a giant puzzle, and — a fan favorite — rubber chicken shooting.

Back at school for the afternoon, the students were split into their advisory groups, and Rabbi Schwarzberg and Dean of Ac-
ademic Affairs Ms. Aviva Walls presented “commandments” for the Shalhevet community. Among them were to be engaged; to actively seek out relationships with teachers, fellow students, and faculty; to connect with the Shalhevet community; to be yourself; and to present the best version of yourself in an appropriate manner.

Rabbi Schwarzberg explained that Shalhevet works better when students see these rules as a covenant instead.

“When the Shalhevet community observes these guidelines, it is beneficial to the students and helps them have a better Shalhevet experience,” he said.

Next, students were presented with the block sched- ule template. Puzzled and confused expressions were apparent on the faces of freshmen, seniors and faculty alike, but after some time and much teamwork, everyone figured it out.

Finally, students met with every one of their teachers for a few minutes, toured the school with a 12th grader, and received their
locker assignments. Seniors then presented all the co-curriculars.

“Now I’m a lot more comfortable with the kids we’re going to school with,” said fresh- man Hannah Poltorak.