Sunday SAT now being given at Shalhevet

By Jacob Feitelberg, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

After 25 years of trekking to locations as far away as Woodland Hills and Willowbrook, for the first time students took the Sunday SAT on Fairfax near Olympic Oct. 15 — at Shalhevet High School.

Twenty-nine students from 14 different schools took the test on the second floor, filling up all the classrooms, and were proctored by Shalhevet staff and some outside people. Fifteen of the 29 students — about one third the testing capacity Shalhevet signed up for — were Shalhevet students.

“Nothing about it wasn’t smooth,” said senior Ariel Cohen, who took the test that day. “It was better than running smoothly. It felt like a comfortable environment.”

Senior Amin Lari said that Shalhevet was better suited for testing compared to the Inglewood testing center he had been to before — in the flight path of planes landing at Los Angeles International Airport.

“In Inglewood you get airplanes flying over you every ten minutes,” said Amin, “while in Shalhevet you were in a quiet room.”

Other locations where Shalhevet students have taken the college entrance exams include Morning- side High School in Inglewood, L.A. Adventist Academy in Willowbrook, El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, and USC, according to alumni surveyed by the Boiling Point.

Most high school students around the country take the SAT on Saturdays, but students with religious restrictions on Saturday, including Jews and Seventh-day Adventists, may take it Sunday.

However, testing centers for Sunday test takers are more limited, which means that a student living in Beverlywood, who could take the SAT at Hamilton High School on Saturday, would have to drive to Inglewood or beyond to take it on Sunday.

Shalhevet became a Sunday test center because it offered to, according to Ms. Lisa Gruenbaum, Associate Director of College Counseling. Shalhevet neither paid proctors or made money from administering the test.

Shalhevet is signed up also to hold the March SAT. Ms. Gruenbaum said that as of now, there is no plan to start offering the ACT, but if having the SAT at Shalhevet proves to be very positive for the students, then they will start considering that as well.

“We felt it necessary for there to be a bigger Sunday test center in our own Jewish community,” Ms. Gruenbaum said, “and not just for the good of Shalhevet students but also for the good of the greater Jewish community in Los Angeles.”

Ms. Gruenbaum also described how having Shalhevet as a Sunday testing center could help students more easily observe Shabbat and not take the SAT on Saturday.

“The more we can do for our students to be somewhat committed to their Jewish values I think is a ‘pro’ in our mindset here,” she said. “We are not trying to tell anyone what to do or when to do it, but when they know it’s offered here, it makes it that much easier for them to choose Sunday over Saturday.”

Out of the senior class, 10 students said that they took the SAT on Saturday.

Senior Oren Rad, who took the test in August said that location didn’t play into his choice to take the test on Saturday, but he thinks more people will take it on Sunday now.

“I think everyone will be more inclined to take it [at Shalhevet] because it is our school,” said Oren. “It’s not far, and we know all the teachers here. It’s more comfortable.”

Ariel liked having the test at Shalhevet after previously taking it at LA Adventist Academy.

“I didn’t need to wake up at an unreasonable hour to get take my SAT which already would throw me off,” said Ariel.

“It was also really helpful to be in a familiar environment,” she said, “and Shalhevet’s facilities were really great for testing conditions and much better than any test center that I’ve ever taken a test at.”

Ariel also said that she thought Sunday testing taking would eventually become something everyone would do at Shalhevet.

“I don’t think that suddenly changing the location would make people keep Shabbat or anything like that,” said Ariel.

“I do think that the convenience of it and also kids going into Shalhevet entering the 11th grade and starting to think about testing,” she said, “knowing that they could test at Shalhevet but only if they take it on Sunday, then it will be a normal thing where no one is taking the test on Saturday and everyone is taking the test on Sunday.”