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Monday, October 26, 2020
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In the spirit of this year’s theme of “We Are One,” Ma’ayanot’s Rapids Rising Freshmen Trip brought the ninth grade to the Bronx Zoo on Thursday, October 1. The trip was infused with togetherness, giving students the opportunity to get to know their classmates in a relaxed setting off campus. Ma’ayanot’s dedicated and hard-working medical advisory committee ascertained that the Bronx Zoo meets the school’s COVID-19 safety regulations, and social distancing and masking were maintained throughout. Ma’ayanot’s senior fellows joined each freshman group and ran an icebreaker. The fellows’ mentoring and leadership imbued the day with extra spirit. As Nina Bieler, ninth grade dean, explained, “Our goal was to celebrate the grade together, create a sense of belonging to the Ma’ayanot family, build new connections and have fun!”

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At the Bronx Zoo, students participated in a video scavenger hunt and had free time to explore the exhibits together. Since the goal of the day was building connections and forging friendships, students turned in their cellphones at the beginning of the trip. Bieler explained that “since they were not connected to their phones, students were able to connect with each other more meaningfully.” Ninth grader Talia Katz added, “At first, I was apprehensive about giving up my phone because I wanted to take pictures. However, I soon discovered that setting aside my phone allowed me to focus on getting acquainted with my new classmates and appreciating the majestic animals.” Shayna Warum agreed, “Not having our phones on freshman retreat was a truly grounding experience. We had the opportunity to really connect and bond with our grade without distractions. It was amazing to really live in the moment and experience it completely.” Concluded Tzipora Bargad, “It was a really great first trip in Ma’ayanot!”

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