By Eliza Fisher ‘23
It’s not every day that Heschel High School students get to sit in a nook dozens of feet above the ground at the top of a rock climbing wall, rather than one in the hallways of the school. But on Thursday, September 19, the ninth grade took a break from their exhausting schedules and went to High Exposure, a rock climbing, ninja warrior, and parkour gym in Northvale, New Jersey. At High Exposure, the freshman class was faced with soaring rock climbing walls and thrilling obstacle courses, some resembling those on the TV show American Ninja Warrior.
The main goal of sending the freshmen to High Exposure, as explained by ninth Grade Dean Joseph Eskin, was to allow freshmen to get to know each other better, and for them to be pushed to new extents in “safe, comfortable, and fun” ways.
When asked to reflect on his experience at High Exposure, Charlie Lebwohl ’23, who has been attending Heschel since he was in kindergarten, stated that at first he was not particularly looking forward to going. Lebwohl had been overwhelmed with the amount of homework and studying he had to do, and just wanted to get it over with. However, to Lebwohl’s surprise the activity turned out to be extremely liberating. Lebwohl explained, “In retrospect, it was really fun to just forget about the work and stress that comes with being a high school student and just climb a wall.” When asked if Lebwohl felt that this activity brought him closer to his classmates, Lebwohl wasn’t so sure. He laughed as he said, “I learned that some kids are really really good at rock climbing and others aren’t as adept.”
Freshman Ellie Bukh, a new student to Heschel, stated that she was nervous to go to High Exposure, “I didn’t know a lot of people, so I wasn’t looking forward to being put with a group of kids and have to do something I don’t usually do.” Fortunately for Bukh, others shared those same anxieties. Bukh stated, “High Exposure definitely helped me bond with other kids. Everyone was out of their comfort zone in some way, but everyone was encouraging one another when they were scared. Both kids who have been at Heschel for a long time and new kids worked together and helped each other climb.”
In addition to the ninth grade and faculty members, peer advisors attended the trip. The peer advisors had previously gone there to plan out how they could make it the best experience possible for the freshmen. Peer advisor and senior Talia Levin said that accompanying the freshmen enhanced her relationship with some of them. “We got to have more conversations with freshmen, learn some more names, and continue those relationships.”
Overall, the ninth grade trip to High Exposure seems to have left everyone satisfied. As Eskin put it, “As a grade, it seemed like a really successful day of less formal fun and a chance for people to get to know each other better.”