Heschel Students’ Summers Amidst A Global Pandemic

By Emma Jonas ‘23, Online Editor

Due to the continuous spread of COVID-19 throughout the summer, almost everyone’s summer plans shifted, whether that meant not going to camp for the first time in seven summers, canceling an annual family vacation, or even just needing to wear a mask on the beach. Nevertheless, Heschel students adapted to the challenges this summer presented. 

Sophomore Olivia Sohn intended to go to Camp Yavneh for her sixth summer in a row but was forced to cancel her plans. She explained, “I was devastated when I found out camp was canceled. I didn’t have high hopes for the summer.” This gloom hung over her for the rest of the summer. Instead of spending her summer in Northwood, New Hampshire, Sohn stayed in New York City most of the time. Sohn said, “I started to enjoy walking in the park and experiencing the natural beauties of the city.” She was also able to spend more time reading. Sohn also spent a month living with her cousins in Sharon, Massachusetts. There, she was able to enjoy the company of her camp friends, as well as spend time with her cousins and brother. . While she wished her original plans hadn’t been canceled, she is glad that she does not have to enter the school year feeling nostalgic about a great time at camp. 

Junior Victoria Khaghan spent the majority of her summer at Camp Modin, one of the few sleepaway camps that opened this summer. This was her final summer as a camper at Modin, and she had eagerly waited 10 years to be in the oldest age group at camp. Regarding safety at the camp, Khaghan explained, “A week before camp started we had to get tested, and then we got tested the day we got there. After our first week at camp, when we had to wear masks and social distance from other bunks, we got tested for a third and final time; everyone tested negative and camp went on as planned.” While she admitted that the first week at camp was not what she had been picturing in her head since she was seven, it still felt like camp because she was in her favorite place with her best friends. Khaghan said, “We were all definitely apprehensive about the summer ahead of us but my summer was amazing. I think I can also say so on behalf of all the people in my bunk.” 

Senior Felix Hasson, who was enrolled in the Science Research Initiative, initially planned to spend his summer working in a science laboratory for the second year in a row, but due to the pandemic, his program was canceled. “I was really excited to return to the lab I went to last summer, and I was pretty bummed out that I couldn’t come back, but I got over it pretty quickly,” he commented. Hasson used his newfound free time to take part in a six-week pre-calculus math course. He also competed in gaming tournaments online. “I play Super Smash Bros. during the tournaments,” he said. “They can range from around 20 people to a couple thousand and those can get crazy!” Despite his lab opportunity being canceled, Hasson had an enjoyable summer.

Lastly, Marley Kronenberg, another senior at Heschel, had what she calls the best summer of her life in the Hamptons. In June, she tutored young children through a student-led program called JMB Tutoring. She worked over Zoom with a second grader on reading comprehension, reading articles about superheroes. Starting June 29th, Kronenburg returned to work at SPORTIME, a sports day camp in Amagansett, and for the first time took on the leadership role of head counselor for a group of children ages seven to nine. She was not certain the camp would be able to run for its full 10 weeks, but after strategic planning and strict protocols, SPORTIME was able to stay open all summer without any COVID-19 cases. Not only did Kronenberg have an amazing time with her campers, she also spent time with her co-workers during and after camp hours. She exclaimed, “It was great because throughout all of quarantine I did not go out of my house a lot, and now I was going out every day. I was so happy to be busy. Being with my friends as counselors and working with kids that I had a lot of fun with was amazing.”

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