By Lorraine Disano
Although summer has sadly come to an end and school has begun, it is fun to reflect on all the exciting activities the students of Byram Hills participated in during the summer. The biggest actions included volunteering, becoming camp counselors, going on vacation, attending a teen tour, visiting a mentor for science research, and going to sleepaway camp.
Volunteering: Many students spent their summer giving back to others.
Anika Kumar, a junior, went all the way to India to volunteer at the school Shanti Bhavan, which is a place for underprivileged children in the untouchable caste. The people in the untouchable caste are considered less than human, and they receive the worst jobs while getting paid little to nothing. These childrens’ families make less than 2 dollars a day. Anika had the opportunity to teach them English and math, and to play soccer with them every day. She said, “It was the best experience of my life and the connections that I made with the kids were amazing. I think about them everyday and can’t wait to go back.”
Lizzie Manowitz and John D’Avanzo, both juniors, volunteered at Neighbors Link in Mount Kisco. Neighbors Link is a non-profit organization whose goal is to help new immigrant families integrate into the community. Lizzie did several activities with the kids such as reading books and doing crafts, and since it was summer, they would even get the chance to go and play outside. Lizzie said, “I loved seeing how excited the kids were when they got to go to the playground. I had so much fun spending time with the kids and forming relationships with all of them throughout the summer.” On the other hand, John helped immigrant students by trying to get them up to speed with their peers. He stated, “I highly recommend getting involved with a local organization over the summer, even if it’s only for a short time. Not only is it super rewarding, but it is a great time of year to help others in the community”
Camp counselors: Becoming a camp counselor is not only the best way to earn extra money, but you are given the chance to relive your days as a camper.
Sofia Giamartino, a senior, worked as a camp counselor for seven weeks with three year olds at Breezemont this past summer. Sofia did everything for them and even had the opportunity to teach them how to do a couple of new things like how to put their clothes on and go to the bathroom. Sofia stated, “I’ve learned more from working with three year olds for the past two summers than I could have ever imagined.”
Teen Tours: Teen tours have become a very popular trip for students to go on during their summer because it is an opportunity to make new friends and see different parts of the world. Jamie Seymour, a junior, who went on a teen tour said, “Being on a teen tour is an amazing way to meet friends and put yourself out there. I had a great time and would definitely do it again.”
Sophie Stumacher, a junior, went to Spain for two weeks for a teen tour. It was a language immersion program which meant she took a class for about four hours each day. However, she also had the opportunity to tour San Sebastian, Madrid, and Barcelona. Sophie stated, “I learned so much not only about the language but also about the customs and culture of different regions within Spain. I had so much fun meeting new people and making new memories!”
Vacations: When you think of summer you think about going on a vacation. Many students went to beaches, tropical locations, Europe, amusement parks, etc.
Olivia and Marleigh Canter spent part of their summer in Norway. They have a very active family, so of course they ended up going on a couple of hikes. Olivia stated, “I went hiking with my family and it was an amazing experience. It was so nice to be surrounded by beautiful nature.”
Science Research: The summer in between junior and senior year, the science research students go to visit their mentor and complete their studies.
Meagan Eickelbeck, a senior, went to Denver, CO all by herself to execute her science research study. She was located in a lab at National Jewish Health with her mentor where she was working with bacteria to create recombinant dog proteins (allergens). Meagan also used human blood samples to determine what kind of immune response would occur when adding a bacterial adjuvant to immunotherapy against dog allergies. She said, “Overall, I think it was an amazing experience and has helped to prepare me for life after high school.”
Camp: Many of the freshmen and sophomores spent their summer going to sleepaway camp.
Sydney Levy, a sophmore, went to Fernwood Cove sleepaway camp in Maine. At camp she was able to do many activities such as tennis, water skiing, dance, art, and cooking. She stated, “It was my last and best year as a camper. Although it was sad leaving my second home and my sisters, the memories and lifelong friends I have made will be with me forever.
Overall, the summer is the time for students to take a break from school and instead relax and find something to do that makes them smile. Whether it was volunteering, working as a camp counselor, going on a family vacation or teen tour, or anything else, it is safe to say that most, if not all, Byram students enjoyed their summer and were sad to see it end.
Anika Kumar and the children at the Shanti Bhavan School