By Aria Knepler-Pearl
Pool parties and water fights! Camp races and color wars! Finishing that delicious giant ice cream cone! Putting on your shades and tanning under the sun!
Summer is indisputably the best part of the year, but sometimes summer looks different. Maybe you’re moving, maybe you’re traveling, maybe… there’s a worldwide pandemic. Summer definitely looked different last year, and this summer, we still had not fully recovered. Fortunately, we can say that this summer was better than the last, and we reclaimed some more of our favorite summer activities. But COVID highlighted how everyone’s summer was different, and being able to see how our new friends spent their summer can connect us. So, to welcome this year’s new students, the sixth graders, let’s see how they spent their summer!
Some of the more unique responses to our survey included: “the first thing I did was go to Disney World for a week,” and “[I] moved from Hawaii by way of Los Angeles to Philadelphia,” from Liana Fuiman and Ezra Aslan, respectively. Many sixth graders also spent their summer away from home, for as long as seven weeks, at sleep-away camps like Camp Equinunk and Camp Ramah in the Poconos. For those who stayed local, students attended a wide variety of day camps, including theater camp, tennis camp, and coding camp. Other sixth graders traveled -- some to Tennessee, others to Virginia and the Bahamas, still others took a road trip! And of course, many spent time at the beach, a beloved summer must. Enjoying the beach was included in the sixth graders’ favorite summer activities, as well as hanging out with friends, playing basketball, going swimming, making memories at camp, and spending time with family, some of whom had even flown in from Israel.
Although sixth graders had fun reading, going to camp, and even babysitting, some definitely had less enjoyable summer activities. Some hated the camp they had to go to, some hated the bus ride to camp, and one student (Neli Kriger) was stung by a wasp, which is generally not a fun experience. Sorry Neli! But some sixth graders had such a great summer, they couldn’t choose a least favorite activity.
Naturally, summer is all about relaxing, taking a break from school and stress, and having fun. So, what was the most relaxing part of the sixth graders’ summers? Some said “going to camp with my friends,” (Oliver Rivkind) while others talked about the opposite, “getting home from camp and spending time with my family” (Emma Kaplan). Camp can be a whirlwind of fun activities and ample time with friends, but sometimes it can get stressful. Liana Fuiman shared that getting to relax at home after camp had finished was nice, as she didn’t have to worry about making a mistake in front of other people -- or being late. A few other responses about the benefits of summer included: sleeping in later, chilling at the pool or beach, and hanging out with friends and family.
Thinking about the most relaxing aspect of summer brings us to the flip side of that question. What’s the most stressful part of summer? Many sixth graders said “summer homework,” the sometimes dreaded words that bring school into our beloved time off. Others had some different answers, like Isabel Candeub, who said that while on vacation many people weren’t wearing masks; something that can be stressful in a way we hadn’t imagined until the pandemic. Even though we are better informed, equipped with a vaccine, and working our way towards “normal,” COVID-19 still found ways to impact our summer. Sixth graders talked about how it stopped them from seeing grandparents and family members who live in a different country, and how they still had to wear masks in the heat. But others reported not having to wear masks at sleepaway camp (after being tested) made the time at camp even sweeter, offering a “break” from the pandemic. All in all, it was an exciting summer for our newest community members, and maybe you can relate to some of the summer experiences cited here. And even if you can’t, we all share one experience now as we begin the 2021-2022 school year at Barrack alongside a new group of students who we now know a little bit better.