On Sunday morning, November 13, Yeshiva University High School for Girls opened its doors to families from all over the New York area for an informative and exciting Open House. The entire administration, staff, and faculty were in attendance, as were 75 current Central students who were motivated to come to Open House out of love for their school.
As the eager eighth-graders arrived with friends and families, they were warmly welcomed by members of the student body and faculty, who directed them into the cafe for registration. Families received a welcome packet with helpful information to guide them through the admissions process and to learn more about the school’s curricular and student-life programming. At a sumptuous breakfast buffet in the gym, visitors mingled with faculty and students, noting the beautiful displays around the room that encapsulate the range of opportunities available to Central students. The room filled quickly, and the audience for the formal portion of the morning was brimming in quantity and brimming with excitement.
Associate Principal Beverly Segal began by introducing one of the newest members of the Central family, freshman Shayna Orlow. Shayna sympathized with the eighth-graders during this pivotal period of decision-making, and she shared her own decision-making process, which ultimately led to her fantastic choice to become a member of the Central Class of 2020. Shayna recalled the immediate warmth she experienced as a new student: “You will feel comfortable right away. The faculty always greets you with a smile each morning. Central, being a close-knit school, gives you the opportunity to get to know everyone, including kids from other grades.” She also noted the accessibility of the faculty and their genuine desire to help each student succeed: “Here at Central, every teacher and faculty member’s goal is to make sure you strive to become the best you can possibly be. Whether it’s your principal, your science teacher, or even your basketball coach, they each want to see you reach your potential. The teachers here make an effort to connect with all of their students, and they constantly remind us to come to them for any help we may need.”
Mrs. Miriam Goldberg, chair of the YUHS board of trustees, glowingly introduced head of school Mrs. CB Neugroschl, who drew on the experiences of some exceptional seniors to illustrate the ways that students learn to live a life of Torah U’Maddah. An inspiring video, incorporating testimonies of numerous students, demonstrated Central’s commitment to excellence and mission to educate the whole student, addressing her academic, social, emotional, extracurricular, and spiritual needs.
Senior Ronit Landsman spoke to the success of that mission as she recounted her own experiences at Central and “its commitment to Torah learning and general learning for the sake of growth and knowledge. Our teachers at Central care about our academic performance, but care even more about providing us with the tools to see and approach life with a new understanding! I often think back to my 10th-grade chemistry-class introduction: Mrs. Chopp stood before the class and stated proudly that the periodic table of elements is a chart displaying the complex and miraculous work of Hashem. It was nothing but the usual when Mrs. Lavner’s Chumash class turned into a heated discussion about modern-day aliyah when studying the story of cheit ha’meraglim. At Central, my classmates and I are constantly gaining knowledge and learning for the sake of learning. In all sorts of ways, Central teaches us to be sophisticated thinkers, to analyze information and how to apply it to our lives.” Ronit also identified one of the ways a Central social experience is so special: “Having friends from different backgrounds and varying neighborhoods brings diversity to the school and has helped us each form unique, valuable, and lifelong relationships.” She finished off by saying: “At first glance, Central may just seem like any other high school, but I can tell you that there is so much more to it than that. It is a family, a community, and a lifelong connection to friends. So much of my growth and who I am today is because of the person my peers and teachers have helped me become. I worked and thrived in an atmosphere that is caring, warm, and energetic. I couldn’t have asked for anything more!”
Director of admissions Aliza Gewirtz introduced herself and welcomed guests to embark on the admissions process. Says Mrs. Gewirtz, “It was so exciting to have over 550 guests in attendance on Sunday, and I can’t wait to meet the incoming Class of 2021!”
Visitors then explored the school from an academic perspective as they sat in classrooms for four faculty presentations. In each room, visitors experienced a microcosm of a day in the life of a Central student, learning two Judaic-studies lessons, and one each from the humanities and STEM fields. As teachers rotated classrooms, their enthusiasm for their respective disciplines was palpable, as was their warmth and approachability. A Central student can expect that she will have teachers who know their stuff and who really know her.
Eighth-graders then joined current Central students in the cafe for a student-life presentation, which highlighted the countless opportunities available to students outside of the classroom. A media presentation introduced students to various facets of student life at Central, as did student representatives Ellie Berger (‘18), Shlomit Ebbin (‘18), Tamar Pollock (‘17), and Dodie Lee Weinberg (‘18), who shared their experiences and communicated the ways Central students can get involved. Shlomit introduced the performing-arts clubs, giving the audience a taste of her “slamming” poetry skills. “Last year I was fortunate to develop my performance and poetic skills at various poetry-slam competitions in addition to performing at Central’s cultural-arts production,” said Shlomit. “Every aspect of being a part of these performances is exciting–late-night rehearsals, becoming friends with girls in different grades, and of course the feeling of coming home with a trophy for our school! Throughout my years here I have had many opportunities like the poetry club because Central truly encourages our individual strengths and talents.” The award-winning Central choir, led by Leora Ciment (‘17) and Gabi Friedman (‘18), then performed a beautiful rendition of “Stand in the Light.”
Tamar discussed the chesed and activism opportunities at Central: “If I can tell you just one thing to remember, it is that Central cares! This extends beyond the chesed club activities. Central teaches us to care about the world we live in, the people around us, our environment, politics, and more.” Ellie recounted her experiences on the Ulpana Exchange Program, during which Central students spend six wonderful weeks in an Israeli high school, learning and living with their Israeli peers. “This is an opportunity to live in Israel as an Israeli student, completely immersed in Israeli culture for a few weeks during the school year,” explained Ellie. “Living with Israelis and going to limudei kodesh classes with them really improved my Hebrew and my love of Tanach. The school we attended in Israel, Ulpana Tzvia, is known throughout the country as being a particularly fun, ruach-filled, and creative school. Spending time learning there and making friends with the Israeli students really opened my mind and my heart in a big way.”
After a media piece about athletics at Central, Dodie capped off the student presentations by talking about the life of a student athlete: “The athletic program at Central is unique because not only do we athletes improve our skills and compete in yeshiva league sports, but we learn what it means to be a part of a team that values each player. We develop friendships with students in other grades, forge relationships with our caring, committed coaches, and have a great time. Practices are never a chore!” An athletics-themed performance from the dance team brought down the house!
After student-activities coordinator Ms. Leah Moskovich closed the student-life presentation, eighth-graders joined their parents, who were finishing up a session led by Mrs. CB Neugroschl about what to expect as a Central parent. The curriculum fair in the gym provided visitors with designated time to speak with teachers by department, allowing them to pursue information about curricular goals and content, and to ask follow-up questions to those teachers who delivered mini-lessons. Teachers, administrators, prospective parents, and students past and present schmoozed over a delicious buffet lunch, wrapping up the morning feeling accomplished and excited. Said Ms. Beverly Segal, “Our dedicated student ambassadors, our faculty nonpareil, and our supportive parent representatives spread the warm and kind welcome for which Central is known.” v