By Lily Jacobson
Once a week from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., high school students lead a plethora of after school activities on Zoom for Leffell Lower School students. The program was created by Head of School Dr. Michael Kay alongside junior Talia Raich because of the elimination of usual after school programming due to COVID-19.
The main goal of the program was to create an opportunity for High School and Lower School students to connect and form relationships with each other. The activities offered include exercise club, book club, sports talk club and baking club.
Diana Katz is the mother of two children at the Lower School. Her second-grader participates in the book club, and her fourth-grader is in the baking club.
“It is a really nice idea to have high schoolers mentor little children; to have the interaction across grades that normally never intersect within the elementary school,” Katz said.
The program also offers high schoolers a chance to fulfill their chesed hours required for each semester and lower schoolers an activity to do after school. Freshmen Mira Schulman and Tamar Lefkowitz run an exercise activity which focuses on stretching and movement.
“I think it is important for kids to move around and get out of their seats,” Schulman said.
Freshmen Robin Bosworth and Lily Lebwohl lead a book club in which they are reading “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. They chose this book because they wanted to introduce the students to a classic filled with fantastical literacy prose that they enjoyed reading themselves as younger students.
“‘[A Wrinkle in Time]’ has really captured his curiosity,” Katz said. “It is really opening up his mind to what a book can truly be.”
Second-grader Micah Blachman also participates in the book club.
“[I joined because] I really like reading and I thought that this one would be nice to do,” Blachman said.
As an icebreaker, Bosworth and Lebwohl had the students complete a set of Mad Libs. They came up with outlandish adjectives, nouns, verbs and adverbs.
“It was such a creative, subtle and sly way to have the kids learn the correct properties of speech,” Katz said.
Junior Zach Burton leads the sports talk activity in which participants share opinions on the latest news in the sports world.
“[I started this activity because] it seemed like a fun opportunity and it seemed like something I would have liked to be a part of when I was in the Lower School,” Burton said.
The cooking club is led by freshmen Georgia Loigman and Lyla Souccar. In this club, the pair teach students baking recipes using only a handful of ingredients with a very short bake time. For instance, they taught members a cookie recipe with only six ingredients that took seven minutes to bake.
“It is special that she simplifies the recipes and the kids still learn all of the culinary math and science along the way,” Katz said.
Even though the pandemic has limited social interaction, these activities offer something positive that the students can look forward to each week.
“The silver lining [of the pandemic] has been that this club probably would not have existed if Covid never happened,” Burton said. “I love being a part of this and giving back in a way that is meaningful to me.”