8th Grade Girls Graduation Trip

Last Motzai Shabbos the 8th grade girls, boarded a red-eye flight to New Jersey.

“A special welcome to the 8th grade girls who are here on their graduation trip,” the flight attendant announced over the loudspeaker at the start of the flight. “We hope you enjoy your trip!”

And enjoy the trip the girls did! 

“We were just excited because it was our graduation trip,” said an 8th grade girl, who like all the 8th graders we interviewed for this article, spoke to us on the condition that we left her name out of it.

Day 1 had the girls traveling to Lakewood for some shopping, before a surprise visit to an escape room.

“One group did an escape room that was Wizard-themed, and the other did one that was alien-themed. We had to get the alien back onto his spaceship,” said an 8th-grade girl.

“All of us escaped! We all worked together, and it was really fun.”

 “We totally slayed the Escape Room,” said another girl, who also noted the curious fact that “no one broke a boni at the Escape Room.”

Afterward, the girls checked in at the roach-free house they were staying in. The house was big and comfortable, with many bedrooms,  and best of all, it had a heated swimming pool with a retractable dome cover and a diving board, which made it perfect for night swimming- which happened to be the night activity.

“It was so fun!” said the girls.

There was also a visiting hour for girls who had relatives in Lakewood, so they got to see cousins and friends.

Even the weather, which was a little wet, just added to the enjoyment.

“One girl’s cousin said to us ‘I feel so bad you came at such a bad time since the weather is all rainy’- and we were like ‘No, we love it!”, said the girls. “New Jersey wasn’t hot like Arizona!”

After collapsing in bed, the girls woke up bright and early the next day for a volunteer activity at Bikur Cholim of Lakewood. This is an amazing organization that does a whole range of things to help support people who are sick, including providing kosher meals for people in hospital and helping families with accommodations if their relatives are in hospital.

At the Bikur Cholim, the girls picked up peelers and started peeling potatoes. Lots and lots and lots of potatoes, for some of the hundreds of meals a day that the organization delivers to patients. Then they got a tour of the accommodations and the warehouse, which was full of wheelchairs, hospital beds, crutches, and anything that a person who is sick might need.

“It was amazing how they are doing everything for free- the whole thing is volunteer-based,” said one of the girls. “The tour they gave us was really interesting. They have a hotel right across from the hospital and they help families going through a hard time. In the back they have everything- tons of wheelchairs and other things. It really inspired me.”

Then it was time for American Dream! American Dream is a mall and entertainment center. Not only does it contain an amusement park, ski slope, and ice skating rink,  but it is also uniquely set up for frum people. There are lots of kosher food venues, and they have store selling tznius clothing.

The girls went on the rides at the Nickelodeon Amusement Park, ate at the kosher Cinnabon and Dunkin Donuts, and went shopping at The Address, which is a frum department store.

“The best part was Nickelodeon and being with everyone,” said one of the girls. “Also, the car rides were really fun.”

“All the car rides were epic!” said another girl. “Cars were the best! We made up a car dance. We were singing random songs at the top of our lungs! It was so fun!”

The final day the girls went to the beach and waded in the water before heading back the airport.

“The trip made us feel very connected,” said a girl.

“I like how we all hung out with each other and we got to spend quality time with each other,” said one of the girls. “It made us feel very connected.”

TDSP would like to thank Morah Nechama Ungar and Morah Ilanit Shor for organizing and chaperoning the trip, and Morah Rivka Cohen and Ms. Mayah Zilcha for chaperoning as well. Thank you to Bikur Cholim of Lakewood for the tour. And here are two words (technically three) that we could not find room for in the article- yarmulkas, teddy bears.