By Revital Chavel (’15), speaking at the open house

I am currently a senior at Ida Crown and I originally did not want to go here.

In eighth grade, I was dancing on a competitive team and was really afraid that with a dual curriculum like Ida Crown’s I wouldn’t have time for activities like dance.

Yet throughout high school I’ve managed not only to balance all honors/AP courses and several extra curricular activities—dance, Bnei Akiva, Write On For Israel, Or Torah youth groups, Tailgators, cross country, Charlotte’s Web, H.O.P.E committee—I’ve come to love the dual curriculum. It completed my high school experience in three ways.

First: The factor by which high schools are most often judged is their ability to prepare students for college. Ida Crown’s dual curriculum started preparing me right away. It fostered for me a passion for breadth and depth: Before I even started standardized tests or application essays, I knew that I wanted a strong core curriculum in college and a combination of skills in my career.

Second: I was finding already in my freshman year that, contrary to what many people say, Judaic and secular studies actually complement each other perfectly—like the rhetorical analysis that we first learned in English literature and were applying also to biblical texts. In applying this to multiple topics, this type of integration became my personality: I use this critical way of thinking to categorize my dilemmas, understand my friends’ behavior, give my sister advice, argue with my parents… So if high school is supposed to be the four years you grow into yourself and figure out who “yourself” exactly is, I can confidently say that Ida Crown, specifically its dual curriculum, has successfully guided me in doing that.

Third: One might argue that a student can save a lot of time by learning secular studies in high school and Judaic studies at Seminary. But the significance of learning the two simultaneously is to notice the connection between the two; I believe that as a modern Orthodox Jew, it is my responsibility not to just learn Jewish stories and principles and morals but to apply them to my life in the modern world (and vice versa). Hence, “teaching Bnei and Bnot Torah to thrive in the modern world.”

For those of you who are not yet familiar with the school’s motto, I hope you will become familiar with it in the next four years