104 days of summer vacation…


After 10 long months of early mornings, stress and endless homework, students get a two-month break. While students look forward to spending this time relaxing, laying in bed for weeks gets a bit boring. Students take advantage of these 11 stress-free weeks to travel, attend sleep away camp, do community service and gain workplace experience.
Junior Sabrina Shah and her family traveled to South Korea and spent their trip sightseeing. She visited Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and went to the demilitarized zone to see North Korea. “My favorite part of my trip was seeing all of the old palaces, experiencing a new culture and trying all their foods,” Shah said.
Junior Sami Haendler went to sleepaway camp at Pine Forest Camp, like she has every year for the past nine. Pine Forest Camp offers a wide range of activities, including sports, creative arts and aquatics. As a counselor-in-training this summer, Haendler and her age group went on a service trip to Costa Rica. They planned and implemented a summer camp for underprivileged Costa Rican children. “Although there were difficulties with the language barrier between the CITs and the Costa Rican children, it caused us to figure out new ways to connect with the kids and bond with them,” Haendler said.
While in Costa Rica, the CITs white-water rafted to a remote river lodge. They spent three days doing team building exercises, ziplining, waterfall rappelling and hiking. “The river lodge was incredible and full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. However, the best part about the Costa Rica trip was working with the children and being able to see the impact we were making on their lives,” Haendler said.
Junior Zane Cohen spent his summer exploring various fields of medicine and gaining workplace experience.
Cohen participated in a summer program at University of Maryland, College Park. College programs expose students to college life and these experiences can be beneficial to high school students still exploring schools, majors and career paths. Students enroll in college courses, and can earn college credits, while experiencing the social life, activities and opportunities of campus living. During the program at UMD, Cohen visited John Hopkins Medical School and George Washington Nursing School and learned to suture, take blood pressure, and give an IV. “At the UMD program, they taught me what I need to do school-wise to become a doctor as well as out of school,” Cohen said.
Cohen also had an internship at Shady Grove Hospital. Shady Grove seeks volunteers 15 years and older to visit patients, assist on the nursing units, assist with clerical duties, work in the gift shop and staff information desks. Cohen worked in the neurology and orthopedics section of the hospital and helped with patient care. “Because I’m interested in medicine, this was a great opportunity for me to experience what it is like to work inside a hospital, and I got a chance to see what type of medicine I might be interested in,” Cohen said.