By Alexandra Kaufman, Denver JDS Senior
At most schools, students are dreading going back to school after winter break. Some students wish they could extend their winter breaks, while other students simply dread to return to the grind of middle and high school. For the past two years, I have felt the opposite of that as a result of intensives at Denver Jewish Day School. I was excited and couldn’t wait to get started learning about a topic that I found interesting and don’t usually get to spend my class time on.
This year, I was in the intensive “Museum of Fire.” The goal of our intensive was to look into the importance of museums, how museum exhibits are created, and, ultimately, create a museum of our own focused on fire. There were three wings of our museum, art, history, and science.
Most people probably would have expected me to want to participate in the history or science-related intensives because of what I usually do at school, but I am actually very creative and really enjoy creating art. Intensives gave me a place where I could express myself in a way that is different than I get to during the rest of the school year. It allowed me to work on a part of myself that I don’t usually get to focus on.
I was very excited about what I was going to make from the moment our group first got together during the planning period. The first thing that I thought about when it comes to art and fire was blown glass. However, once I started looking into it, I realized that it was not a viable option for me to create. With the help of Mrs. Schweid, I found an alternative project that I was just as excited for. What we found is that I could achieve a similar effect to blown glass by melting isomalt (a sugar substitute) and pouring it over ice. The finished product was something that I am very proud of and it was exciting to see how amazed everyone was during the showcase.
Not only was I able to express myself in a different way, but I also learned a lot about museums. After the week, I came to understand the importance of museums - that they can teach you something in a way that nothing else in the world can. Every exhibit in a museum tells a story, and there is a ton of work that goes into putting an exhibit together so that each story can be told properly.
The entire week felt very reminiscent of color war for me which, for many, is the best week of the school year at Denver JDS. It felt like a race to the finish for all of us to finish our projects and put them together for the final product that was our museum exhibit. Also, just like color war, when we would drive to our field trips, my car was filled with students from all grades and the bonding we all experienced was almost identical to that of color war.
Intensives are a fun and creative way to ease students back into their school routine while introducing them to new topics that may interest them. It's another thing that gives Denver JDS students a unique experience and that truly sets Denver JDS apart from other schools.