Starting the Year With Fortune Cookies

A short, arbitrary survey of the activities that high schools offer their students gives the impression of a hybrid between a school and a country club.

A short, arbitrary survey of the activities that high schools offer their students gives the impression of a hybrid between a school and a country club.

The New High School in Tel Aviv has three activity periods a week, and offers yoga and salsa dance lessons.

The Ben-Gurion high school in Nes Tziona celebrated Purim last year at a dance club in the city, and for Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) set up a "candy bar" in the schoolyard. Freshman students are greeted with refreshments and this year will receive fortune cookies.

It seems that solutions to problems have also become more creative.

The Herzliya School in Tel Aviv set up a "Hanita" club for junior-high classes, to solve the problem of students wandering around aimlessly when teachers are absent.

The club has computer stations, a video and television room, a table tennis room, a music corner, arts and crafts workshop and more.

The student council at Danziger comprehensive high school in Kiryat Shmona advocated a "Graffiti Day" in order to combat the graffiti sprayed on the school's walls.

This year the project will be institutionalized and will attempt to serve as a legal and organized alternative to the plague of scribblings and sprayings.

Alongside these varied activities, schools that can afford fancy equipment offer these activities in state-of-the-art facilities. Hadera High School, which is run by a parents' association, built a professional theater two years ago for its theater students. Every second Friday the theater screens films for the students and their parents, charging NIS 20 admission.

The Herzliya School in Tel Aviv has a fully-equipped fitness center, including adjacent shower rooms.

"We are not the only school with a fitness room," says school principal Aryeh Barnea, sounding almost apologetic.

The room is in use mainly during school hours, under the supervision of a fitness trainer. The school allows the use of the facility after school hours for a nominal fee.