Dynamic Duos 

SDJA celebrates the bond between teachers and students 

By Madeline Ramirez (‘21) and Sammi Weiss (‘23)

While every high school seems to have its share of the stereotypical jocks, nerds, popular kids, and loners, San Diego Jewish Academy is different: there is something here that goes deeper than just superficial names. We have dynamic duos which consist of students and faculty members. 

One dynamic duo was sculpted in the ceramics classroom. Senior Tali Eichner (‘20) and her art teacher, Ms. Elizabeth Nebo, have been close friends for nearly two years—ever since Eichner first stepped into the earthy-smelling, clay-filled classroom. 

Despite the difficulties of creating art pieces, Eichner feels she has Ms. Nebo to lean on, like an easel. “I went to pod to ask questions and made a continuous effort to get better at ceramics,” Tali says. Ms. Nebo was always there to answer her questions, help her with technique, and develop her skills. “That’s when it all started,” Ms. Nebo says. 

Tali Eichner and Ms. Nebo

Tali Eichner (‘20) and Ms. Elizabeth Nebo laugh together outside the Ceramics classroom.

From then on, their friendship evolved into lunch dates in Nebo’s classroom, talking about the most miscellaneous and heartfelt things, including family, college, classes, and food. Ms. Nebo, a new teacher at the time, was able to feel welcomed by having a student look up to her as a mentor. “We started bonding over projects in class, then it progressed to our families,” says Ms. Nebo. Every day Tali would walk into Ms. Nebo’s classroom just to talk, even if she only had a couple minutes. 

Another friendship blossomed three years ago when Rosie Alchalel (‘21) was in Mrs. Annie Watt’s 8th grade advisory. Alchalel, now an outgoing junior, caught Mrs. Watt’s attention. They began to develop a friendship that lasted through the ups and downs of their lives. 

“[Rosie] demanded more attention than other students,” Mrs. Watt explains. Watt goes on to explain that Alchalel was eager to come in during breaks in her day to check in with Mrs. Watt about everything; college applications, school life, advice, and personal drama. 

Rosie & Mrs. Watt

Mrs. Annie Watt and Rosie Achalel (‘21) pause from their busy schedules. 

Mrs. Watt provided Alchalel with an experienced outlook on life, as well as advice that her student friends couldn’t provide for her. 

Rosie says their friendship works so well because “she is really understanding and provides an older perspective. I’m the opposite.” Having this different point of view helped Rosie paint a different picture of life. 

From Yearbook picture deadlines to the stress of leadership roles, senior Gali Laska (‘20) sparked a friendship with Mrs. Yvonne Webber. The sparks ignited when Mrs. Webber was Laska’s 7th grade Judaica teacher. As the years progressed, so did their friendship. 

Mrs. Webber describes their friendship as ecstatic and stress-free. “[We] share the stresses of being in charge of people who aren’t doing their assignments,” she says. The excitement of creating SDJA’s unique yearbook, The Roar, makes them proud to share it with everyone. 

 

Gali & Mrs. Webber

Gali Laska (‘20) and Mrs. Yvonne Webber run the yearbook with smiling faces.

Laska and Mrs. Webber share a smile almost every class. Whether it’s about something personal, or the mistakes the yearbook staff make, they always share that smile. 

Gali explains that their friendship works so well because “She is always just there.” No matter what is going on or how busy they are, they always find time to just talk, listen, and reflect on their days. Good or bad news, their ears are always open to listen to whatever the other one needs to discuss. 

All of these dynamic duos work well because of their similarities, experiences, and passions. Whether it’s the love of art, the stress of leadership, or the everyday check-ins, they have all found the one person at SDJA with whom they can connect on a deeper level. And as the years pass, both students and teachers will always have their memories to reflect upon and celebrate.

 

Crunch Time

A Loud Reminder to Eat Breakfast

By Kayla Swartzberg (‘21)

Rumbles echo throughout the Ulam–they’re long and deep. Swiveling in unison, the students turn to lock eyes with each other, rubbing their stomachs with guilty smirks. No breakfast? No problem. Right? Wrong. At San Diego Jewish Academy, the Lions need to eat.

Every day presents new choices, new options and opportunities to grow and learn–blessings at our fingertips. Most SDJA students take such freedoms of learning for granted. 

“I get to choose subjects that I’m passionate about, and I’m not forced to take classes that disinterest me,” Geena Benson (‘21) says.

However, such opportunities can be diminished. By breakfast–or, more accurately, by students’ lack of it.

 

“For me, personally, breakfast is not the biggest meal,” Gabi Acks (‘22) states. Her classmate, Diego Kohan (‘22) agrees that breakfast isn’t his largest meal, “I may eat a piece of bread for breakfast on a school day.” 

Both Kohan and Acks believe that a good breakfast can give them energyor as Kohan remarks, “a daily boost.” Why, then, do they not take advantage of it?

Time. Students do not have time to eat breakfast in the morning. Coach Nicole Trotta, science and anatomy teacher at SDJA, offers a solution to this problem. “Wake up five minutes earlier!” she exclaims, adding how eggs, smoothies, and oats are easy to make and eat on-the-go.

But don’t be sly and cheat the system. Eating a breakfast of junk food, while quick and convenient, is not the answer. Athletic Director Stefanie Hill explains it is “typically high in sugar, will provide an initial burst of energy but then burn out quickly.” She finds that eating a breakfast of junk food will not keep one satisfied but will rather make them hungrier sooner than if they had eaten a healthy breakfast.

Healthy breakfast? 

“A healthy breakfast should always have a mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrates,” Coach Trotta explains, “Also, drinking water right when you wake up is very important. It rehydrates and wakes up your body, organs, and muscles.” 

As for the food itself, SDJA Executive Chef Giselle Wellman says, “I usually make two scrambled eggs and fruit with yogurt. I think it’s a great source of protein.” 

Above all, Coach Hill reminds students that  “it is important to eat balanced meals throughout the day.  Balanced meals at regular intervals create consistency for your body.” She continues by comparing food to fuel for a car. A car can’t run without fuel, just like a person can’t function without food. Simple logic.

And with that, some simple facts: skipping breakfast hinders progress in the gym. Teens who sit and eat breakfast with their families hold a more positive body image than those who don’t. With that great body image, teens who eat breakfast actually have better-smelling breath than the non-breakfast eaters. One also performs better academically with less risk of becoming obese and dying—all because of eating breakfast.

So tomorrow morning, fry yourself an egg. Crunch on some toast. Slurp down a cup of orange juice. A little crunch time will guarantee a better day.