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                                      cont. Bittersweet Beginnings

"Come, Vicki," Rochel said kindly, "the auditorium is
this way."

Rochel and Vicki joined the girls pouring out of their
classrooms on the way to the spacious auditorium.

The minute they entered the room, Rochel spotted
Estee waving her over. As Rochel approached, Estee
rolled her eyes and whispered, "Don't worry, you're not
stuck with her for long. I saved you a seat."

"Oh, thanks, Estee," Rochel answered, "but I'm going
to find a place where there is a seat for Vicki also."

Estee paused for an instant. "Rochel, I'll save a seat
for you at lunch, all right?" she suggested uneasily. "We'll
sit together at lunch, won't we? I have a lot to tell you."

"Sure," Rochel answered warmly. "I'll see you later."
She rejoined Vicki, who had gone ahead and found two

"Are these okay?" Vicki asked.

"They're fine," Rochel replied, and they sat down

Vicki surveyed the auditorium. "These posters and
banners are gorgeous," she exclaimed. "They really liven
up the room. What media are they made with, paint or

"We used acrylic paint as well as paint markers on
most of them," Rochel explained. "They are reminders of
past school events, carnivals and Shabbatons." She pointed
to a large, colorful banner on the far wall. "I remember
how a group of us stayed up all night during color war to
design that one. We had a great time."

A sudden hush swept across the auditorium as the
principal approached the podium. The students rose
respectfully and waited until Mrs. Liebowitz took her
place and motioned for them to be seated.

As always, she began with a dvar Torah, then went on
to welcome the students to this first assembly, a Bas
Yisrael High tradition. Her closing words were, "The new
year gives everyone a fresh start. The beginning of school
should be an opportunity to make new friendships and
strengthen existing ones. We must all do our part to try
to make this year successful in every way."

The school president then rose and spoke with conta-
gious enthusiasm. "Our annual melaveh malkah, welcom-
ing in the new grade nine girls, will take place two weeks
from this coming Mo tzei Shabbos," she announced. "Grade
twelve is in charge of refreshments. Grade eleven, pro-
grams and invitations, and grade ten, decorations. This
year, grade nine's help is optional. Grades ten through
twelve are also responsible for a class presentation. Now
go organize yourselves in the back of the auditorium,
where we hope you will all enjoy the refreshments."

After the grade ten girls had finished snacking on the
delicious danishes and fruit juices, Shany suggested,
"Let's draw lots to choose the home where the first
meeting will be held next week."

The girls all agreed, and they clustered together as
she promptly began collecting their names in her shoe.
With a great flourish, she picked the winning name. "And
the winner is Vicki Silver, our exclusive import from
New York City."

Eighteen pairs of eyes focused on Vicki. She flushed


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