by Yarden FranklOctober 15th, 2016
For those who don’t know, I’ve just begun my third year of high school at Ulpnat Eyal BaRama, located in Moshav Nov in the Golan Heights. As you can imagine, I get asked quite a lot why I chose to go to a school that’s roughly 4-5 hours away from my home, in Neve Daniel, Gush Etzion. Usually, I answer by simply saying that its special and I absolutely love it. Now all that is true, but the real answer is just too long to say to someone during a casual conversation.
So here it is:
The year before you go to high school should be filled with excitement and spending time with your friends before you go your separate ways. You should be focusing on getting a good report card and getting into a good school. As many of you know, by reading my dads blog and following our family’s story, my year was a little different. I wasn’t focusing on school at all. I was focusing on my mother and how my family was gonna live without her.
My mother passed away on November 14th, 2013. I was 13 years old and had just begun 8th grade, otherwise known as my year before high school. While all my friends were looking at different schools, excited for the future and so full of hope – my world fell apart. After 2 and a half long years of fighting, my beautiful, strong, amazing mother had lost her battle with cancer. I was a complete mess. I wouldn’t eat and I would stay in bed for days at a times. I’m not gonna get into everything I was going through at the time, but I was very much depressed. It took months before I finally went back to school and even then, I would only go for an hour or two. I didn’t have any grades and didn’t think that any school would accept me. I applied to the one school I thought I had a chance to get into (where my sister went at the time) and didn’t get accepted.
LIFE LESSON #1: POSITIVE THINKING MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
While everyone around me was trying to get me into that one specific school, I started doing some research. I don’t know how or why, but I took me not getting into any school and perhaps not having anywhere to go next year, as an opportunity. A sign that maybe I wasn’t meant to go to that school. Maybe there was something else out there for me. I always liked the idea of living at a dorm, so I started searching. I also wanted a school that offered a dance program, since dance was (and still is) one of the things that can always make me happy.
LIFE LESSON #2: WHEN IN A DARK PLACE, NEVER EVER GIVE UP ON THE LITTLE THINGS THAT STILL MAKE YOU HAPPY.
After a few solid days of online searching, I found the website of a little dorm in the Golan. The more I read, the more I wanted to go there. It was far, but I hadn’t been excited about anything in a while and this was definitely getting me excited. I began emailing the secretary at the school, and asked if I could come check it out. I gathered and sent all the documents she had asked for and she gave me a date to come in for an interview.
LIFE LESSON #3: TAKE A CHANCE.
After some convincing, my father agreed to go “check it out” with me. As you can imagine, he wasn’t too keen on the idea of his youngest daughter going so far away. He was against the idea, to say the least, yet he still took a chance with me. So on April 1st 2014, we took a rode trip up to the Golan (along with a close family friend whom I had asked to join). I can safely say that the first time I stepped foot in that school, I fell in love with it. When asked what makes Nov so special, I say the people. They make you feel so welcomed from the minute you enter, they start conversations with you seconds after they’ve met you and its always with a huge smile. The more I looked around, the more I started seeing myself fitting in there. My father realized I had already made up my mind and that if they would accept me – I was going. I had not been so sure or excited about something in so long, and my dad could see it. The next day we got a call. I had been accepted. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself, I was so happy. At that moment – I knew my mother was watching. I don’t know how, but she had made this happen and I wasn’t gonna let her down.
It wasn’t easy but I got myself together, and knew I was given a second chance. I was given the chance to start over and I was not going to waste it. I took a chance looking into Nov. It was a risk, but I have no regrets. Its been a hard 2 years at Nov, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This school has done so much for me its unbelievable. I’ve learned so much about myself and about life. This school helped me get back on my feet after a tragedy, it gave me all the help, love and support I needed. I am forever grateful for this amazing place and the even more amazing people in it. It has changed my life and in many ways – saved it.
And that is why I go to Nov.
Neve Daniel/Golan Heights.