In addition to the formal classroom learning that takes place at Akiba-Schechter, students also elect to participate in various extra-curricular activities. Most of these take place during lunch or after-school, on the students’ own time.
Led by Mrs. Basa and Ms. Rodin, the all-school musical is the culmination of hard work and group effort. It is usually the reproduction of a musical and it focuses on the collaboration of Kindergarten, Lower School and Middle School. Students have the chance to participate in dance, music, drama and painting—as well as to work with students in many different age groups.
Chidon Hatanach, the National Bible Contest, is sponsored by the World Zionist Organization and is open to students in 7th and 8th grade. In this program, students learn a pre-determined selection from Tanach, Torah and its accompanying texts. This material varies every year and always includes at least one book from the Bible, one from the Prophets, one from the Writings, and various commentaries. Students are tested on the material together with other participating schools in Chicago and finalists go on to New York to compete there. New York Finalists proceed to Israel for the International Competition.
Led by Music Director Rhea Basa, the students in Choir showcase their skills at school assemblies and celebrations. Choir is open to all middle schoolers.
Middle Schoolers on write and edit the student newspaper, The Akiba Globe, under the leadership of Joe Esse. Issues feature editorials, interviews, crossword puzzles, and, of course, school news. Students also learn basic journalism skills.
Middle School children meet at lunch with Math teacher Rhea Basa to work out unusual and interesting mathematical problems. They also take the Olympiad Math Exam to see how they compete with children in other schools.
Akiba-Schechter has both a Cadet Orchestra, for beginners, and a Varsity Orchestra, for more experienced players. Both are taught by Music Director Rhea Basa and are composed specifically of string instruments. The Orchestra performs at various school events and celebrations.
Several times a year, the school will coordinate a Shabbaton, a 24-hour program that lasts from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday and is oftentimes led by Akiba teachers. Seventh and eighth graders take part in various Shabbat activities, from singing zmirot (shabbat songs) to performing skits on the weekly Torah portion, to completing a scavenger hunt. These events are meant to build commnity and often take place duing a student’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Under the direction of Art teacher Dara Henning, Middle School students meet at lunch to brainstorm, plan, and create an annual yearbook. This includes photos of every student and recaps the year’s many events and special moments in photos.