By Regie Mezistrano
The day of the SAT is probably one of the most stressful days for a high school student. This stress is exasperated by the fact that observant Jewish students across the country students must take the SAT on Sundays.
In Seattle that stress is amplified by the lack of Sunday test centers. A decade ago, Seattle had two local testing centers to choose from: University of Washington and Seattle Central College. Students wanting to take the Sunday SAT would have to submit a letter from a rabbi or cleric stating that they are unable to take the test on Saturday because of religious reasons.
With the close of University of Washington and Seattle Central Sunday test centers, students have been forced to travel as far as Bremerton to take the SAT. This was a serious burden for many families. It involved waking up early on Sunday and taking a ferry or driving around the Sound and over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Sophie Maimon, an alumna of NYHS, chose to travel to Bremerton after shabbat and stay the night in order to get a restful sleep and alleviate the stress of getting to the test center on time. While the distance and time is an issue, the financial cost of having to travel to Bremerton can be an even more serious burden. Gas, ferry tickets, and lodging (in the case of the Maimons) can put the cost of taking the SAT in Bremerton at over $300.
Erich Schweikher, Director of College Counseling, said that there was no real need to make NYHS a Sunday test center prior to the UW and Seattle Central sites closing: “At the time NYHS did not have a dedicated test coordinator and there were other nearby options.”
With NYHS now being a Sunday test center, students are able to have a more convenient and comfortable place to take the test. The certification of NYHS new testing center, is a great asset to the Jewish community. The testing center is not just limited to NYHS students. It is open to any students from the Seattle metro are whose faith discourages them from taking the test on Saturday. NYHS can seat up to 70 students.
Melissa, the Admissions Director at NYHS, said that by being a Sunday test center, NYHS will become more visible in the Seattle metro area, that “it is a unique opportunity for us to serve the religious needs of the community.”