Atara Bayever, 18
High School: Valley Torah High School
Going to: UCLA
Atara Bayever is almost ready to take on the world.
“I think I may be half-prepared [for this next phase],” Bayever said in a phone interview. “Since I have a lot of responsibilities in school and with extra curriculars, I’ve been doing a lot of that growing up over this past year.”
Before the soon-to-be Valley Torah High School graduate begins her college experience at UCLA, where she plans to take pre-med courses, Bayever will spend a year studying at Darchei Binah seminary in Jerusalem.
“I’m really excited to be on my own for the first time and explore what that means,” she said. “I’m really excited to just branch out, have new experiences and get in touch with who I am in a different setting than I am used to, and see where that takes me.”
Bayever said it was important for her to take a gap year for her personal development and spiritual growth “before I go out to the secular world and find my place there.”
At Valley Torah, Bayever undertook a dual curriculum of honors classes in both Judaic and secular studies. During high school she found her love for medicine.
“I starting thinking about how I could use my interests to help people,” she said. “Also, [science is] something that challenges me, and there’s so much knowledge there that I wanted to explore, so I thought that would be a good opportunity for that.”
Bayever said she plans to make a difference, one person at a time.
“I’m really excited to just branch out, have new experiences and get in touch with who I am in a different setting than I am used to, and see where that takes me.”
“The best impact you can make is when you really connect with people,” she said. “Either as a practicing doctor or if I go into research, whichever one I decide, I want to be able to connect with people and how I can help each person specifically.”
Bayever has been honing those skills as part of her volunteer work at Kaiser Permanente Hospital. “I really got to see how a hospital works,” she said, “and it was an amazing experience. I really want to be a part of that.”
This summer, Bayever will be working as a camp counselor — as she has over the past two summers — at Camp Gan Israel and Camp Shamayim, both of which are in the San Fernando Valley.
When not studying or volunteering, Bayever plays guitar and enjoys photography. She also hopes to continue her love of painting while in the seminary and plans to take art classes in college.
Bayever said Valley Torah instilled in her a love for Judaism.
“I think that’s really important to take with me,” she said, “because I’m going to a pretty secular college and it’s really going to be up to me, after seminary, how involved I want to be in Judaism. I think Valley Torah gave me that desire to stay connected.”