As any parent knows, blink and they will grow…and just like that, they are gone.
Another set of graduates flew the coop on June 7 at a very meaningful Hebrew Academy of Tidewater Konikoff Center of Learning commencement ceremony for the Class of 2012. The multi-purpose room on the Sandler Family campus was filled with faculty, administration, trustees, family, friends, students, and alumni who enthusiastically cheered on each graduate as they received their awards and long awaited diplomas.
Zena Herod, head of school, sent the graduating class off with parting words of wisdom that were beautiful and bittersweet on many levels—she, too, is “graduating” (retiring) from HAT as of June 30, making this her last commencement exercise to be shared in her role as headmaster:
“As Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University once said, ‘In day school I learned that I lived in two worlds—American and Jewish—and needed to reconcile them. I also learned to value time. Others my age killed time. I learned never to waste it.’ So, no matter where you go next year, we are sure that you will continue to make us proud and that you will carry on the moral, ethical, and academic standards learned as part of your years at the Hebrew Academy. After all, you did everything your peers did, but in two languages and with a lot less time in which to do it!”
To quote another favorite source for children of all ages—and one which she shared at her first graduation speech at HAT—Herod concluded with a passage from Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go, which talks about life’s ups and downs, taking the right path, and sometimes not, and the right balancing act.: “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So…get on your way!”
HAT Class of 2012
I. James London Memorial Athlete of the Year
“Being a student at HAT has been very special to me especially learning Hebrew. I can now speak to my Israeli relatives in Hebrew. Someday, I would like to join the Israeli army. Through the advanced education, I feel very prepared for middle school.”
Hyman I. Stromberg Award for Overall Excellence Shirley Helfant and Ruth Josephberg Award for Visual Arts Nine-Year Award
“I have been here since I was two, so being a HAT student means a lot to me. Over the years, I have made life-long friends and created many memories. I have learned many things in both Judaic and General Studies. I am now a more responsible and a better person.”
100%-er Award (For the student who gives their 100% best)
“I was born in Israel and when I came here I had to learn English. At HAT I learned my alphabet in both English and Hebrew. Each year I learned more and more and have now become a good student because of my HAT education.”
Rabbi Charles J. Mantel Award for Excellence in Judaic Studies
“Being a student at Hebrew Academy has given me the chance to learn about my heritage in an environment of all Jewish students. I have learned about my identity and who I am. I have made amazing friends whom I will always remember. I am so happy about the education I have received and feel prepared for middle school.”
Rabbi Philip Pincus Memorial Award for Improvement in Hebrew Language
“HAT has been very important to me. I have loved going to school here because I am able to learn General Studies, Judaic Studies, and Hebrew in one school.”
Most Improved Communications Award
“Being a student at HAT has proved to be a great choice for me. HAT is awesome! I learned many things in an enjoyable way. The teachers care about our learning and make sure that everyone understands. I was three when I started here and it has been a learning wonderland for me.”
Israel Awareness Award Nine-Year Award
“Being a student at HAT has allowed me to excel in general studies and thrive in my Judaic studies. Learning to read and write Hebrew has helped me to connect to my Jewish roots.”
Hebrew Academy alumni enjoy continued successes
Hebrew Academy of Tidewater recognizes former middle, upper school and college students who have received awards or were selected to participate in specialized programs.
Cape Henry Collegiate School
Karl Tewes Award (for the student who is outstanding in multiple areas, including academics, athletics, fine arts, student support and citizenship)
Jordan Award (for the student who has shown the greatest deepening of character)
Excellence in sixth grade English and the Middle School Diligence Award
Mattie Lefcoe Honorable Mention in sixtth grade English
Excellence in sixth grade band; member of the sixth grade Forensics Team
Excellence in seventh grade English and Excellence in seventh grade Pre Algebra 1
Geography Bee Champion
Ninth grade English Award
Bronze Award for the National Latin Exam (eighth grade)
National French Speaking Competition Award (10th grade)
Norfolk Collegiate School
Hannah Sacks, 11th grade, won awards for highest grades in Algebra 3 Trig and Anatomy and an award for working on the nationally recognized yearbook.
Julia Laibstain, rising senior, was selected to attend eight weeks in Israel through the Alexander Muss High School in Israel program. AMHSI is designed to help students gain a broader view of the world and develop a deep appreciation of history, international relations, geography and literature. Students develop valuable new learning skills and perspectives that will help throughout high school and collegelevel academic demands. She was also elected Virginia Council president for BBG.
Kempsville Middle School
Sixth grade Excellency in Computer Class.
James Madison University
Staci Eichelbaum, rising senior at JMU, was recently selected to participate in a nine-week internship with the mid-Atlantic region of AIPAC in Baltimore.
Dr. Katie Becker, DPT, recently received her doctorate of physical therapy from Hunter College in New York.
by Dee Dee Becker