Ohef Sholom’s Katelynn McAraw wins national essay contest

by | Aug 11, 2017 | Mazel Tov

Katelynn McAraw, 16, a participant in the Better Together Program, recently won its essay contest, earning her $8,000 toward a semester program in Israel.

Better Together, a program that unites seniors and teens through monthly lunches and activities, is funded by a national Jewish philanthropic organization. One of the groups it has chosen to fund for two years is run out of Ohef Sholom Temple with eighth–12th grade Sunday Learning students. Ten of these students participated in monthly meet ups with residents from Beth Sholom Village this past school year, and learned a lot about each other along the way.

A requirement of every participating student is a one- to four-page personal essay about his or her experience getting to know the elders. Judges selected McAraw’s essay as the winner.

“I will be using the $8,000 Better Together Scholarship toward a high school semester in Israel,” says McAraw. “I am so excited to use this scholarship towards the program Heller High (formally known as NFTY-EIE), where I will learn to be fluent in conversational Hebrew, study Israeli people and culture, and travel all over Israel and Poland.

“I can’t wait to gain a better understanding of the history of the Jewish people and meet the amazing individuals who will be going on the trip with me. I not only see this semester as a once in a life time opportunity, but also a journey to learn more and better understand who I am and where I’ve come from,” says McAraw.

This September marks the beginning of the second year of Better Together. Any interested teen can contact Leslie Shroyer, program coordinator, about participating. She can be reached at lmshroyer@cox. net. After the second year, Better Together will seek additional funding to continue the program locally into year three and beyond.