Disguised as an elderly woman in czarist Russia, Sheridan Pierce took the stage at Brentwood School. As the bright lights touched her face and the character took over her body, Pierce poured her heart into her role, and she realized that she was meant to act. The play was "Fiddler on the Roof," and Pierce, a ninth-grader at the time, was playing Yente the matchmaker. The significance of the role, she said, was her connection with the character on a more personal level. "Deep in my soul, I'm already a little old Jewish lady," she joked.
Quinn Lohmann closes his eyes and tilts his head slightly. His fingers find their place between the frets of his guitar, and his voice rings out, soft and crystal clear. "We all got a life to live. We all got a gift to give. ..."
When his late grandmother was first diagnosed with terminal cancer three years ago, Jason Aftalion was moved by the volunteers who visited her at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "I was so touched by how they talked to her and spent time with her, so she wouldn't be lonely," said Aftalion, a Persian-American senior at Milken Community High School.
In her junior year, Oakwood senior Katherine Bernstein spent two weeks in Sierra Leone with the North Hollywood school's immersion program. Amid carrying buckets of cement for a new school and helping to paint a map of the world in its library, she was struck by a major difference between life in Southern California and the West African nation.
Corinne Kentor may be coming of age in the iPad and Kindle era, but she feels most at home surrounded by books. The more classic the volumes, the better. It's "Candide" and "Don Quixote" that thrill this New Community Jewish High School (NCJHS) senior, who lights up when she discusses the works of Shakespeare or the Brontë sisters.
Milken Community High School senior Leah Gluck is dedicated to raising awareness about genocide, even though it seems so distant and unsolvable.
Shalhevet journalism teacher Joelle Keene says that Leila Miller, editor-in-chief of the school's newspaper, The Boiling Point, has set a high standard for journalism, integrity and optimism amid complex human relations.
Eeman Khorramian could see himself entering the political world. The Palisades Charter High School senior has been highly active in school affairs and with the school's student government since ninth grade. His leadership skills even earned him the position of student body president.
Having recently attended the college graduation of our middle child, I could not stop thinking what I might have said if given the opportunity to offer the commencement address. Here are five thoughts:
Attention young Orthodox high school graduates: Planning to attend college this year on the East Coast? Why not do something really radical: Stay in Los Angeles?
For the past three years, in meetings that often go toward midnight, a handful of local parents, educators and community leaders have been coming together to plan Los Angeles' next non-Orthodox Jewish high school.
Now it has come to pass. Late last month, the Core Group, as the parents call themselves, announced the September 2002 opening of the New Community Jewish High School in the West Valley.
A delicious breeze wafted through the white tent erected on the brand-new, football field-sized parking lot of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) on May 14, cooling gowned graduates, faculty, and alumni -- plus a bevy of proud relatives and friends -- as the school awarded degrees to a group of freshly minted Jewish educators and communal service professionals and a clutch of rabbis-to-be.