Tis the graduation season, but unlike most 17-year-olds wrapping up their high school careers in recent days and weeks, Daniel Schwartz knows exactly what he wants to do with his life.
Rose Bern isn’t afraid to fight for her values. The 17-year-old, who recently graduated from Shalhevet High School and lives in Westwood, has strong convictions when it comes to feminism, justice and fairness.
Last week in these pages, we reported that The Boiling Point, the Shalhevet High School student newspaper, is one of nine finalists for the prestigious National Scholastic Press Association’s Pacemaker award, but that since the prize will be announced on Nov. 17, a Saturday, the student journalists’ ability to attend still needed rabbinic authorization.
On Sept. 21, the day the space shuttle Endeavour flew past local landmarks on its way to Los Angeles International Airport, every media outlet in the city had dispatched multiple reporters to look to the skies.
Shalhevet high school is close to finalizing a deal to sell more than half of its 2.4 acres to a property developer who plans to build an apartment complex on the lot at the corner of Fairfax Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard. The plan will put Shalhevet on firmer financial footing, head of school Ari Segal told the Boiling Point, Shalhevet’s school newspaper. The school currently carries heavy debt and has limited funds for capital improvements and programming, Segal said.
On the Web site for The Boiling Point, Shalhevet High School’s student newspaper, Jaclyn Kellner’s biography says she spends more time at school than most of the teachers do. That’s because Kellner, who will spend five months working with Eco-Israel, an agricultural program in Modi’in, next year before attending Brandeis University in fall 2012, is involved with more extracurricular activities than seems possible for any 18-year-old.
Before 18 year-old Sara Smith graduated last June, she made multiple trips to the stage to receive multiple honors at Shalhevet High School's awards brunch for graduating seniors. In addition to being named class valedictorian, she received the excellence in math award, two Bureau of Jewish Education awards and a plaque from Bank of America.
This June, talented and bright middle school and high school graduates, like Sara, will star in their own school awards ceremonies. They will walk up to the stage, amid hearty cheering by faculty and family, to receive awards for their achievements in such categories as academics, the arts, sports and menschlikhkayt.
At the same time, the majority of their classmates will sit and watch, walking away without any certificates, plaques, trophies or applause and likely feeling that their contributions have been inconsequential. Many might inevitably become less enthusiastic about attending graduation ceremonies and festivities.
That conflict is not lost on the award winners themselves.
Smith and Rabin were part of an 11-member group from Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles that had a student exchange with counterparts from Tel Aviv's Zeitlin High School.
Notes from a visit with a senior class: After seeing friends and peers smoking marijuana and using other drugs , students at Shalhevet High School didn't wait for their parents or teachers to educate them about the harmful effects of narcotics. Instead, they undertook the challenge themselves. "We were obligated.... Something had to be done," said Brian Orgen, president of this year's graduating class.