Thursday, February 26, 2009

Alumni Game 2009

There are few days in our school calendar as special as the annual alumni game. Hundreds of men, women, and children spanning four generations, sixty years of school history, and all walks of life, come together for a laid back evening of food, fun, and basketball. Every child who wants to play gets a chance to shine and every parent who wants to play gets a chance to try. The number of volunteers is astounding, the willingness to help is inspiring, and the collegial spirit is uplifting.

Thanks to the efforts of Tracy Rapp and her dedicated committee, this year's game was even more special than most. Held for the first time in Briarcrest, it featured even more children's games, more food selection, and a crowd that might well have been the biggest ever. There was even exciting basketball (from the 1st-3rd graders, at least!).

Thank you to all who helped make it happen.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Academy Students Win National Awards

Two of our high school students received prestigious national awards last week. Andrew Tavin, a senior in our Cooper Yeshiva High School for Boys, was selected from among 16,000 semifinalists to advance to finalist standing in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Winners of the National Merit Scholarship are selected based on their academic record, information about the school's curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, his or her school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and the student’s own essay. By attaining Finalist standing, Andrew, has already put himself in the running for several lucrative college scholarships both from the National Merit Program itself as well as from its college and corporate partners.

Raquel Kampf, a senior in our Goldie Margolin School for Girls, was notified last week of her standing as a Finalist in the Coca-Cola Scholars Program. While the National Merit Scholarship puts its primary focus on a student’s academic accomplishment, the Coca-Cola Scholarship gives equal weight to a student’s leadership and community service accomplishments – an area where Raquel’s accomplishments are extraordinary. From her roles as President of Student Council, Editor-in-Chief of the Yearbook, and lead actress in the school play, to her weekly volunteer efforts at the Memphis Jewish Home, her work with the homeless at the Cook Convention Center, and her efforts on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Raquel has distinguished herself in her school community and well beyond, as an emerging leader with a passion for making the world around her a better place.

Chosen out of 75,000 applicants and 2,100 Semifinalists, Raquel has already qualified for an award of $10,000 toward her college tuition. On the weekend of April 3rd, Raquel will join the other 251 Finalists for Coca-Cola’s Scholars Weekend in Atlanta. There she will be honored at a special banquet and will participate in a host of special programming designed only for this select group of highly accomplished high school students. Raquel will also undergo several interviews over the weekend which will help to determine whether she qualifies as one of fifty-two Finalists who will be chosen as National Scholars and will receive $20,000, instead of $10,000, toward their college tuition.

Andrew topped off the week with yet another award. He was part of the school’s ten student delegation which took part in a three-day simulated Model United Nations convened by Yeshiva University in Stamford, Connecticut. Over 450 students attended from 43 different Jewish High Schools from across the country. Each school was assigned a different country and each student was asked to represent his or her country on a particular UN committee. Andrew returned to Memphis with a First Place Award for Committee Leadership, for his skillful stewardship of the 1540 - Terrorism Prevention Committee.

Both Andrew and Raquel expect to hear from their respective scholarship programs regarding their final status in late April or May. We wish them the best of luck!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"I Forgot the Book in School"

That may be true, but for students in grades 1-6 - at least for Math - that is no longer a valid excuse. We have purchased a license for the online component of our Everyday Math curriculum which means that by clicking on your child can access his or her reference book which has everything he or she needs to review, to help with homework, or to study for a test. Our 8th graders taking Algebra 1 have a similar system which can be accessed at

To use these online resources, your child will need the password they were given. In the event that they don't remember it, feel free to contact his or her teacher who will gladly let you know what it is.

These links will also be added to the sidebar of the blog so that they will be easily accessible even after this post gets buried in the archives.

Monday, February 9, 2009

January Winners

The winners of January's Dean's Writing Awards are in. While, due to tough competition on the General Studies side this month he did not win, special mention should be made of the fact that we received another submission from Kindergarten this month. This time is was the work of Netzach Kolton. Edging out Netzach in the General Studies category this month was another first. Unlike previous submissions which have all been essays or creative writing assignments to which students are free to devote as much time as they'd like, this month's winning submission was a timed response to an essay question on an AP English test by Andrew Tavin. It is a pretty remarkable creation for something written under pressure.

The winner in our Judaic Studies category is only two sentences long - but it's quality, not quantity we're after. It is a question and answer on Chumash written in neat, grammatical Hebrew by 2nd grader Seth Wanderman. It is short but definitely sweet.

Well done, Seth! Well done, Andrew! Keep up the good work.

Friday, February 6, 2009

We Regret to Announce...

...the passing of numerous boring words in the 5th and 6th grade. They were laid to rest in an elaborate ceremony today presided over by Mrs. Becky Walker and Mrs. Cindy Massey. Eulogies were delivered and tears were shed by all. Words such as "big," "pretty," "nice," and many others have been survived by far more interesting relatives such as "enormous," "glowing," and "beneficent."

Click below to hear some of the words which were said in to tribute the words that are dead.

From Dead Word Funeral

From Dead Word Funeral

From Dead Word Funeral

From Dead Word Funeral

From Dead Word Funeral

Ski Slopes and Ballot Boxes

There has been a flurry of activity in the Girls High School over the past week. Last week featured their annual Gatlinburg retreat which, thanks to their dedicated faculty, their creative and energetic Bat Ami girls, and - most of all - the students themselves, was a tremendous success. The ruach was fantastic, the camaraderie was uplifting, and the messages which we shared with one another were inspiring. Of course, the hike and the skiing weren't too bad either.

With no rest for the weary, soon after their return the girls in our Zionism II class under the leadership Mrs. Bluma Zuckerbrodt Finkeltstein, took to the stage to educate our 7th through 12th grades about the upcoming Israeli Elections. With campaign banners hung throughout the gym, stimulating speeches from the leading candidates of the four major parties, and ballot boxes in which to cast their vote, it was a fantastic - and important - example of experiential learning for all of our upper grades.

Well done, girls!