Friday, June 8, 2012

High School Graduation

Our high school graduates put on quite a show at graduation last Tuesday night.  Led by valedictorian Jeremy Cooper and salutatorians Alexa Wender and Sade Cooper, each and every student spoke (or sang) about the ways in which they have grown over years at the Cooper Yeshiva High School for Boys or the Goldie Margolin School for Girls.

We are incredibly proud of the fact that ten of our eleven graduates are heading to Israel next year to programs which include Shaalvim for Women, Tiferet, Bar-Ilan, Migdal Oz, and Emunah Ve-Omanut for the girls and Yeshivat Har Etzion, Orayyta, and Yesodei HaTorah for the boys.  This year's graduates also received acceptances to the following outstanding universities: MIT, Columbia, Barnard, Stern College for Women, Yeshiva College for Men, and NYU's Polytechnic Institute.

Two of many highlights from graduation night were the comedic speech of Avi Kirshtein, a dorm student from Charleston, SC, and the musical tribute by dorm student Ilan Eckhardt from Milwaukee, WI.  You can get a sense for each of them in the clips below.  For all of the pictures from the evening click here.

Graduate Heads to Africa

12th grade graduate, Ariana Kaufman, will be heading off to Africa this summer to cap off what has been a truly remarkable set of social action initiatives which she has led, or has participated in, throughout her four years at the Goldie Margolin School for Girls.  Here is a letter she wrote to her friends and family asking for support for her latest initiative:

Dear friends and family, 
 I would like to share with you the exciting news that in June I will be traveling to Ghana along with a group of other students to volunteer with Challenging Heights,  a community-based non-profit organization. Challenging Heights was started by James Kofi Annan, a former child slave. The organization is a school and home for children escaping the brutal life of slavery. 

I am looking forward to supporting Challenging Heights in whatever way I can, while learning about human rights and exploring the intersection of Judaism and social justice. My volunteer work is being organized by American Jewish World Service (AJWS). AJWS is an international development organization motivated by Judaism’s imperative to pursue justice. AJWS is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality. AJWS is an internationally recognized responsible charity. To find out more about AJWS' status visit
If you could please make a donation to help make my volunteer service possible, I would be extremely grateful. I need to raise $3,000 total. To donate, please make a check out to American Jewish World Service. You can either contact me at (901)-828-5431 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (901)-828-5431      end_of_the_skype_highlighting and I will come pick it up when it is most convenient for you, or send it to Ariana Kaufman 461 Sutton Place Memphis, TN 38120.

 I will be following up with a phone call to encourage you to think about supporting my volunteer work. I would be happy to provide you with any additional information about AJWS if you are interested. You can also visit their web site at Thank you very much for considering my request. 

Warmest regards,
Ariana Kaufman

PS. The full amount of your donation is tax deductible. You will receive a letter from AJWS personally thanking you for your donations and explaining how to file your tax deduction.

We wish her the best of luck in this mission and chizuk to continue her extraordinary efforts in making the world a better place.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Updates and Catch Ups

I've fallen a bit behind on blogging, so I'm going to rather briefly update you on many different exciting events that have happened over the last few weeks.

First of all, I never congratulated our Boys High School on capturing the FYOS Debate Tournament Title for the first time.  Both the Boys' teams and the Girls' teams were outstanding throughout the tournament, with the final match - which pitted Zahava Gersten and Racheli Tsuna against Jeremy and Dylan Cooper - decided by the closest of margins.  Jeremy and Dylan's Negative case was just a hair stronger than Zahava and Racheli's Affirmative case (which was a plan for mining Helium 3 on the moon for the purposes of replacing nuclear fission with nuclear fusion thereby eliminating the dangers of nuclear energy and helping to solve our energy crisis) and Jeremy and Dylan walked away with 1st place team honors.  2nd place team went to Zahava and Racheli, while 3rd place honors went to team Ethan Cooper and Yaakov Kaplan.  In the speaker award category, first place went to Zahava Gersten, Jeremy Cooper took second, and debate newcomer Sade Cooper took third place.  Congratulations to them all!

In addition to being recognized internally for his debating prowess, Jeremy Cooper was also recently recognized by Princeton University's Princeton Prize in Race Relations with a certificate of accomplishment for his work as president of Bridge Builders Memphis.

Congratulations is also in order for all of our 8th grade advancees who shined brighter than ever at their Advancement Ceremony last week.  Presenting research they did on their own family's history, under the guidance of Mrs. Shelley Kutliroff, each student spoke eloquently and inspirationally, about where they have come from and the lessons they have inherited from previous generations.

A few days ago, I posted about the adorable ECE presentations at our Ice Cream Bash.  Since then, Dr. Joel Siegel has been kind enough to forward me links to the videos he took of their performance.  Here they are for you to enjoy:


And, lastly, I promised to post pictures of our Kindergarteners from their wonderful graduation ceremony this past Sunday.  They too did a terrific job and we can't wait to see what is in store for them as they enter 1st grade!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Kindergarten Graduation Slideshow

Many parents asked me for the slideshow we showed at Kindergarten Graduation.  I hope to post pictures from the actual graduation later this week, but for now enjoy the slideshow:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Adorable ECE

Over the past five years, I have had quiet a number of opportunities to see our Early Childhood students perform. And as cute as they have been in the past, I think they took adorable to a whole new level this past week with their end of year Ice Cream Bash.

Though I wish I could have captured their songs on video, I didn't.  So these images are going to have to do: