The Weber School sent 55 graduates into the world of college studies, gap years and the Israel Defense Forces with a celebration of individuality amid the numbers and calls to be persistent but also to be aware that sometimes changing course is the right choice.

The members of Weber’s 18th graduating class Sunday, May 21, pushed the total alumni in the Jewish community high school’s history to more than 700, faculty speaker and alumna Rachel Rothstein said.

“You inherit a world that is full of wonders and unique challenges,” Head of School Rabbi Ed Harwitz said at the ceremony at Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center, urging the Class of 2017 to embrace the opportunity to live as mensches. “This is your time.”

In offering a d’var Torah on the new week’s parshah, Bamidbar (Numbers), which highlights the census of the 603,550 Hebrews who left Egypt, Sophia Frankel said it’s crucial to look at the individuals behind the numbers.

Emily Berlin introduces the faculty speaker and her adviser, Rachel Rothstein.

“Reducing a person to a mere number serves to remove the unique quality of that individual,” she said. So instead of a class of 55, she’s part of a class of one Sam, one Jenna and so on.

Rose Karlin, who will be studying in Israel next year before going on to Washington University, stops on her way to her Weber School diploma to embrace UGA-bound classmate Shannan Berzack.

Salutatorian Rebecca Simonoff built on that idea of individuality by sharing some of the examples of the Class of 2017’s practice of Weber’s “head, heart and hand” motto.

Valedictorian Becky Arbiv, one of the top pole vaulters in the nation, laid out the surefire, three-step approach to failure and the four-step approach to success, with the only difference between them being the persistence to try again as a fourth step after failing in Step 3.

“It’s important to dream big. It’s the big dreams that give us a sense of purpose in life,” Rothstein said.

Accompanied by fellow Israel-bound classmates Rebecca Frankel, Rose Karlin, Jenna Rubin and Rachel Hayut (who is entering the Israel Defense Forces), Ari Stark reads the Prayer for the Welfare of the Government of the United States.

But the social studies teacher also advised the class to set realistic goals, such as reading five pages of a textbook instead of a chapter and running for a certain number of minutes instead of a certain number of miles.

And while she said you shouldn’t expect to achieve goals without a struggle and must hold yourself accountable, it’s also OK to take a night off and watch Netflix. And a bit of realism can help you find the right path.

“If you’re not happy with what you’re doing and you reach a point where you can’t imagine yourself being happy in the long term, try something else,” Rothstein said. “It may seem like giving up at the time, but try to look at it through a different lens. It’s an opportunity to dream up new dreams.”

Weber School Class of 2017
Rivka Arbiv
Isabelle Jacqueline Ariail
Zoe Felice Bagel
Micah Jerome Barich
Emily Taylor Berlin
Ayelet Rivaya Bernstein
Shannan Ashley Berzack
Eliya Ouriel Brog
Jake Tyler Burns
Ethan Robert Danis
Levi James Durham
Jacob Duke Estroff
Olivia Rose Fox
Sophia Feride Frankel
Andrew Michael Freedman
Rebecca Faith Frenkel
Lindsey Kate Gillman
Nathan Aaron Glusman
Jenna Sage Grossman
Rachel Miryam Hayut
Harris Marc Helberg
Maya Nicole Horesh
Rosalie Chaya Karlin
Gabrielle Marlowe Kasten
Zachary David Kopelman
Amanda Jordan Kraun
Emily Lauren Kurzweil
Samuel Liam Kuttner
Benjamin Samuel La Kier
Chloe Eve Levitas
Joshua Casey Lipton
Joshua Ross Marx
Fiona Ross Neidorf
Nathan Harry Paull
Caroline Faith Perlis
Quinn Rabinowitz
Blake Ashley Rosen
Mattie Leigh Rosen
Peyton Abigail Rosenberg
Elias Jacob Rubanenko
Jenna Sophie Rubin
Sophie Zina Schiff
Nikki Hannah Schiff
Jessica Elizabeth Seagraves
Rebecca Elisheva Simonoff
Jared Ari Stark
Daniele Chloe Stein
Scott Maxwell Storper
Zoe Naomi Toporek
Jonathan Henry Vainer
Noah Ryan Weiser
Charles Simon Wildstein
Ross Fantus Williams
Yarden Ryan Willis
Justin Spencer Wolozin