By Michael Jacobs | firstname.lastname@example.org
Atlanta Jewish Academy held its first high school graduation Wednesday, May 20, with praise for the 28 members of the Class of 2015 as exemplars of what the school is trying to achieve.
“This is a very impressive class,” said Ian Ratner, the president of the AJA board of trustees. He said the 17 girls and 11 boys are the answer to the big question parents should ask when they investigate the Jewish day school: How do you want your 5- or 6-year-old child to turn out?
“I’m very proud to be part of this first graduating class,” valedictorian Eliott Dosetareh said.
AJA was born last year from the merger of Greenfield Hebrew Academy, which ran through eighth grade, and Yeshiva Atlanta High School. While the Upper School remains in Doraville, AJA has reached an agreement to sell that campus as part of a plan to consolidate all operations at the former GHA campus in Sandy Springs.
Salutatorian Dafna Kadosh explained how her development from a single-minded student to a well-rounded young woman at AJA helped her understand Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.” She said she understand that raging against the dying of the light means to experience life “with such passion that I know I have lived and lived well.”
Dosetareh added: “My classmates have inspired me with their individual passions.”
Rabbi Pinchos Hecht, the head of school, told the graduates he was sad to see them go because he felt as if he was just getting to know them. He offered free tuition to any student who chose to stay for one more year — an idea Ratner quickly shot down.
“What struck me was not just the academic achievements that everybody had,” Michael Balaban, the chief development officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, said about the student biographies in the program. “The level of commitment to Jewish community was just astounding.”
The Jewish people have existed for thousands of year, Balaban told the graduates, and “through you, we’re going to continue to exist for thousands more.”
Photos – AJA Graduation 2015