New Mascot Spurs Excellent Fall Sports Season

Special for the AJT

Atlanta Jewish Academy’s students devoted a lot of thought to the choice of a new mascot for their school. After many rounds of voting at the Middle School and Upper School, the Jaguar emerged as the favorite, with a clear mandate to go forth and excel.—and that’s exactly what the new AJA Jaguars did during the fall sports season.

Every Upper School and Middle School team made the playoffs in their debut year.

AJA’s Greenfield Middle School boys’ soccer team, coached by alumnus Gavi Abraham and Stevyn Carmona, dazzled all their fans by taking home a first place trophy in the Division 2 MAAC championships for the second year in a row.

“We’re really proud of our soccer players,” said Penny Eisenstein, AJA Greenfield Early Childhood-Middle School’s Head of Health and P.E. and Athletic Director. “Their level of physical fitness has come a long way—and so has their work ethic and their sportsmanship.” Furthermore, Ms. Eisenstein stresses, “The team was also blessed with amazing support—Gavi and Stevyn were wonderful coaches, demanding and knowledgeable. Our team parent, Rhena Spector, made sure that we never had to worry about anything. And our parents helped the team to shine by getting our players to either practices or games four days a week.”

The soccer team ended with a record of 8 wins, 3 losses, and 2 ties.

The Atlanta Jewish Academy Soccer Team

The volleyball teams had another record setting year with Ms. Eisenstein (another alumni!) coaching. The A team won all but two of their games, one of which was a championship game. The team took second place in the Division 2 MAAC championship, with 11 wins and 2 losses.

“The A team started the season with only one returning A team player and ten new players,” explained Ms. Eisenstein. “But as their record demonstrates, the girls worked very hard and grew as a unit to achieve a remarkable season.”

The B team and took third place in the Division 2 championship, with 7 wins and 4 losses—and half of those losses were to Division 1 teams. Ms. Eisenstein is justly proud of the B-team, which was comprised entirely of players who were brand-new to the sport. “In spring of last year, the players felt lucky to have a ball go over the net.” She said, “But by the end of the season, people from other teams would comment on how wonderfully skilled they were!”

The volleyball teams also benefited from the support of A team parent Sima Dori and B team parent Lauri Glusman, who assisted the players in maintaining the team’s amazing statistics. “Since 2001,” Ms. Eisenstein said, “our volleyball team has won 264 games, with only 51 losses in twelve years.”

The Atlanta Jewish Academy Volleyball Team

At the AJA Upper School, the volleyball team left the playoffs as the number eight seed in the GHSA championships. The Lady Jaguars were working with a new head coach and a team that had a large contingent of younger players, but their hard work paid off in a good showing and a particularly impressive win over St. Francis School in Alpharetta (25-23, 18-25, and 25-23).

“The girls showed great heart and determination all season long, never giving up even if they were outsized by their opponents,” said Coach Lesley Thompson. “I look forward to great things from the Lady Jags in the future.”

“What’s most important is that our students grew as individuals as well as a team,” added Ms. Eisenstein. “Their work ethic, sportsmanship, teamwork, and skills developed beautifully over the course of the season.”