Above: Newly minted Weber School graduates flip their tassels to show their status.
The Weber School sent the 56 members of the Class of 2016 into the world to write their own stories with the preface of the history of Mount Sinai, Alexander Hamilton, and four years in the hallways and stairways of the Sandy Springs school.
“In life, things are not going to be how they used to be,” math teacher Caroline Campbell advised in her faculty address to the graduates Sunday morning, May 22, at Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts.
That was not a warning so much as a statement of fact. Campbell said she planned to be a pharmacist when she graduated from high school eight years ago, but after one semester at the University of Georgia, she was on a different path.
“Plans are a good thing,” she said, “but change is even better.”
She took the class through some examples in its collective history at the Weber School, such as escaping lunch duty and creating a softball team.
Salutatorian Jessica Bachner and d’var Torah speaker Avery Frank also took their classmates through memories of the past four years, including the minimum of 138,240 steps Frank calculated that they all took just going up and down the four flights of stairs. For comparison, she said Mount Sinai is only 7,497 feet high.
Just as the Jewish people are taught at the end of this week’s Torah portion, Behar, to admire but not worship leaders such as Moses, so Frank urged her classmates to follow the examples of the teachers, parents and others who served as role models through high school and to become role models to others.
“It is now our duty to remember these people, these Moseses, and to keep them relevant and vivid as we continue our journeys and educations,” she said.
Everyone excels at something, valedictorian Avi Botwinick said. “Find what makes you happy, and excel at it.”
Striving to excel is the key to the final history lesson Head of School Rabbi Ed Harwitz taught the class, combining the wisdom of Pirkei Avot and the musical “Hamilton.”
He said “Hamilton” raises an important question: “Who will be the one who will tell your story?”
Pirkei Avot answers that we acquire our own good name and tell our own story through our own merit, Rabbi Harwitz said. “We have the ability to write that story. … Education enables us to build a personal Torah, the content of that story,” and provides the wisdom to apply that story and to translate it into righteous action “that more often than not changes the world for the better.”
“We are proud of you,” Rabbi Harwitz said, “but we are also counting on you, for history has its eyes on you.”