Nearly 30 students at Jewish day schools qualified for the Georgia Educational Technology Fair in Macon on March 11 despite having a more difficult route to the state competition.
The past 12 years, day school students and other Shabbat-observant Jewish students had their own regional competition for state qualification, the North Atlanta Jewish Students Technology Fair. It was held on Sunday, while the other regionals and the state finals were on Saturdays. Naturally, dozens of Jewish students qualified for the state competition by finishing first in their categories.
The Sunday regional was back this year on the fourth Sunday of January, just as it was in 2016, but it no longer was aimed at Jewish students. Instead, the Georgia Independent & Home Schools Regional Technology Fair was the Sunday option.
So in addition to the Davis Academy, the Epstein School, Atlanta Jewish Academy, the Weber School and Torah Day School of Atlanta, winning entries came from such schools as Fulton Science Academy, Tallulah Falls School, Lakeview Academy, Pace Academy and Dar un Noor Academy.
The more diverse competition still produced dozens of Jewish day school winners. Students who finished first in their age groups in specific categories qualified for the state tournament.
Torah Day School of Atlanta sent eight students to the regional competition, and eighth-grader Avital Sobel finished first in 3D modeling among seventh- and eighth-graders with a digital image of her family’s home remodeling project.
TDSA eighth-graders Kira Mermelstein and Tehilla Robbins competed in digital photo production, and Tehilla placed second. Also finishing second were eighth-grader Shayna Winick in robotics, fifth-graders Yoni Senior and Avi Ellenoff in video production for a movie created using Windows Movie Maker, and Eli and Zeli Litvin in the web applications category.
Technology teacher Theresa Burns mentored the students through her classes at Torah Day School of Atlanta and accompanied them to the event.
Ten Epstein students took first-place ribbons to advance to the state competition: Moira Poh and Emma Cohen, audio production, seventh and eighth grades; Miriam Nadler and Amelia Heller, audio production, fifth and sixth grades; Alanna Diamond and Tyler Silberman, animation, third and fourth grades; Kira Nadler and Samantha Dubovy, digital photo production, third and fourth grades; and Shai Bachar and Elliott Lapp, device modification, third and fourth grades.
Epstein students learn in an environment that provides advanced technology from an early age to help them develop their passions and become critical thinkers who are confident, creative and innovative.
Atlanta Jewish Academy had six students finish first: Adam Berkowitz, digital photo production, fifth and sixth grades; Paulina Lebowitz, digital photo production, seventh and eighth grades; Shiraz Agichtein, graphic design, seventh and eighth grades; Zach Amdur, Internet applications, fifth and sixth grades; Dan Jutan, Internet applications, 11th and 12th grades; and Jutan and Shaun Regenbaum, tech programming challenge, 11th and 12th grades. Shiraz, Paulina, Dan and Shaun also reached the state fair last year.
In addition, Shaun finished second in the technology literacy challenge for the oldest age group.
Three AJA students earned third-place ribbons: Sam Wachtel, 3D modeling, third and fourth grades; Ilan Benamram, 3D modeling, fifth and sixth grades; Zachary Agichtein, animation, third and fourth grades; and Kayla Joel, 3D modeling, third and fourth grades.
Weber has five students taking four projects to the state fair after finishing first at the regional competition: Amanda Kraun, digital photography, 11th and 12th grades; Isabel Berlin, multimedia applications, ninth and 10th grades; Justin Cobb, robotics, 11th and 12th grades; and Levi Durham and Sam Kuttner, digital game design, 11th and 12th grades. All except Kuttner also qualified last year, as did Josh Glass, who finished second this year in digital photography as a 10th-grader.
Davis has the most qualifiers among Jewish day schools with 12: Jack Baylin, digital game design, third and fourth grades; Avi Frank, device modification, fifth and sixth grades; Jordan Frank, digital game design, fifth and sixth grades; Leah Green, project programming, third and fourth grades; Aidan Kramer, animation, fifth and sixth grades; Sarah Menis, robotics, third and fourth grades; Julia Moss, Internet applications, third and fourth grades; Eleonora Pepez-Rubio, 3D modeling, third and fourth grades; Alexa Rubin, graphic design, third and fourth grades; Jacob Rubin, graphic design, fifth and sixth grades; Matthew Szabo, animation, seventh and eighth grades; and Carson Wolff, tech literacy challenge, fifth and sixth grades.
Beyond the fair for private schools and home schools, at least one Jewish student qualified through the Cobb County tech fair: Mayah Loventhal, a fourth-grader at Tritt Elementary School. The daughter of Gary and Michal Loventhal finished first among third- and fourth-graders in the animation category.