Enlighten America Essay Contest Is Open

Enlighten America Essay Contest Is Open

The deadline for the B'nai B'rith-sponsored competition is Nov. 15.

Art Link presents an Enlighten America certificate of achievement to essay contest winner Gabe Weiss of Atlanta Jewish Academy in February 2017. (Photo by Barrie Cohn)
Art Link presents an Enlighten America certificate of achievement to essay contest winner Gabe Weiss of Atlanta Jewish Academy in February 2017. (Photo by Barrie Cohn)

Submissions are being accepted until Wednesday, Nov. 15, for this school year’s edition of B’nai B’rith’s Enlighten America essay contest.

The contest is open to all seventh- and eighth-graders in metro Atlanta and offers the chance to win $100.

Students are asked to write about bigotry and prejudice and how such attitudes affect them and the people around them. The contest encourages respect and acceptance of racial, religious and cultural diversity.

Each entrant should relate a specific 1790 quotation by George Washington to modern society. As an alternative, students may use another quote from an American president or community leader, or find the lessons in events in their own lives or in history.

Note that a secondary objective of the contest is to test the ability to follow directions, so be sure to read and abide by all the contest rules at www.EnlightenAmerica.org.

Deadline Nears for Ayeka Program

Ayeka: The Center for Soulful Education announced in Jerusalem on Sept. 5 that Jewish educator Debra Shaffer Seeman of Atlanta will mentor four Jewish day schools in North America that will be selected to introduce Ayeka’s Soulful Education methodology into their Judaic studies departments.

The Ayeka program is being funded by a two-year grant from the Avi Chai, Kohelet and Mayberg foundations.

Shaffer Seeman, who serves as a network weaver for Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools, brings a wealth of experience in nurturing learning communities, building institutions and developing networks. An avid teacher of classical Jewish texts and an educational entrepreneur, she has served in a variety of educational settings in Israel and North America, including the Dror Elementary School, the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, the Florence Melton Adult Mini School, the Rambam Atlanta Day School, Yeshiva Atlanta High School and RAVSAK.

Ayeka has issued a request for proposals from Jewish day schools interested in participating in the project. The RFP can be viewed at bit.ly/2yqq651.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Wednesday, Oct. 4. Before sending a proposal, an interested school should schedule a preliminary conversation with Ayeka’s director, Aryeh Ben David, by emailing aryeh@ayeka.org.il.

Schools accepted into the program will be notified by Oct. 31.

Visit www.ayeka.org.il to learn more about the Soulful Education methodology of Ayeka, which was founded in 2006 to provide tools to breathe life into Jewish text study.

Pace Grad Wins Flax Scholarship

Pace Academy graduate Tonyia Johnson recently was awarded the $1,000 Why My Teacher Makes Me Smile Scholarship from Flax Dental.

The Why My Teacher Makes Me Smile Scholarship invites high school seniors in Georgia to submit essays about their favorite teachers. The scholarship is for college tuition.

Michael Gannon, Tonyia Johnson (the scholarship recipient’s mother), Tonyia Johnson and Hugh Flax

Johnson graduated from Pace in the spring and is attending the University of Miami.

She wrote about Michael Gannon, the head of Pace’s Upper School and a history teacher.

“He believed in me from Day 1 and held me to lofty standards that only made me work even harder,” Johnson wrote. “He has been a continuous supporter of my goals and dreams and is one of the reasons why I found a way to smile in a school that I have come to love.”

Dentist Hugh Flax and his staff presented her the scholarship check at the Flax Dental office in Sandy Springs and gave Gannon a $100 Amazon card to honor his work in education.

Ben Franklin Celebrates Expansion

Ben Franklin Academy, which is marking its 30th anniversary this year, is celebrating the success of its Achieve the Possible Capital Campaign with a private reception Tuesday, Oct. 3.

The college preparatory high school enlarged its three-story building on Houston Mill Road 30 percent over the summer.

The capital campaign paid for expanded arts and science spaces, new conference rooms and an elevator. A new front courtyard is encircled by roses, and a small art courtyard can be used for meeting or work space.

Ben Franklin Academy, which offers rolling admissions, aims to maintain enrollment between 125 and 130 students even with the increased room and an enhanced curriculum.

The school is holding open houses Nov. 16 and 30 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. More information is available at www.benfranklinacademy.org.