Sarah Moosazadeh is a staff writer for the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Gathering for a final photo together before heading to high school are (front row, from left) Hillary Smith, Emma Nowitz, Molly Fisher, Lulu Rosenberg, Marissa Goodman, Gali Bendavid, Tamar Guggenheim and Elana Katz and (back row, from left) Gabrielle Rosenfeld, Rebecca Kann, Galia Cohen, Mollie Meyerowitz, Olivia Lerner, Andrea Zaglin, Reagan Lapes, Kira Berzack and Emma Mailman.
Many are unaware of the path their lives will take after graduation, but for 40 Epstein School eighth-graders, the journey seems less challenging, thanks to the values the school has instilled in them.
Friends and family packed the Sandy Springs day school’s gymnasium Wednesday, May 23, to celebrate graduation, scheduled 10 minutes before the air conditioning turned off. Despite the heat, the ceremony continued with the Class of 2018’s rendition of the “Wizard of Oz.”
Elana Katz (as Dorothy) performs “Over the Rainbow” as Andrea Zaglin (Toto) listens.
Like the show’s character, the Epstein graduates are taking courage, heart and brains to high school, including the ability to think critically and see the world through multiple perspectives, according to the graduation program.
Graduating eighth-graders (from left) Jonathan Merlin, Max Chernow, Mo Zibitt, Asher Force, Aaron Bock and Salo Szumstein sing “Hatikva” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Students shared their capstone projects, a new initiative this year, and Knesset President Gabriel Kadoori presented the class gift, a printer, for the use of faculty and students in the fall. The students also spoke about what they learned in their favorite subjects and how those lessons shaped their views.
Congregation Or Hadash Rabbi Mario Karpuj delivered the d’var Torah and recited a blessing for the students. He said his hope is that each student can become a blessing by effecting change.
Harris Dankberg receives his diploma from Morgan Dempsey-Brookhart, an English and world cultures teacher.
It was Myrna Rubel’s last graduation as Epstein’s middle school principal, but she will remain on campus to teach a class. Rubel spent a few final moments with the graduating class during the presentation of the diplomas.
Epstein eighth-graders (from left) Lulu Rosenberg, Reagan Lapes, Tamar Guggenheim, Galia Cohen and Hillary Smith perform “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” from “The Wizard of Oz” as part of their graduation.
She encouraged the students to never forget their Jewish identity and to stand as ambassadors for Israel. “Epstein is meant to be your cheerleader, telling you that whatever path you choose, you are supported by your teachers, by your parents and your friends.”
Epstein Class of 2018
The following are the 40 students who graduated from the Epstein School on Wednesday, May 23.
Photos by Coleen Lou
(From left) Mollie Meyerowitz, Rebecca Kann, Andrea Zaglin and Elana Katz perform a skit based on “The Wizard of Oz” to represent the heart, brains and courage of Epstein graduates.
(From left) Lulu Rosenberg, Reagan Lapes, Kira Berzack, Tamar Guggenheim and Marissa Goodman perform a moving modern Israeli dance at their graduation.
(From left) Asher Force, Mo Zibitt, Spencer Dickson, David Leavitt, Aaron Bock and Jordan Tovin gather for a moment of camaraderie and a final picture the night of their graduation.