PJA’s Kehillah Organization recently hosted our annual High School Information Night (formerly known as High School 411). This is one of my favorite activities of the year! We invite several PJA alumni who are current high school students to return to PJA and speak with 8th graders and their families about the transition from PJA to high school. Every year, I come away from this event with renewed enthusiasm for my job as Director of Admission and clarity about our mission and values.
This year’s alumni panelists - Sadie Drucker (St. Mary’s Academy); Kai La Forte (Grant High School); Elizabeth Mehr (Ida B. Wells High School), Ethan Rosenfeld (Catlin Gabel School); and Noam Rosenthal (Beaverton High School) - spoke honestly and authentically about the challenges and opportunities they faced as they stepped out of their comfortable and nurturing community at PJA and into an unfamiliar high school environment. They each exuded confidence and self-awareness, curiosity and courage, kindness and gratitude. Our middot (core values) imbue everything we do at PJA. Students explore these values while they are at our school, but more importantly, they carry these values with them throughout their lives. Listening to them reflect back on their time at PJA and give advice to our next class of graduates filled me with pride and renewed confidence that at PJA we really do make mensches.