Weekly Newsletter – June 30, 2016

Welcome to the final newsletter for the 2015 – 2016 school year. It is always bittersweet as I reflect on the accomplishments of the year, with pride in all that we have achieved together. I think our tagline, Imagine What We Can Do Together, is not just in our imagination, but is the King David reality – we are a community working together to build and sustain our Jewish future. And build, we have: we ended the year with 210 students, which is over 50% more than we had just five years ago.
 
This year has been spectacular!
 
 What was new?
  1. Shinshiniot – Israeli High School Graduates who infused Israeli culture into each of our lives: music, food, stories, and beautiful smiles and lasting friendships.
  2. Grade 9 Trip to Los Angeles – we not only visited the Museum of Tolerance and Venice Beach (these relate in more ways than you might think) but our students experienced a Shomer Shabbat in a city rich in Jewish life and opportunities.
  3. Israel Advocacy for Adults – we expanded our horizons and took a risk, and with over 20 adults we tackled the complexity of Israel, from the Torah to Modern Day Israel (and in 10 hours, too!)
  4. New Outdoor Education Program – thanks to the support of the Jewish Community and Snider Foundations, we hired and trained staff, purchased equipment, and took our first overnight hike near Squamish.
What are my favourite memories of the year?

  • The school retreat to Keats Island in September – what a way to start the year!
  • The energy and commitment exhibited by our students during Random Acts of Chesed Week in November is always inspiring.  
  • December was our visit from our Israeli partner school’s Grade 9 students – they learned to love rain! 
  • January was time for our mid-year exams (I love the quiet; a little seriousness never hurts).
  • February was our Lion’s Den Restaurant, a sold out affair focused on Middle eastern cuisine and yummy desserts (I always remember desserts!).
  • In March our Theatre Program knocked us out with their production of The Little Shop of Horrors; the second night was the best production I had ever seen from our students – wow!  
  • April was our annual Grade 8 Trip to Israel, sponsored by the Jewish Federation. I have now been on this trip for eight consecutive years, and it never gets old.
  • May showcased King David with our Teaching for Tomorrow evening, where we all learned how to be better, not bitter, thanks Josh Shipp. It was also our Year End Celebration honouring Student Achievement: such a beautiful, fun night that showcased all the talent in the school in our Foods, Art, and Drama courses, and let our Music students loose.
  • June belongs to our Graduates – a chance to kvell and to embrace a group of graduates who deserve our respect (these 35 graduates are attending 16 different post-secondary institutions, and three different Gap Year programs in Israel).
 
How is the school business going?  
  • Next year we are growing again – we have more than 50 Grade 8 students joining the family (I am thinking of converting my office into a small classroom.)
  • We have a major renovation plan for the library – we thought the incoming VTT Grade 8 students would appreciate construction to make them feel at home. 
  • The second year of our Annual Fund went really well – we continue to receive wonderful support from the community. From the Diamond Family, whose generosity to all of us is so appreciated, to the Jewish Federation, and through each of our hundreds of donors: thank you all. I also want to thank our parents, who not only pay tuition, but who increased their participation in our Annual Fund from 33% in our first year, to just under 60% this year. Similarly, our faculty embraced King David with an 80% participation rate: and they, too, already give so much to their students and to the school.
 
Some changes next year:

I am always a bit sad as I write the final letter, as we say goodbye to a few staff and students, as well as our wonderful Graduates. I would like to recognize David Schein: adios to our favourite Spanish Teacher (this year). We also bid farewell to David Weisbom, who supported our English Language learners, and to Señora Giselle Lawrence, who has been a model teacher for her students and a lead learner from, and supporter to, her colleagues. Finally, good luck to Chris Knapp, who is returning to university to complete his Master’s Degree. My biggest hug and goodbye goes to our 35 Graduates – one of the most bittersweet parts of working in a high school is getting to watch the transformation of awkward Grade 8 kids into mature Grade 12 students. We are proud of them, and we will miss them. Good luck and visit often, King David alumni!
 
I wish all of our staff and students a wonderful summer. To our families and supporters, thank you for sharing whatever you can with us: your hearts, your time, your children, your ambassadorship, and yes, your gifts. I do not take for granted where we have come from; this school is a community treasure and I continue to be thrilled to be a part of this journey with all of you. And on those days when I feel a bit overwhelmed and it is hard to find the light, I get out of my office, walk down the hall, and sit with students, and then my world is flooded with light – truly, this is the best job in the world.
 
A final word from our PAC Co-chairs, Sarah Schaffer and Shannon Gorski:

We are at the end of the school year. We truly cannot believe how fast this, our second year as PAC Co-chairs, has flown by. We wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all the members of the PAC for such a successful year. You are all amazing, and we have been so lucky to have a team of such dedicated parents. We have achieved great things, and made a difference in the lives of not only the students in our school, but our staff, families, and community. You are all talented, giving, generous, and dedicated, and without you, this year would not have been the great one it has been. To the teachers and staff of King David High School, thank you for all your hard work and dedication to our children; we believe King David High School is a special place, and appreciate everything you all do to make our children’s educational experience so meaningful.
 
Join us for our first PAC meeting on Monday, September 12 at 7 p.m.
Refreshments will be provided.
 
Have a fabulous and relaxing summer!
 

Comments are closed.