Weekly Newsletter – June 28, 2019

Every year when we reach the end of June, all of us, staff and students, cannot believe how fast the year has gone by (admittedly this was not the feeling in February, when I for one was sure the year would never end). What a year it has been! Working with adolescents is a true joy (no eye rolling please) – they share their energy with you, whether you want it or not, and they do have great energy to spare! It keeps us old folks feeling younger as we watch the power of youth, figuratively and literally, eat up everything we have to offer.

And feed them we do – and not just their stomachs, but their hearts and minds as well. We loaded up the year with critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. From Junior and Senior retreats, to travel experiences in Israel and Los Angeles, volunteering in local organizations throughout the year, competing on many sports fields, and hosting 500 Jewish Day School youth for our Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration, King David students have benefited from both classroom and experiential learning. I fully believe we provide a first-class program that helps propel our students, and our community, into the future.

In conjunction with increasing what we offer the students, we provide faculty and staff with their own learning opportunities. Along with other world-class independent schools, we have joined national bodies such as the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools and the Independent School Association of BC, which include all of the west-side Vancouver independent schools, as well as Prizmah, which supports Jewish Day Schools across North America. Through these organizations and others, our staff continually push themselves to improve, learn, and focus on both school and self-improvement.

This is an especially exciting time for all of us in the King David Family. I hope you have all seen or heard about our great news – The Diamond Family is funding a $6.5 million expansion, with lots of exciting new teaching and work spaces! It is an incredible achievement, as across North America, non-Orthodox Jewish Day Schools have been shrinking in size while we have been growing – from a low of 139 students 8 years ago to 236 students this year. When Maimonides School opened in 1986 I do not think anyone foresaw that a school with 6 graduates in 1992 would become a school with 56 graduates in 2019. 

As Head of School, I am fortunate to be motivated and supported by a talented faculty and strategic Board of Directors. We are all about dreaming big and fulfilling our school’s vision. Now, through the ongoing support and generosity of community members, parents, alumni, students, and staff, this dream is becoming a reality! King David continues to thrive. My sincerest gratitude for your continued support of a Jewish future in Vancouver.

Here are some of our happiest memories of the year!
 
2019 Year End Montage

I am always sad as I write this final message for the year as we say goodbye and good luck to staff and students, including our 56-strong Class of 2019. 
 
This year, I’d like to recognize and commend Cathy Lowenstein for her years of service to Jewish education in Vancouver as she retires after 17 years at the helm of Vancouver Talmud Torah. Being a Head of School is not for the weak of heart, and Cathy has hung in there and given our community her best. On behalf of King David, we wish her the very best as she moves on to other adventures. Kol Hakavod, Cathy!
 
We also say farewell to four King David staff, and we want to acknowledge the significant roles they played at school – each of them has been an outstanding contributor and team player and I know their leaving is bittersweet for all of us. We wish them well as they move on to new experiences (and we remind them they are still part of the family!) 
 
Ben Levy has been supporting students in the Learning Lab for two years and expects to leave Vancouver, perhaps returning to Israel. He says, "King David will always have a place in my heart. I was privileged enough to work with some incredible students, both in school and out on the soccer field. I would like to thank everyone who gave me the opportunity to be a part of King David, warmly welcomed me to Vancouver, and helped create long-lasting memories. I would also like to recognize my colleagues, who are truly exceptional in their knowledge and practice."

Ashley Miller-Bouchard has been teaching French 
at King David for five years and will be moving back home to Ontario (specifically Ottawa) next year. Ashley shared, "Five years ago, when I walked through King David’s doors, I could not have anticipated the type of growth I was about to experience professionally or as an individual, nor would I have been able to predict the meaningful and unique connections I was going to make with the members of this community. I have worked with students who will unquestionably grow to change the world, a passionate staff who have inspired me to be a better version of myself, and a community that has taught me the meaning of belonging. I cannot thank you enough for welcoming me into your home, and into your family. I am walking away richer than ever, and that is thanks to you! In French, we don’t actually say goodbye; we say au revoir, which actually translates to ‘see you soon’ or ‘until we see each other again’. King David, it’s been an absolute honour… au revoir!"

Ali Margulius has been our Visual Arts teacher for two years and is leaving us to focus on her own creative work and to further her learning. Ali says, "Over the past two years at King David I have grown not only as an educator, but as a person too. Sharing my love of Art and Art Education with the students and witnessing their growth over the past two years is something that I will carry forward as inspiration in the years to come. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work alongside such caring staff and administrators. Thank you sincerely for making me feel so welcome in the King David halls; I will forever be changed because of it."

Ran Shpanya is a King David alumnus, Class of 2011, 
and has been a staff member for the past two years. He is leaving us to continue his studies in Australia, where he will be attending Macquarie
University in the Doctor of Physiotherapy Program. He says, "The impact King David had on my life throughout the years is truly reflected in my decision to give back and be a part of this unique school. My experience, both as a student and now as a staff member, has been nothing short of amazing. I would like to thank Russ and Alex for the support throughout the years, and thank all the amazing staff we have at King David."

As always, I extend to our families and supporters a sincere thank you for sharing 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.
 
Wishing all members of our King David family a wonderful summer!
King David High School, 5718 Willow Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4S9 Canada
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