Mi Ani — Who am I?

“I was a student at JCDS for nine years. I was very nervous on my first day at JCDS, but from the very moment I stepped into the school, I felt welcomed in the community. Throughout my years at the school, I connected and formed many amazing friendships, and the community helped shape me as an individual.

“Learning Adventures are one of the project-based learning activities at JCDS. During this time, students pause regularly scheduled curriculum for a full week and engage in a real-world, authentic problem. Throughout my time at JCDS, these projects were always a highlight. Although we have many opportunities for cross-grade collaboration, Learning Adventures were a sustained period of time to connect with students from fifth through eighth grade in a meaningful, collaborative way.

“These projects always required skills like problem-solving, curiosity and perseverance. Inevitably, while working on these Learning Adventures, problems cropped up and we would have to fix them. In my seventh grade Learning Adventure, I chose to remodel one of the classrooms at the school. This was very interesting to me because I had never done something like that before and I was curious to see the result. When challenges arose, we persevered and continued working. I will always thank JCDS for teaching me these extremely important life lessons and I will carry them with me.”

“I transferred to JCDS in the third grade. Coming into a completely new school was quite nerve-wracking. However, it was not difficult to feel connected to my classmates because of how welcoming the community was. Over the years, I formed extremely strong friendships with my classmates that I know will last a lifetime. The teachers are supportive, caring and they always make sure you’re having fun while learning. JCDS provided me with a safe and comfortable environment to ask questions and supported me to push beyond my comfort zone and explore new opportunities. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at JCDS and hope other children also get the chance to experience such a warm community.

“In humanities class, we read ‘1984,’ a dystopian novel by George Orwell. For each chapter, a pair of students had the opportunity to lead a discussion in which they made inquiries and initiated activities related to the book. We were expected to find evidence to support our statements by annotating the chapter and finding specific quotes to help us better understand a theme or concept that arose in the chapter.

“At JCDS, annual milestones are a time when students reflect on what they have learned during the year and share that newly obtained knowledge with parents, friends and the rest of the JCDS community. For the Sixth Grade Legacy Milestone, students are tasked with researching and presenting a piece of our family history and connecting the story to one or more Jewish values. I chose to tell the story of my great-great-grandmother’s migration to New York from the South and how it connected to Ometz Lev (courage) and Melachah (industriousness). In preparing for this milestone, I asked my family questions about my grandmother’s life. I reflected on what that story meant to me and how it impacted my life.”

Our Hopes and Dreams

“We know that we will utilize the values and lessons we have learned during our time at JCDS, and look forward to continuing to grow our friendship. Our wish for all students is for them to have as lovely an experience as we did and learn to appreciate and value their JCDS education. L’hitraot!”

Learn more about JCDS

This article originally appeared in Nitzotzot (Sparks) and the 2021 Annual Report.

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