Senior Spotlight Class of 2022
This year’s graduating class has been resilient. When these students were born, George W. Bush was President and Arnold Schwarzenegger was our governor. We had to buy a DVD for $19.95 to watch a movie at home. Facebook was founded, and Polaroid issued a warning to the public to not “shake it like a polaroid picture.”
As they entered their freshman year full of dreams and expectations of what High School would be like, they were not even close. In March of 2020, this class of sophomores were sent home for two weeks as the threat of COVID-19 shut down most California schools. The quarantine turned into a lockdown that lasted for over a year and changed the landscape of their teenage years. Sports, drama, dances, clubs and much more were put on hold. This class will forever be unique as they started together, were sent home and then came back together again for their final year.
Despite the incredible challenges, the 2022 class made it! While some students struggled (both academically and/ or emotionally), other students somehow found a way to thrive. They were able to adapt, learn new technologies and remain engaged. We are so proud of these kids, and we are using the next pages to showcase some of the students who deserve to be celebrated as they begin their next chapter. We asked each student what their proudest moment was and/or how they plan to stay connected to their Jewish community in the following years.
Milken Community School
I am most proud of my work as Senior Leader of L’Dough V’Dough, a program at Milken in partnership with Holocaust Museum LA, in which I connected students, faculty, and extended community members with Holocaust survivors. During our monthly meetings, we continued to connect with our Jewish heritage and traditions by braiding challah, connecting to current holidays, and more. I plan to stay connected with my Jewish Community by joining and actively participating in Jewish organizations at university, continuing to celebrate Shabbat and high holidays with my family and friends, and maintaining a relationship with my peers from Milken.
de Toledo High School
deToledo provided me with a unique high school experience that you really can’t get anywhere else. My best high school memory was being in Israel with my friends and getting to hang out with my teachers outside of the classroom environment. I thank my parents every day for sending me to a school that helped shape me as a person.
Granada Hills Charter High School
University of California, Berkeley
I plan to stay connected to the Jewish Community through participation in the UC Berkeley Hillel Jewish Student Center and by expanding my Jewish education in classes. Specifically, I am incredibly interested in potentially pursuing a Jewish studies minor or at the very least taking classes such as Jewish Folktales Around the World: Past and Present, Self and Other and Yiddish. Through these courses, I hope to be able to deepen my personal understanding of Judaism as a religion and as a culture to gain a better idea of how I want to practice Judaism as an adult.
Cleveland High School Humanities Magnel
University of California, Santa Cruz
Since I was in 7th grade, I have volunteered as a Madrich on Sundays at my religious school. For the past 3 years I have enjoyed my time assisting with kindergarten education. It has been a great way to keep a connection with my synagogue and help the next generation learn to love Judaism too. Looking ahead, I plan to be involved with the Santa Cruz chapter of Hillel. I am excited to meet other Jewish students and be part of the community there.
SAMANTHA GRACE HABER
Chaminade College Preparatory
Loyola Marymount University (LMU)
I had the honor and privilege to sing one of my favorite Hebrew songs during my brother’s Bar Mitzvah, during the height of the Pandemic in October 2020. This song resonated with me because I sang this same song during my Bat Mitzvah in January 2017 as well as when I was a Cantor In Training at Temple Judea. During the Pandemic we as a community experienced tragedy, and at the same time, my family and I understood the importance of our Jewish heritage and culture by celebrating my brother becoming a Bar Mitzvah. This was the perfect time for me to share my voice with the people I love. This experience became a pivotal moment in my life because I was reminded of the strength and support of our Jewish community and my family. I plan to continue publishing my podcast on Spotify and blog on my website www.samanthagracehaber.com.
de Toledo High School
Lewis and Clark College
My best high school memory is from when I went up in front of the whole school to give my senior speech and I couldn’t quiet down the audience’s cheers and applause so that I could actually start speaking.