We are very proud of our alumni and all that they have accomplished since graduating from Pardes. Check back regularly to read additional spotlights.
Talia Khan - Class of 2012
Alumna Talia Khan attended Pardes from 2005 through when she graduated eighth grade in 2012. She is now a senior at Xavier College Preparatory.
When asked about the greatest benefits of attending Pardes, Talia mentioned the sense of community and genuine interest, on the part of the teachers, in her success. “Pardes gave me the opportunity to learn about my history and Jewish identity in a way that I wouldn't have been able to anywhere else. I was able to study the great Jewish thinkers and ask questions about the Torah stories. This has contributed to my readiness to ask questions and search for answers that aren't always clear. It has also led me to dedicate my life to Tikkun Olam. I want to leave the world better than I found it by serving others and solving problems that impact humans and the environment.”
Talia has several favorite memories of Pardes. She loved the short story project in seventh-grade English class as well as Rabbi Allouche's Jewish History class in eighth grade. She also mentioned the labs she completed in science classes, especially the murder mystery they had to solve in eighth-grade forensics class. “I also loved that my teachers took a special interest in my well-being,” she added.
As a student at Xavier, she has enjoyed learning about the Catholic faith and sharing information about her Jewish background with others. Talia is part of a program at Xavier called Great Books. Great Books is a four-year integrated program of English, Theology, and Social Studies for the top 10% of students in each grade.
“Through Great Books and my personal motivation, I have taken 10 APs in all four years of high school. At Xavier and Brophy I have done the musical theater productions. I am president of the Classical Music Club, and I am National Honor Society Historian. I also participated in student council during my freshman and sophomore years. In October of 2014, I began doing extracurricular biomedical research at a lab for Barrow Neurological Institute. Over the past summer, I was awarded the Ben and Catherine Ivy Neurological Sciences Foundation Scholarship, which funded my work for a lab at TGen (Translational Genomics Research Institute),” she explained.
Talia has been accepted to several wonderful universities across the country. She will be attending The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she plans to study Biological or Molecular Engineering and Computer Science with a Music minor.
Adam Meilech - Class of 2012
Like his two older sisters, alumni Adam Meilech is a Pardes Lifer; he began in kindergarten and remained at Pardes through eighth grade. Upon graduating from Pardes in 2012, he entered Sunnyslope High School where he is now a senior.
At Sunnyslope High School, Adam has taken all Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes and he expects to graduate near the top of his class. “The rigorous and individualized classes at Pardes helped me prepare for high school by giving me a head start. Because of the all the years of Spanish and the accelerated math classes at Pardes, I was able to test out of freshman math and Spanish. This allowed me to begin advanced classes earlier than most students. As a result, I was able to take many AP classes which count for college credit. This will allow me to skip many of the basic college classes when I begin my freshman year,” Adam explained.
In addition to his advanced coursework, Adams runs cross-country for Sunnyslope High School, serves as co-president of the Mensch Club (the Jewish student group at the high school) and works for a local public relations company. Additionally, Adam is very involved with B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO) where he serves as Regional Board Vice President. “Pardes exposed me to BBYO, which I have been actively involved with since 8th grade. This has taught me about leadership, community involvement, and friendship in the Jewish community,” he added.
Adam commented on the close community, the academic rigor and the connection with his Judaism when asked about the benefits of attending Jewish day school, and specifically Pardes. According to Adam, “I made so many good friends; I still have so many of the same friends I made in Pardes and I plan to keep them long term. Also, Pardes allowed me to get ahead academically, and the school was able to match my academic needs. I am still very closely involved with my Jewish community, and Pardes was a great foundation for me to start my Jewish life.”
When asked about his favorite memories of his years at Pardes, he reflected upon playing on the sports teams in Middle School. Additionally, he enjoyed participating in the school plays and the time he spent on the various school trips, especially the eighth grade trip to Washington, DC.
Adam will be attending the University of Arizona Honors College in the fall. He received a Wildcat Excellence Tuition Award, which is a four-year scholarship for academic achievement. Adam plans to focus on pre-law. We can’t wait to see Adam’s future achievements!
Jackson Fein - Class of 2010
Jackson Fein started at Pardes as a first grader in 2002 and graduated in 2010. Now a sophomore at the University of Southern California, he is majoring in Global Health and plans to pursue a Master's in Public Health before attending medical school.
When asked about the greatest benefits of attending Pardes, he said, “Personally, I enjoyed the small size of my classes and the school as a whole, as compared to a public school. I was able to more effectively learn in this more individualized setting, and I formed friendships that have lasted to this day.”
Additionally, Jackson shared that learning a second language (Hebrew) early on was extremely helpful. It prepared him for learning other languages in his later academic years. Likewise, he felt that he developed his Jewish identity while at Pardes and learned to place great value on education.
“Pardes certainly stands out for its commitment to Jewish values, and these values are extremely important both to the school's identity and to the students that it nurtures. But equally, as important are its stellar academics. Children thrive in classrooms where teachers can give specialized attention, and their resulting education derives all the more benefit,” he shared.
Upon graduating from Pardes, Jackson attended Horizon High School, from which he graduated in 2014. Jackson was part of the Honors curriculum at Horizon, and when possible, took AP classes as well. While in high school, he worked as a tutor for all ages and volunteered a large amount of his time at local animal shelters. He was a member of the National Honor Society, became a National Merit Finalist, achieved National AP Scholar status and graduated with honors in the top 10% of his class.
“Pardes, through its offering of above-grade-level material, prepared me to take a rigorous curriculum in high school, including AP classes and community college courses. I developed many academic skills during my time at Pardes (that I wouldn't have been able to elsewhere) that enabled me to successfully take these classes,” Jackson explained.
Jackson has several memories of his time at Pardes. “I will never forget the epic Color Wars that I engaged in with my classmates on a yearly basis, and in a similar vein, I truly enjoyed the opportunity to play on organized sports teams with my friends throughout my time at Pardes.”