For which grades did you attend Pardes? What year did you graduate from Pardes?
I attended Pardes from Kindergarten through 8th grade, and I graduated in 2015.
We’d love an update on your life after Pardes. Where did you continue your education? Please let us know about classes, majors, future education plans, etc.
I am currently a senior at Chaparral High School, where I have taken all honors and AP classes since freshman year. I am very excited to be attending Vanderbilt University next year.
What did/do you love about Pardes Jewish Day School?
I loved the fact that Judaism was integrated into my education every day. By learning about my own religion, I felt a personal connection to what I was learning, which made my education feel more interesting and important to me.
What is one word that best describes the school? Tell us why you chose that word.
Intimate. I choose this word not because Pardes is a small school, but because it is a tightly knit community. All of the students know one another extremely well, and nobody is a stranger. To the teachers, students are so much more than just names and faces. The teachers know each student on a personal level, allowing the students to receive the individual attention that they need to learn in a way that works for them.
Describe one of your favorite memories of Pardes Jewish Day School.
One of my favorite memories of Pardes was the amazing 8th grade class trip to Washington D.C. I loved visiting all the attractions and monuments in our nation’s capital with my friends, and I learned a lot about our country’s fascinating history.
From your own experiences, why do you believe it was important for you to attend a Jewish Day School?
I am very glad that I attended a Jewish Day School because doing so allowed me to explore and learn about my Jewish identity. Judaism is currently an enormous part of my life. I am extremely active in BBYO, in which I serve as Regional Secretary and Chapter President. I also work on the B’nai Tzedek Youth Philanthropy Board and am active in Chaparral’s Jewish Student Union. Being a Pardes student did not just teach me about Judaism in general; it taught me to love and be proud of my Judaism. The strong sense of Jewish identity that I cultivated throughout nine years at Pardes is one of the key factors that has led to my active role in the Jewish community today.
In what ways did Pardes Jewish Day School prepare you for life?
Pardes prepared my for life both educationally and socially. The classes I took at Pardes gave me the educational background necessary to succeed in the most advanced classes offered by Chaparral. I have excelled in honors and AP math classes at a level two years ahead of my age and earned straight A’s in all of my classes, including Chaparral’s infamously difficult English I Honors, English II Honors, and AP United States History. My success in these classes would not have been possible without the skills and knowledge I acquired at Pardes. After graduating my tiny Pardes class of fewer than 30 students, I dreaded my transition to Chaparral’s enormous population of over 2,000 students. Looking back now, however, I feel grateful for the small community at Pardes. Becoming comfortable within a small student body allowed me to build my confidence and social skills so that I could successfully transition to a larger group of students.
What would you tell a someone who is considering Pardes Jewish Day School for his/her child?
I know there are plenty of options for elementary and middle schools in Arizona; however, Pardes is more than just a school. It is a tightly knit Jewish community where every student can cultivate their Jewish identity while having their educational needs met on a personal level.
We are proud of our graduates! Do you have any accomplishments you would like to share?
I am currently very active in the Chaparral High School community. I am in National Honors Society, and I have founded two political clubs and am the president of the Math and Science Tutoring Club. I recently was extremely honored to receive the annual Charro Foundation award for most outstanding Chaparral student, for which one male and one female student are selected each year for their academic excellence. Outside of school, I am very involved in music. I get hired to sing and play guitar at multiple venues around town, including the Courtyard Marriott in Old Town, Twisted Lizard Tavern & Grill, Sip Coffee & Beer Garage, and more. I also love volunteering with Musicians On Call, an organization through which professional and semi-professional musicians perform at the bedsides of patients at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.