Grade 8 students celebrate resilience, school successes

After two years of COVID-cancelled events, our Jewish day schools Grade 8 students are finally able to celebrate their successful school years with graduation trips and ceremonies. 

“I am so proud of our students and our families and our school for their grit and resilience as we, again, navigated a complicated, yet successful year of pandemic learning,” said Ottawa Jewish Community School’s Head of School Jon Mitzmacher. 

“The year was bookended by a growing sense of a return to normalcy — we began the year with a modified return to our annual Middle School Retreat, which was highlighted by a day of white-water rafting and closed with our first Grade 8 Grad Trip in three years.”

At Torah Day, Vice Chair Michael Goldstein pointed to the Grade 8’s as excellent representatives of the school’s commitments to excellence in education, Torah values and community.

“​​The grade 8 graduates were clear expressions of that commitment — from their Torah knowledge, to their beautiful middot, the volunteer work they do in the community and the close knit relationships [they have],” said Goldstein. “All of this was evident from the words they shared with participants and their comportment at their graduation ceremony.”

OJCS graduating student Yaakov Friedman said he was most looking forward to a summer at camp, and that he was excited for graduation. 

Yaakov’s mother Miriam said he was growing up too quickly, but there was lots to be proud of from his grade school time.

“Yaakov and his grade got to be in charge of the Macabee games at school this year, and do many school fundraisers,” she said. “Yaakov's been learning and working hard to prepare for high school.”

Yaakov said simply that learning online was “hard,” and Miriam said they try not to think about it, choosing instead to look ahead to making friends in high school.

Yaakov will be joining his siblings (twins), who are going into Grade 12 at Nepean High School. His sister has been the president of the Jewish Student Union for three years. 

“Our family has worked hard to do our best to make Nepean more comfortable for Jewish students,” said Miriam. 

And while he is looking forward to the next adventure, Yaakov said he’ll definitely miss his friends. 

“I can still keep in touch with them, but it's not the same as being in school with them every day,” he said. 

Goldstein said an element that is special about Torah Day is how the school supports each student’s unique interests, represented by how many different avenues their graduates are set to pursue. 

“Each student comes with different strengths and interests – and their next stage of life is taking various directions.”

Mitzmacher said that though a great group of students is graduating, he’s looking forward to regaining the pre-pandemic momentum. 

Congratulations to all graduating students from both OJCS and Torah Day School of Ottawa!