Athletes of the Year Announced

Denver Jewish Day School announced its male and female athletes of the year Activities and Athletic Banquet on May 26..

2015 Athletes of the YearMale athlete is Daniel Bush, who came to DJDS in 5th grade. Daniel played Varsity football for George Washington High School and played Varsity Basketball for Denver JDS. In the fall, Daniel will attend Simpson College, in Indianola, Iowa, playing Division III football and studying exercise science. Daniel's favorite quote is from Aristotle, "We are what we repeatedly do.Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Female athlete is Alana Kaufman. Alana has attended DJDS since Kindergarten, was student council president her senior year, played Varsity Volleyball and Varsity Basketball for DJDS, and Varsity Tennis for George Washington High School. Her favorite quote is "Don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game," from Babe Ruth. Alana will attend the University of Texas at Austin and plans to study exercise science.

Fifth Grade Makes the Evening News

For the second year in a row, fifth graders at Denver JDS presented kindergarteners from Boston K-8 in Aurora with brand new bikes and helmets. Throughout the school year, students have been donating their own money, and running additional fundraising events to support their Helping Hands project, Wish for Wheels. May 13 was the culmination of the fifth graders' project, and 9News was there to capture the moment. Watch the video, which aired on the afternoon and evening news here. Helping Hands is the K-5 service learning program at Denver JDS, wherein each grade selects a recipient for the year and then both raises funds and, as appropriate volunteers their time and services for that agency.

6th Grader’s Story Selected

Daniel OesterleDaniel Oesterle, a sixth grader at Denver Jewish Day School, will be honored by The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration with publication of his historical family story. Last fall, as part of a family unit in Sue Lamport’s English literature and composition class, students wrote a story from their family history, based upon information they gathered by interviewing an older relative. Authors were then invited to submit their stories, and accompanying illustrations, if desired, to the Grannie Annie contest.

Daniel’s story, "The Siren Sounds," vividly captures his mother’s experience in Israel as a child, preparing for Iraq’s launch of chemical bombs into Israel, during the Gulf War. “This is a wonderful honor for Daniel and our school,” said Head of School/CEO Avi Halzel.

The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation based in St. Louis, Missouri. "Grannie Annie, Vol. 10," to be published in a paperback edition and a PDF edition, will include thirty-five stories written by fourth- through eighth-graders from across the United States. The stories, which are also published on The Grannie Annie’s website, describe events in fifteen different countries, dating back to 1861.

"We’d love for everyone to involve young people in The Grannie Annie," said Executive Director Connie McIntyre. "Together we can support and encourage students’ work in literacy and art, share history that's personal and relevant, and strengthen relationships in our families and communities."

The published authors have been invited to read their family stories and sign books at The Grannie Annie Book Signing Celebration on Sunday, June 7, at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, at 2:00 p.m. Following the Book Signing Celebration, illustrations and excerpts from "Grannie Annie, Vol. 10" will be exhibited at several locations in St. Louis.

Two DJDS Teams Compete in Moot Beit Din

Denver JDS recently sent two teams of four high school students to compete in the annual Moot Beit Din competition.

MBD - 2015 - awards in LAIn its eighth year of competition, 29 teams from across North America competed in Los Angeles in the largest Moot Beit Din competition to date. For the first time, Denver JDS had two participating teams including six students from Lowry: freshmen Alison Siegel, Melanie Brown, Julia and Marisa Senkfor; sophomores Rachel Wechsler, Julia and Tommy Gergely; and junior David Kornfeld. The Moot Beit Din coaches were teachers Ben Levy and Joel Rozansky. Students spent over a semester learning the art of debate and discussing the assigned case.

Rachel Wechsler commented, "the best part of Moot Beit Din was going to a convention where everyone is Jewish, everyone knew the same songs, and we all fit in. We celebrated Shabbat dinner together on Friday night and all sang Z'mirot."

Moot Beit Din is a program for students at Jewish high schools that challenges them to examine the ethical and moral dimensions of halakah (Jewish law) through creative engagement with contemporary situations. Combining the best of debate with legal analysis, Moot Beit Din exposes students to the vitality of the Jewish legal system and its relevance to their own lives.

Tommy Gergely explained, "it was great to get to know my fellow classmates better during this program and really wonderful to connect with Jewish students from all across North America. Being part of this debate panel was a great experience. I enjoyed learning more about the process of how cases work in a judicial setting. Moot Beit Din has deepened my interest in attending law school after college. I also loved being in L.A."

RAVSAK (the Jewish community day school network) is the organizer of Moot Beit Din. Organizers prepared a case dealing with social media, internet privacy and communication ethics. In the live competition, teams defended the written positions they submitted before a panel of judges. The Denver JDS teams both took third place against 29 teams.

DJDS Recognizes Outstanding Librarians & Volunteers

Denver Jewish Day School's Lower Division (grades K-5) has two part-time librarians in the Henry S. & Erna F. Rubinstein Library who bring their educational backgrounds and skills to the job. Brian Howard works with kindergarten through 2nd graders and Rachel Lieber works with students in grades 3 through 5.

Now in his fifth year at DJDS, Brian started his teaching path through the Stanley British Teacher Prep Program. Brian's planned career was television and print media but after coaching basketball camps, he realized working with students was his true passion.

Rachel, in her sixth year at DJDS, is receiving her masters in literacy in April. Rachel says, "I enjoy working with students to develop a love of books, a joy of reading, decoding phrases and gaining comprehension skills. I also find it rewarding to help kids who struggle with reading. My library lessons assist kids to gain real life lessons in what they are reading and see how it relates to their everyday lives."

Rachel further added, "this year we have a reading race in 4th grade. Such a race expands students' interest in different genres. Students at this age tend to read one genre and with this race they are reading books from different continents which forces them to read different genres. This new technique has been widely popular among students."

Library VolDJDS is also the recipient of many volunteer hours and book donations for the Rubinstein Library. Librarian Howard stated, "I am so pleased to have the assistance of outstanding community members who are making a nice difference in the lives of our elementary students during library time each week."

Ellen Fliegelman, grandparent of a kindergartner, has made numerous book contributions both last year and this year in the form of age appropriate, nonfiction instructional texts. Some of these books she purchased for the Rubinstein Library and others came from her personal library.

Beth Radetsky taught in Denver Public Schools for 20 years in kindergarten, 2nd grade, ESL classes, as a reading specialist and for Gifted & Talented classes. Howard added, "Beth helps out wherever needed, drawing on her many years of classroom experience." Beth stated, "I love working at Denver JDS. The students are delightful and very inquisitive. I am able to work with them in small groups every week and continue to use my teaching skills."

Sherry Stark, grandparent of a second and fourth grader, has given input on the overall appearance and organization of the library as she once was part owner of a local children's book store. She works in the Rubinstein Library every Wednesday. Sherry mentioned, "After I had my own children's book store, I then had my own gift basket business for 10 years, followed by working at The Bookies Bookstore. My love of children and books has long been part of me. Now I am enjoying work in the Rubinstein Library as we organize and spruce up the library and make it a really fun place for all the kids. I love the school and being a part of it. Brian is great and we are constantly brainstorming ways to make the library a modern and enjoyable place for the kids to learn, read and have fun. "

The Rubinstein Library computer catalog lists 10,000 books that meet the needs of our 220 students in grades K-5. Students have library class time every other week to learn about how to use a library, check out books, do research and find interesting books to read. Librarian Brian Howard also spends time in classrooms working with students with reading skills. Howard stated, "over the last few years we have made a concerted effort to remove old, outdated books from our shelves and get the most current fiction and non fiction books to be used by our eager learners. I am very proud of how the Rubinstein Library looks these days and know that students really enjoy their time spent in the library."