First Fruits: Celebrating Gann Babayit
This past weekend, we commemorated the Jewish festival of Shavuot. Shavuot is the ancient festival that is also known as Chag Ha’Bikkurim or the "festival of first fruits." The first fruits were the choice crop brought to the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. As the Torah states in D’varim 26:2: "You shall take the first of every fruit of the ground that you bring in from your Land that your G-d gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that your G-d, will choose."
At Gann, we have our own Bikkurim to celebrate. In the midst of our pivot from in-person to remote learning, we are also able to illuminate many of the achievements and new innovative student programs that have emerged from this period of change. As the year comes to a close, I’d like to share some exciting "first fruits" from springtime here at Gann:
Shavuot Parade and Drive-By Learning
This past week, to celebrate the festival of Shavuot our Jewish life team organized a creative "drive-by" Shavuot parade. The parade involved multiple stations including donating canned good to JFCS Family Table, receiving some delicious cheesecake, and learning some Torah. We even had one teacher dress up as Moses.
Silver Lining Project with Jill Rubin '23 and Adam Rubin '22
Brother and sister pair Jill and Adam Rubin recently lost their beloved grandfather to COVID-19. Their grandfather was a healthy, active octogenarian who last saw his family this winter in Florida. The kids were not able to say goodbye. As part of the grieving process Jill and Adam are bringing "the Silver Lining Project" to Gann.
The project asks students to share their gratitude via video, photo, or message on social media. Fifteen-year-old Jill writes: "During this pandemic, I decided I wanted to find something to do that is meaningful to me. As many of you know, I am going through a tough time with the passing of my grandfather, and I know so many others are facing stressful and challenging times as well.I wanted to find a project that would be uplifting for all of us."
David Broza Creates a Personalized Song for Gann 10th Graders
Sophomore Jonah Tillman '22 and senior Nadav Konstantine '20 have started their non-profit for teenagers called “Party Israel” which shares Israeli culture, music, food, and spirit with local teenagers. When Gann had to postpone its Israel course for 10th graders, Tillman and Konstantine reached out to David Broza to perform a special song for Gann students.
Live n' Learn
To replace our annual Exploration Week, Gann Director of Experiential Education Shani Winton pivoted and together with Gann teachers planned a series of three-day courses called “Live n’Learn.” Students took courses such as bird-watching, learning how to play bridge, cooking, photography, Flower sex, Evolution, and Discover, and other exciting activities that got kids off Zoom and exploring new passions and interests.
Gann Summer School
Interim Assistant Head of School Lily Rabinoff-Goldman has worked with Gann faculty to create a summer program for both Gann and non-Gann students to take courses online. This opportunity is especially helpful resource for the community given the widespread cancellations of summer camps and internships. Registration information is now available at summer.gannacademy.org.
9th Grade Enrollment is Up
We are thrilled to have enrolled a robust Gann Class of 2024 and to be welcoming over a dozen transfer students to Gann. The incoming class represents a diverse group of rising 9th graders. Students hail from multiple middle schools (Jewish Day Schools, public schools, and Independent Schools) as well as diverse communities. Students will bring a multitude of interests, hobbies, and passions to Gann. The next generation of Gann Academy has arrived and they are amazing human beings.
Gann Commencement June 14, 2020
With gratitude to our deans and advancement office, we are in the midst of planning a "Drive-In" commencement that will provide a once-in-a-lifetime memory for our Class of 2020. We don’t want to give any details away but stay-tuned, you won’t want to miss this. Please note: guests and community members will be invited to participate remotely. The in-person, social-distanced event is open to Gann graduates and their families only (one car per family).
There is so much more to share. The virtual community is bursting with activity and learning. We are grateful to all of you for helping us realize the ambitious vision of a pluralistic Jewish high school experience in Boston. This experience is truly transformative for our kids in normal times. But Gann has proven to be a beacon of light and hope and connection in difficult times.