Senior Eliana Bazer was 12 when her father, a rabbi and colonel in the Massachusetts National Guard, was deployed to Afghanistan. Although he wasn’t in a combat role, she worried about his safety. Her father, in turn, was careful about what he shared during those seven months. “I didn’t find out until he returned that one time, the vehicle he was traveling in was shot at,” said Eliana.
Eliana shared her recollections of those difficult months at Gann’s first full-school assembly dedicated to Veterans Day. “The vast majority of our students don’t have a close relationship with a veteran, so we wanted to honor those who serve in a way that would be relatable,” explained History Department Chair Yoni Kadden, who helped Assistant Head of School Frank Tipton in conceiving and planning the event. The assembly spotlighted Gann community members who have service members in their extended families.
Gann staffer Donna Welch talked about her son who fought in Iraq and junior Jacob Fosterthen read a favorite poem of Donna’s son called The Infantryman. Senior Chava Whittum was one of several people who read letters military personnel had written home—in her case, one from retired four-star General Colin Powell. More veterans' stories from the online audio archive StoryCorps were shared at the assembly as well.
Senior Maya Rubin said that she was impressed by a slide displayed at the assembly with 73 names of military personnel related to Gann community members. “I never would have known that so many students had relatives who had served,” she said. Junior Zach Sherman commented that interspersing the Gann stories with those from StoryCorps was an effective way of “connecting the Jewish community at Gann to the greater American community.”