Scheck Hillel Community School celebrated academic excellence, resilience and leadership at the 2019-2020 Jaime and Raquel Gilinski Hillel Ambassador Recognition Ceremony and Student Assembly on September 17. Our community saluted the program’s founders, this year's Ambassadors and families, and the nearly 100 students and alumni who were named Ambassadors in previous years, representing 11 generations of the school's finest. Ambassadors for the 2019-2020 school year are Jolie Fiske ‘20, Anna Freiman ‘21, Samuel Levy ‘20, Yael Sefcovich ‘20 and Naomi Tangir ‘20.
The program’s faculty advisor, Upper School English Teacher and Department Chair Andrew Butler, encouraged students to embrace their mistakes as stepping stones to success: “Nobody ever made it to the top without taking risks, and the hardest part about taking risks is confronting the possibility of failure,” he told the audience.
In their remarks during the ceremony, Ambassadors reflected on the hard work involved in moving out of their comfort zones. Jolie Fiske took an important step in her personal development, deciding to stop procrastinating: “I told my friends and family about this and I asked them to keep me accountable.”
Anna Freiman confronted her fear of failure by pushing herself to join new programs and talk to people she didn’t know. “Now, everywhere I look...I try to focus not on the challenges...but rather on the opportunities that lie ahead.”
Samuel Levy applied to be an Ambassador five times before making the final roster this year. Each time, he learned a new lesson. “Never give up on yourself and what you believe in,” he said. “Failure is just a step along the way to success.”
For Yael Sefcovich, a passion for cooking and stories from great chefs taught her to persevere. “It’s never taken a chef just one shot at creating their perfect dish. The process of developing recipes is one filled with errors, revisions, and of ‘okay, let’s try that again’.”
Naomi Tangir looks back at missed opportunities, and is now making up for them proactively. She volunteered at a children’s home in Israel and pushed herself every day: “I learned the power of attitude. Keeping your head up and wearing a smile on your face goes a long way.”
Meaningful words from Scheck Hillel alumnus and proud Hillel parent Gabriel Gilinski '05 offered inspiration and a challenge:
“Hillel is a place you’ll be able to come back to 15, 20 years from now, and feel that you belong. And that is a very unique opportunity in this world today. The only thing I would ask of the Ambassadors is to always remember to come back.”
The Jaime and Raquel Gilinski Hillel Ambassador Program is the first merit-based scholarship of its kind in Scheck Hillel history. Created in 2009, the program recognizes students in Grades 9-12 who demonstrate their commitment to learning in extraordinary ways. These students are school ambassadors to the extended community because they bring to life the Scheck Hillel mission through accomplishment and talent…whether in the classroom, on the field, on stage or in the community. In recognition of their achievement and with great appreciation for the Gilinski family, mazal tov to these extraordinary student leaders!