Community Vows to “Play It Forward” in tony's Memory
More than 350 past and present members of our Hillel family gathered virtually on Sunday, April 19, to remember Tony Sanders, our friend, colleague, and athletic coach who died on April 2 from complications of the coronavirus.
“You could always count on him to brighten your day,” said alumna student athlete Nia Kepes (class of 2016). “He always made students feel heard. He even made running drills fun. His encouragement made us do our best.”
Coach Tony had a gift for treating students as players, said parent Barett Zeff (class of 1983), whose sons Luke (class of 2019) and Dane (sixth grade) played sports with Coach Tony. “After a brutal loss, he would sit with the team, knee to knee, and speak honestly. He had a deep understanding of people, how to talk to them, how to teach them.”
Coach Tony’s extended family took part in the memorial, and said they were heartened by the outpouring of love and concern for the family. “Hillel was a big part of Tony’s life,” his wife Leslie wrote in a message read by her brother, Mark Jackson.
In turn, Coach Tony was an integral piece of the fabric of Hillel. “His presence made Hillel a special place. He made sure kids were safe and looked after. He held our athletes to a high standard, and moreover, he emphasized good sportsmanship,” said Alita Rossen, a long time 5-8 division head at Hillel.
“Through all of his helping, cheering, supporting, and playful antics, he created a mosaic of love,” former P.E. teacher Nancy Croitori said. “In his memory, let’s all ‘play it forward.’”
We invite you to engage in these meaningful ways to celebrate Coach Tony:
Give to the Sanders Family Support Fund to support Coach Tony’s family during this challenging time. Hillel will collect and disburse the funds to his family on behalf of all who give.
Pledge or give to the Coach Tony Memorial Scholarship Fund at Hillel. Celebrate Coach Tony’s life at Hillel and his impact on the Hillel community and students he loved.
yom hashoah keeps memory of six million alive
Our school community usually commemorates Yom Hashoah at school in solemn remembrance of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. This year our commitment to doing so remained strong as students participated in meaningful memorials from their homes throughout the day.
Eighth graders created memory slides that evoked the lives and communities lost to the atrocities of the Shoah; some also read the names of victims in a Holocaust Memorial Center livestream; and fifth through eighth graders made plaques made available by the March of the Living that will make their way to Poland to line the train tracks to Auschwitz.
And as always, students heard from survivors, who were able to share their stories thanks to the use of technology. In a Zoom call with the sixth grade, survivor Lola Schonberger, 91, born in Czechoslovakia, told her story.
She said she survived the Holocaust as a laborer, chopping trees, digging ditches, building an airport, enduring marches. She recalled acutely the hunger and the cold she endured in cattle cars, at Auschwitz, and as she moved from one place to another, relying on the kindness of others when she received it, and despite not receiving it when it was not extended to her.
Mrs. Schonberger emigrated to Detroit with her husband after the War, and today thanks God for the ultimate victory - her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, Despite the loss of many family members, “God was good to me,” she said. “Life wasn’t easy, but I survived.”
language arts and math: learning at home
This week second graders learned new subjects as teachers created learning environments that mirror as closely as possible the classroom setting.
At the outset of a new character development unit, students brainstormed the character traits of their grandparents just in time for Grandfriends Day today. Next week, teachers will read aloud Frindle, by well known children’s author Andrew Clements. Students will then be tasked with using evidence from the text to answer questions related to the protagonist, Nick.
The read aloud will mirror the way students learn at school, teacher Julie Tigay said. "Just as they listen to a story at school with a snack, we are encouraging them to do the same at home. Lessons like these will launch an activity, such as responding to the teachers' questions about the text.
"We want learning at home to feel the way it does at school," Mrs. Tigay said, "presenting lessons similarly to the way we do there."
In math, the students have learned that digits are defined by their position in a number. They mastered ones, tens, and hundreds at school. Now teacher Jessica Shindler is teaching the 1,000 digit in a hands-on manner. Mrs. Shindler tasked her students with counting small household objects such as Legos or cereal pieces in groups of ones, tens, or hundreds, until they reached or estimated 1,000.
“I’m really impressed with the way students completed this assignment,” Mrs. Shindler said.
Earth Day, every day
Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and our students celebrated by exploring ways to help the earth at home -- through recycling; repurposing items around the house to make something new; and making art out of materials found outdoors.
“Students did a nice job making 'new' homes for toys, or showing how their families recycle,” K-3 science teacher Missy Borman said. You can view examples here.
Our eighth graders have been challenged to create an Earth Day-themed Rube Goldberg, a complex machine to complete a simple task; teacher David Venning and his three daughters, who helped him launch the challenge by building their own Rube Goldberg, will vote “on the most epic designs,” Mr. Venning said. “I hope the kids get into it as much as we did, making one in our home.”
ecc students reach out to those recovering from covid-19
Our ECC students are making get well cards for people recovering from COVID-19 with a little help from parents in our community. Dr. Lauren Eichenbaum will deliver images of the cards to those in recovery; the artistic templates the children are choosing from were designed by Cindy and Carl Skanderup, owners of design firm blissandbone.com.
"We jumped on the opportunity to help," said Cindy Skanderup. "We're thrilled to be able to help people feel good during this crazy time!"
virtual playdates keep kids connected
Playdates are virtual these days, but nonetheless vital to many children’s sense of normalcy. First graders Hannah Rosenberg and Emma Tischler often get together over FaceTime to make new furniture and accessories for their American Girl dolls.
Naturally, says Emma’s mom, Hillel kindergarten teacher Elissa Tischler, while everyone is in isolation, “there are many emotions in our house, and Emma is often at her happiest when she gets to talk to her friends!”
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join our next town hall
As our remote learning continues through the end of the school year, the Leadership Team invites all parents to a second Town Hall meeting on Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. Please submit your questions here no later than 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29. Please use this link to join the event.