By Hadar Ramot (’15), speaking at our annual Open House

I transferred into the Academy from Glenbrook South high school in tenth grade. The summer before sophomore year I was so nervous about what I was getting into: a dual curriculum, all the Judaic studies of which I had no previous knowledge, and how was I ever going make friends? On my first day of school, I realized I had nothing to worry about. My teachers were so sweet and caring and the students were so helpful. I never spent a minute alone and from that first day I knew there was nowhere else I would rather be. My Judaic studies are though- provoking and put so much meaning in my life, and I know the friendships that I have created here at the Academy will last a life time. I was truly able to get the religious chizuk (strength) that I came here for without losing any of the preparation for college so necessary in today’s world. In public school, there are so many students that one student is but a number in the crowd. Here at the Academy, however, every single student is important and is cared for. Each student makes an impact. Here at the Academy, it feels like family.

Last year, as part of the Shay Scholar s program, all of the transfer students were given a grant by Academy Alum, Scot Shay, to donate to any organization we wanted in the Jewish community. As chesed is such an important part of an Academy education, our group decided we wanted do something more proactive than just write a check. We all got together and chose to get involved with the Jewish Federation’s Uptown Café. With some of the grant money, we threw a lag baomer bonfire with smores to encourage all the students to participate in this amazing opportunity to give Tzadakah. The results were overwhelmingly beautiful — we got so much help from all the Academy students. A week later some of the Shay Scholars representatives went to volunteer at the Cafe and presented them with our check. It was an amazing life-changing experience for all of us and we hope to go back this year and make an even bigger difference in our community.

Transferring into the Academy was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has shaped me into the person and the Jew I am, and set me on an amazing path for life – one with not only strong Jewish values and morals but also with lifelong relationships with the students and teachers from Ida Crown.