Look out Marvel and DC Comics — The Epstein School has a pair of superheroes of their own in school nurses Joyce Tritt and Jessica Blatt.
While there may not be an extended cinematic universe around them, Tritt and Blatt were honored on May 1 at the school’s annual gala, “Superheroes in Scrubs,” at Zoo Atlanta.
Held in the spacious Savanna Hall, the gala featured a lineup of kosher dining options provided, by Proof in the Pudding, for the first time by Zoo Atlanta as it debuted its kosher kitchen.
Guests were encouraged to congregate on the outdoor mezzanine overlooking the Savanna exhibit, where they were treated to a pair of majestic elephants slowly strolling through the containment area, munching on bamboo.
The featured guests both shared their appreciation for the school and its community for the lavish, outsized celebration in their honor.
“We are both overwhelmed by the support we’ve had from our school that has gotten us through COVID [so far] … and helped us maneuver through the pandemic,” Tritt said.
Blatt said that their roles as Epstein nurses during quarantine extended far beyond abiding by the Hippocratic Oath.
“We would have done this anyways because we love our jobs and we love being nurses,” Blatt said, “but we are also highly invested in Epstein.”
The nurses then described what a typical work week was like for them during lockdown and in the early stages of COVID.
“We would work, basically, the entire weekend,” Tritt said.
Blatt added that they had to stay in contact with community members seven days per week in case someone had tested positive for COVID.
“And then, every single Sunday at, like, 8 a.m., we would meet in our jammies on Zoom with Dr. D [Dr. David Abusch-Magder, Head of School] and the principals and whoever else,” Blatt said. “We would work all day. We basically abandoned our families for two years,” she said with a sly smile, adding that, though they felt horrible about that fact, it allowed them to keep all of their children in school and on track.
Blatt noted that, between herself and Tritt, they have a family member currently enrolled in nearly every single grade at Epstein, skipping only the second grade.
“I mapped it out one day,” Blatt said, laughing, adding that the superheroes share personal history as well.
“Joyce was my school nurse when I was in school,” Blatt said, smiling and hugging her fellow heroine in scrubs.
David Welsher, associate head of school and elementary school principal, also spoke about the impact that Tritt and Blatt have made on the Epstein extended family of students, teachers, professionals and community members-at-large.
“Every year we pick someone who has really impacted what we do at The Epstein School,” Welsher said. “This year, during a pandemic, the best two people we could think of were [nurses] Jess Blatt and Joyce Tritt.”
Welsher commended Tritt and Blatt for the roles they played during the pandemic — serving on the front lines, staying up to date on ever-changing federal guidelines and mandates, all while traversing the daily hazards of our social distancing paradigm.
Speaking of the zoo’s new kosher kitchen, President and CEO Raymond B. King said, “We recognized the need for Atlantans to have an exciting new venue with the built-in capacity to execute large scale, high-end kosher events.”
The high-end and beautifully lit offerings made for an inspiring, memorable evening for the Atlanta Jewish community.
“It is great to celebrate those who have one-on-one contact with the staff, teachers and, most importantly, the students,” Welsher said. “And making sure that our Epstein community remained safe as we went through the pandemic.”
- Epstein School
- school nurses
- Joyce Tritt
- Jessica Blatt
- Zoo Atlanta
- Savannah Hall
- Superheroes in Scrubs
- Proof in the Pudding
- Dr. David Abusch-Magder
- David Welsher
- Jewish Education
- Raymond B. King
- DC Comics