Weber School Graduation Returns to Ferst Center
Education & CampGraduation

Weber School Graduation Returns to Ferst Center

For the first time since the pandemic began, The Weber School resumed holding its graduation at the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech.

The Weber School’s 2022 graduating class.
The Weber School’s 2022 graduating class.

For the first time since the pandemic began, The Weber School resumed holding its graduation at the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech. Families who had come to watch their students graduate barely had time to sit before they were on their feet again, giving two separate standing ovations on the entrance of the teachers and the graduating class of 2022.

Graduating student Anna Bauman led the crowd in singing the national anthem, and her fellow graduate, Rachel Binderman, led the singing of “Hatikvah” alongside faculty member Adna Muliawan.

The head of the school, Rabbi Ed Harwitz, began by recognizing important members of the Weber community: board members, alumni, parents, current students and, in honor of the upcoming Memorial Day, all past and current members of the U.S. military and IDF. He also recognized Nicole Brite, the teacher responsible for organizing the graduation this year, to resounding applause.

Aaron Bock (left) and Kira Berzack (right) give the D’var Torah.

Principal Shlaina Van Dyke then stood to recognize the faculty and staff, specifically three retiring this year: Dr. Kalpana Kini, Cheryl Myrbo and Bonita Shelton. Each received a standing ovation from the audience, and the announcement of Shelton’s retirement was met with audible gasps.

Graduating students Aaron Bock and Kira Birzack gave the D’var Torah. Birzack also introduced the salutatorian and her “best friend,” Molly Fisher. The two shared a hug before Fisher took the podium.

Fisher tied together her experiences throughout her time at the school in terms of intelligence, heart and courage. She made sure to thank her AP Language teacher, Corinne Skott, who helped her entire class get 4s and 5s on the AP exam.

Valedictorian Danny Kobrinsky’s speech focused mainly on the people who had helped him along the way, starting with his family. He referenced his dad’s two favorite sayings: “Work hard, but make room for fun” and “the door to opportunity is marked ‘push.’” He also made sure to thank his Weber family, in particular, teachers Melinda Goodwin, Pablo Colombini and Charlie McQuade.

Psychology and history teacher Charlie McQuade addresses the graduating class.

McQuade was also the faculty speaker for the night. After being introduced by and hugging his TA, Isaac Lambert (“I don’t hug just anyone, this is a privilege”), he began his speech with a joke about his slight Scottish accent, telling the crowd to turn on Google translate. While his speech filled the auditorium with laughter as he took jabs at his students and himself, he also took a moment to focus on something he found deeply important.

“Ninety-nine percent of conversations are about your own happiness,” he said, “that’s a low goal.” McQuade encouraged students to instead find purpose in their lives. He told them that while motivation may go up and down, their purpose would always be there. “My purpose as a teacher,” he said, “is you” — at which point the audience stood up and erupted in applause.

The night was also marked by two spectacular musical performances. Class of ’22 members Joshua Forman, Naomi Kuropatwa, Isaac Lambert, Hayley Lieberman and Matthew McCullough played and sang a beautiful rendition of “Shir Hamaalot,” while Liana Bernstein and Miriam Burmenko, accompanied by Drew Cohen, performed “Uf Gozal” (“Fly Fledgling”), as per graduation tradition.

Associate Head of School Paul Ginburg presented graduates with their diplomas, announcing both the English and Hebrew names of each student. Rabbi Harwitz then closed the ceremony with the school’s traditional siyum, telling the students: “You are now true teachers, and teachers of truth.”

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