When Grandmother and Grandchildren Learn in the Same School
In an end-of-term ceremony, merit awards were distributed to students at Ohr Torah Stone’s Derech Avot high school in Efrat, including a Certificate of Excellence awarded to 68-year-old Edna Segev. “My grandchildren are the truly excellent ones, they constantly help and support me,” said the honored student.
Arutz 20 | 13/2/20
Among the high school students currently receiving the end-of-semester report cards, there is one unique class where students are in the sixth, seventh or even the eighth decades of their lives. For the past six years, the end-term and merit awards ceremony at OTS Derech Avot High School for boys has been celebrated along with students in the class for senior adults.
Among the certificates distributed to the high schoolers, 68-year-old student Edna Segev was awarded the Certificate of Excellence to great excitement by all of the school’s pupils, staff and guests who rose in her honor, cheered and sang to her.
“This certificate of excellence is hereby awarded to you for your persistence in regular attendance despite your significant physical challenges, your eternal smile, generosity of spirit, concern for fellow students and everything happening in their lives large and small, your heart of gold – which warms everyone around you, and the fact that you do all of this with tremendous modesty, humility and unparalleled unpretentiousness,” read the certificate. “May you continue to serve as a shining exmple to those around you and reap nachat from your offspring, including your two grandsons, also students at Derech Avot.”
The senior citizens’ class at OTS Derech Avot has about 30 students and began 6 years ago as part of an initiative led by the late Minister for Senior Citizens MK Uri Orbach in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Equality, the municipality and the community center. The students attend a jam-packed day of studies once a week which includes Parshat HaShavua, history, Jewish philosophy, art, computers and more. Students in the seniors’ class take part in general school activities, assemblies and ceremonies as well, and they are adopted each year by Rabbi Michael Weinstein’s 11th graders, who enjoy a number of joint activites during the year which provide a special opportunity for intergenerational learning.
At the end of the ceremony, Segev said, “It is so exciting for me to be here together with my grandchildren and to receive the certificate of excellence. But they are the truly excellent students. They always help me and support me and especially recently, when I haven’t been in the best of health, they worry about me all the time. All I did was come to study once a week; I really enjoying the learning and love the teachers and my classmates. I really feel lucky,” she said.
“Learning for life,” declared school principal Rabbi Yoni Hollander, “Our students experience and see that one can learn and enjoy learning at any age. We are delighted by the presence of the senior citizens’ class in our school and thrilled with the interaction that it enables between the generations.”
Avichai Foa, the senior citizens’ class coordinator notes that “as time went by and we saw the amazing connection between the older and younger students, we were gratified by our decision to open the class here. The communal events are so exciting and happy. It was heartwarming to see their genuine happiness and the great honor they bestowed on Edna during the distribution of the merit certificates. I hope and believe that this event will remain with them over the years and that they will always remember how important it is to respect the generations that preceded us.”