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Dallas Jewish Week

Yavneh Academy packs for big move


by Deborah Silverthorn

Special to DJW

Yavneh Academy of Dallas, a coed community high school offering Judaic and General Studies programs, is packing books, bags and tallesim to move to their own campus. Yavneh spent the past four years at Congregation Tiferet Israel with classes at Shearith Israel and the JCC in prior years. The new 3.8-acre campus, at 12215 Coit Road on property once occupied by Olla Podrida, was donated to Yavneh and Akiba by Howard and Leslie Schultz.

"Jewish day schools help preserve our values, ethics and morals," said Howard Schultz. "Our future walks through these halls and it is up to us to support that future. Here children will learn to embrace their heritage and that will influence them on future decisions in their lives. Supporting Jewish education is not and cannot be a matter of choice."

Yavneh, planning for its tenth year and recently reaccredited by the Texas Alliance of Accreditation, is a college-prep school offering four years of Judaic studies, four years of English and mathematics and at least three years of history and science. Most graduating classes since its founding in 1993 achieved among the highest average composite SAT scores in the Dallas area. Under Principal Donald R. O'Quinn and Rav Beit HaSefer Rabbi Michael Cytrin, the school now has 80 students in grades nine through 12; the new campus accommodates 125.

Yavneh, planning for its tenth year and recently reaccredited by the Texas Alliance of Accreditation, is a college-prep school offering four years of Judaic studies, four years of English and mathematics and at least three years of history and science. Most graduating classes since its founding in 1993 achieved among the highest average composite SAT scores in the Dallas area. Under Principal Donald R. O'Quinn and Rav Beit HaSefer Rabbi Michael Cytrin, the school now has 80 students in grades nine through 12; the new campus accommodates 125.

Both Yavneh and Akiba Academies will use the new campus. Beneficiaries of the Greater Dallas Jewish Community Capital Campaign for the 21st Century, both schools are raising funds and creating plans. The capital campaign helps fund building projects for ten local agencies supporting many areas of Jewish life.

"Having this much space to move and grow is incredible," said Jerald Gottlieb, Yavneh president. "While we have appreciated being guests in a number of locations since we started, the school will have its own identity and create a magnificent future.

"The students [will] invest themselves in their own place with their artwork and their fingerprints as part of the history of Yavneh."

Until the permanent school is built, Yavneh's campus is a 14,000-square-foot facility comprising modular buildings to be incorporated into the future campus. A 7,600-square-foot main building includes a fully equipped science lab; 8,000-volume custom-designed and furnished library; computer network; computer center; administrative offices; conference room; teacher's lounge; and three classrooms. Two additional buildings house six classrooms, an exercise room and a dedicated art room.

A 5,400-square-foot Beit Knesset/Beit Midrash seats approximately 150 for services and study. Also in this building are a large auditorium and fully equipped meat and dairy kitchens for students and staff.

The campus' centerpiece is a sports court and a 3,600-square-foot landscaped courtyard.

David Hoffman, vice president of building and grounds, is involved in planning the new facilities. "It's been a tremendous team effort between parents and school," said Hoffman. "[It has] resulted in a school that will raise the caliber of an already special education.

"Many parents, including Steve Rosenberg and Reena Greenberg, have spent many hours making this a reality. Having their own campus gives our children a sense of loyalty and spirit that we already see in their excitement and enthusiasm." Hoffman and wife Hagit moved to Dallas two years ago from Waco so their children, Jonathan and Hillary, could attend Jewish day schools. Jonathan is in his second year at Yavneh; Hillary attends Akiba.

Bill Dahlstrom, an attorney with Jenkens and Gilchrist, represented the school pro bono in preparing local and state permits. Accompanied by Howard Schultz and government class students, he presented the permits to the Dallas City Council, where Mayor Laura Miller and District 11 City Councilperson Lois Finkelman recognized the students' presence.

Ariela Rosenberg, a rising junior, is ready to move on. "The new move is a great opportunity for us. I think we are all excited to have our own place. Many of us, including one senior who just graduated, are looking forward to helping in the physical move."

"The main difference is in of pride of ownership," said Hoffman. "These children walk 'their' halls, sit in 'their' classrooms and daven in 'their' Beit Haknesset. It is 'their' Yavneh."


This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, August 1, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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