Heilicher Education Prepares Graduates for Real Life
Post-graduation summers are meant for fun, sun, and a little R &R. Recent Heilicher graduate Simone P. was off to a local college for basketball camp last week ready for an enjoyable week practicing her favorite game with friends. Upon check-in for the 5-day camp, she received an unwelcome surprise. Thankfully, her Heilicher education had prepared her for such an event. Here's her letter to the camp about the incident and their response.
LETTER TO CAMP LEADERSHIP
Dear Coach B.,
Thank you so much for an amazing 5 years of learning, playing, and making new friends. You and the other coaches have made an impact on my game and in life in ways that I can’t explain. Learning to always look for the good in people and always stay positive has helped me get on the right path.
There was only one thing that I noticed throughout the week that I have a suggestion about. In my 8th grade year I switched schools to a Jewish day school. We spent half of the year learning about the Holocaust and the tragedies that struck the Jewish community. I found that as I was checking in at Camp, having a number written on my forearm in black ink struck me personally.
The Jews in Auschwitz had numbers written on their forearms and that’s how they were known. My parents also noticed the number and they were upset and felt distressed. I know that in past years you have used these numbers to call out 3 v 3 teams. This year though, you used names, so having the number 29 written on my arm felt useless and wrong. My suggestion to you is to continue to use names or write the number on the name tag and not on the forearm.
I know that you didn’t do this intentionally. You may have just not known. I really appreciate the time that you have taken to read this email.
RESPONSE FROM CAMP LEADERSHIP
Thank you for the email. I deeply apologize for any offense that we may have caused you and your family. We will learn from our mistakes and will not be doing numbers again. Thank you also for having the courage to speak out about this and help us to become better and more culturally responsible.
It has been awesome watching your passion for the game grow and to get a chance to know and appreciate your awesome personality.
I am looking forward to another great week of camp!
After graduation, Heilicher alumna Simone P. encountered an uncomfortable situation at basketball camp. She decided to take a brave step to educate the camp about Jewish history related to an unintentional, yet offensive, long-standing camp practice.
New this year, on Monday mornings, we will have an All-School T’filah (prayer) service in the Dolly and Edward Fiterman Theatre. Our students will chant Torah each week. We’ll celebrate birthdays and milestones. And we’ll have a place to pray, whether that means working on our character, connecting with God, reflecting and/or rejoicing.
As a gift to her eighth-grade class for graduation, Ms. Weiss gathered student reflections and crafted them into a poem. These words of inspiration will stay with her students for years to come.