The 2016 graduates of Yemin Orde High School received their diplomas on Monday, June 20 in front of hundreds of family members, educators, friends and special guests.
This year’s graduation theme, “Journeys of Enlightenment,” reflected the immigration experiences of the students, most of whom are first generation Israelis. There were 107 graduates this year, including 16 French-Jewish youth who arrived at the Village in 2013 after a surge of anti-Semitism and violence against Jews in France.
Principal Galit Leibovitch addressed the Class of 2016. She encouraged the graduates to continue to seek new challenges and have confidence in their abilities to achieve success in their lives.
Similar to the “ancient Hebrews’ desert sojourn…you are also on a journey. See what you’ve already experienced! This journey (at Yemin Orde) will help you cope,” Leibovitch said. “Each person has his or her own true light. Go forward toward yours.”
Best Wishes to Our 2016 Graduates
Special guests included Karen Sallerson, Executive Director, Friends of Yemin Orde, who arrived from Washington, D.C. to attend the ceremony. Sallerson addressed the students, some of whom had recently visited the United States with Yemin Orde’s youth choir.
“You are human treasures!” said Sallerson. “You are the resources that Israel needs to be an admirable and enlightened nation.”
Family members who attended the program expressed deep gratitude for the Village’s educators, and for the personal growth and new opportunities for learning the elements of the Village Way methodology instilled in their children.
“You’ve not only taught our kids and given them the tools to learn,” said Beatrice Williams, who spoke on behalf of the graduate families. “You’ve also taught us how to help our children be happy. I’m proud that my son is part of the Yemin Orde family.”
Class valedictorian Oren also addressed the educators. “You gave us love and support, a listening ear, and limits,” he said.
Yemin Orde’s director, Shmuli Bing, encouraged the students to use their new skills as leaders and to seek new challenges as they venture out of the safety and comfort of the Village.
“You have a new path now, and of course you’ll take falls, but that’s the challenge for all of us—to get up after a fall,” Bing said. “I am sure that what you’ve experienced here will make for a better Israel. Be proud of yourselves because we’re already proud of you!”
The evening’s festivities included dinner and an original production of songs, dances and skits that reflected the teens’s experiences as immigrants when they first encountered children from other countries and cultures vastly different from their own.
“We helped one another, and our hearts opened to each other,” said one of the student/actors. “But really it was a four-year journey.”
Contact us to learn how you can visit Yemin Orde Youth Village and meet our youth on your next trip to Israel!