The 2017 graduates of Yemin Orde High School received their diplomas on June 20 in front of hundreds of family members, educators, friends and special guests.
This year’s class of 120 graduates proudly strolled across the amphitheater’s stage to receive diplomas and heartfelt hugs and applause. Galit Leibovitch, Principal, Yemin Orde High School, praised the graduates for their four years of hard work.
“Each of you is individual with a unique, God-given voice,” she said
Graduates Have Pioneering Spirit
Class valedictorian, Adiso Tekalla, whose family emigrated from Ethiopia, addressed his classmates and the hundreds of guests assembled in the Village’s amphitheater. Adiso remembered the challenges of the first few months when he and his classmates arrived at Yemin Orde.
“It wasn’t easy for us at first – we had conflicts and arguments. But soon after, we decided to get to know each other in depth and to learn what we all have in common so that we could become good friends,” said Adiso.
Special guests included Melvin and Lorraine Robinson, board members of Youth Aliyah Child Rescue UK, a supporting philanthropic partner of Yemin Orde and other educational communities for children at risk in Israel. Melvin Robinson, who also serves as board chair, Youth Aliyah, addressed the graduates and their families.
“We’ll always do our very best for the Village. We’re so very proud of you all in your achievements, and in how you have all grown into exemplary young men and women. We are one family and are dedicated to making the world a better place. Start each new day believing in your dreams!” Robinson said.
From Survival to Leadership
Following the graduation ceremony and a special dinner, the evening’s festivities included an original musical production that reflected the teens’ transformative experience at the Village. (photo, right)
Shmuli Bing, Director, Yemin Orde Youth Village, said he recalls the shy personalities that accompanied most of the graduates during their first year at the Village.
“It was our job to help you find your path, and together we have built up your belief in yourselves,” Shmuli said. “You came here in survival mode and have ended up taking responsibility for yourselves. You decide what you will change about yourselves. It’s easy to complain but that isn’t what we’ve taught you. In difficult times, you now have the strength to cope.”
Many graduates will now attend a gap-year leadership program before serving in Israel’s military or volunteer service. These programs, called Mechinot in Hebrew, will strengthen academic and leadership skills, as well as important life skills necessary for a positive military service and for civilian life that follows.
Yemin Orde Will Always Be a Home for its Graduates
Yemin Orde’s Graduate Program provides academic scholarships and financial assistance in times of need. Indeed, the promise that “Yemin Orde will always be there for you” is important to every person who has ever lived at the Village.
Additionally, graduates who enter the military or volunteer in Israel’s National Service Program often receive financial and emotional support throughout their service. The Graduate House in the Village is designated for graduates to stay if they have nowhere else to go while on military leave, on Shabbat, or other occasions.
Click here to read the success stories of Yemin Orde’s graduates.