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Reflections by Our 2022 Valedictorians

At Graduation on June 16, 2022, we were very proud to honour seven students — chosen from both branches — as Valedictorians. Congratulations to the three emcees who led us flawlessly through the ceremony — Cameron Goldstein, Max Herczeg and Eidan Kastner — and to the four who addressed the audience in all the languages taught at Bialik —Zachary Koifman, Yiddish Valedictorian, Harris Davidson, French Valedictorian, Jessica Zak, Hebrew Valedictorian, and Samantha Small, English Valedictorian. Please enjoy the excerpts from their inspiring speeches.

“This year, we learned about the impact of our voice. What we say matters and we must use it as a tool. Being a silent spectator is simply not an option. We were taught to always be inclusive and that we must use our voice to tackle the changes that need to happen — not a month from now, not tomorrow, but today. When we leave Bialik, we must encourage discussion with individuals about what we have learned. This includes speaking out against antisemitism and continuing to participate in Truth and Reconciliation, Black history education, learnings on the LGBTQ+ community, and mental health awareness. These conversations that began at Bialik, are just that… the beginning. It is our responsibility, the Graduating Class of 2022, to continue these conversations, aiming for change.”

Samantha Small, English Valedictorian 


“די לעצטע 9 יאָרן אין ביאַליק, פֿאַר מיר,  זייַנען זייער גיך געפלויגן!

אין נאָמען פון אַלע גראַדואַנטן, איך וויל זאָגן ״אַ האַרצן דאַנק ביאליק״,

 צו אונדזערע לערערס און אַדמיניסטראַציע, פאַר זייַנע חכמה, 

צו אַלע תלמידים פאַרן פרייַנדשאַפט, צו אונדזערע משפחות פאַר די ליבע און תמיכה. אין איין וואָרט, ביאַליק איז אַ גרויסע און שיינע משפּחה. 

“Bialik has been my home away from home. I’ve been here for nine years and would not be the same person I am today, if I was at any other school. You may be thinking, finally we’re done school. But nope, we still have high school, undergrad, masters and for some of us a PhD. And I know during this future time, we will all continue to shape ourselves into the best Mensches we can be. The Yiddishe way, the Bialik way.”

Zachary Koifman, Yiddish Valedictorian

“La remise des diplômes est un moment pour réfléchir et, si l’on considère ces dix fabuleuses années, on peut affirmer que Bialik a joué un rôle crucial dans nos vies à tous. Bialik nous a appris à être un mensch et a renforcé notre lien avec Israël et le judaïsme. Nous avons tous été ici pendant des périodes différentes, ça n’a pas d’importance. Nous avons tous obtenu les mêmes leçons extraordinaires de Bialik et nous avons tous créé un lien éternel entre nous. Je me souviens que lorsque nous sommes entrés en 6e année, tout le monde était très nerveux: comment seront mes professeurs, quelle quantité de travail y aura-t-il ?”

“Graduation is a time to reflect and as we look back on our 10 fabulous years, it is safe to say that Bialik has played a crucial role in all of our lives. Bialik has taught us to be mensches and has strengthened our bond with Israel and Judaism. All of us have been here for different amounts of time but it doesn’t matter. We all obtained the same amazing Bialik lessons and have all created an everlasting bond with each other.”

Harris Davidson, Yiddish Valedictorian

“לביאליק קהילה תומכת של מורים ומנהלים שעזרו לנו לפתח כלים לחיים של “לפתח”: התגברות על אתגרים ואתגרים. במשך תשע שנים ביאליק העניק לי כל כך הרבה ערכים חשובים שעיצבו את מי שאני היום. אחד הערכים החשובים ביותר שלמדתי הוא לא לוותר!”

“Bialik has a supportive community of teachers and principals who have helped us develop tools for a life of growth and overcoming challenges. In the last nine years, Bialik has given me many important values ​​that have shaped who I am today. One of the most important values ​​I have learned is to not give up!”

Jessica Zak, Hebrew Valedictorian