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Valedictorian Speaks about Her Bialik Quilt

Anna Aquino writes, “In your life, the people become like a patchwork quilt, Some leave with you a piece that is bigger than you wanted and others smaller than you thought you needed… You leave pieces with some, and they leave their pieces with you. All the while each and every square makes up a part of what is you.”

Principals, Teachers, Family, Friends and Fellow Graduates:

You have all contributed a patch to the quilts of our education and personal growth. Each patch represents a part of our Bialik experience that has led us to this important day.

On entering Bialik in 2009, I was a very shy four-year-old, scared of everything including, rain, spiders, the dark, and especially people — tall people. I clung desperately to my twin brother, Jack,  who had entered this world, four minutes ahead of me, because I believed his head start meant he was more experienced than I.

My brothers, Jack and Noah, contributed the first patch to my quilt. They tolerated my hanging around them at recess during the first agonizing weeks of JK, and gently encouraged me to socialize with other kids. Our siblings are the most annoying yet comforting patches in our quilts.

Our parents and grandparents contributed the next two patches to our quilts.  They have instilled in us a love of learning and an understanding that hard work is a crucial aspect of academic achievement. I’m sure we can all agree they chose well in deciding to send us to Bialik.

Our teachers are another precious patch of our quilts.  Collectively, Bialik teachers have broadened my knowledge, fed my imagination, developed my skills, and reinforced the morals my parents taught me. Bialik teachers care and their care is apparent in all they do. We are so grateful to our teachers for their lessons both in and outside the classroom.

But the most central patch in our quilts is Bialik. Bialik is an amazing school which caters to our individual uniqueness, yet makes us all feel like a family.You may be surprised to know that I was one of those in charge of inspiring school spirit!

Gone is that shy, timid, little girl, who was scared of her own shadow. Bialik has played a crucial role in our coming of age. I know that I leave as a confident individual and we all leave equipped with a fully loaded tool box ready for high school.

Not only has Bialik set us on a path of personal growth, it has also provided the essential ingredients for living Jewishly. Through the study of Historia, Ivirit, Tanach, Chidon Israel, Massoret and Yiddish, Bialik has fostered in each of us an unbreakable bond with our Jewish heritage and the State of Israel.

My Jewish education suddenly resonated with me in a powerful way when I first visited Israel with my family. Being able to speak and understand Hebrew, seeing historical sites that I had previously only read about, and experiencing the peacefulness of Shabbat descend on Jerusalem, brought my Bialik education to life.

I would like to take this opportunity to address my fellow graduates. Over the past 10 years, I have seen our class really come together to create a unified student body. We have all grown into hardworking, independent, and kind people ready to embark on  the next chapter of our lives. Our grade has truly worked immensely hard and has been very patient to get to this day. It has been an incredible journey and you have all contributed colourful and beautiful patches to my quilt.

We will all miss the comfort, warmth and security of our Bialik quilt.  It has served us well for the past 10 years.   But now it’s time to move on to our next challenge, to high school, where we will all add new patches to our quilts.

Thank you, Bialik, and to everyone for being patches in my quilt. I hope that I have been a small patch in yours and I look forward to the tapestry that is our future.

Mazal tov!!!

Hannah Minsky
2019 Valedictorian (English)


Hear the words of inspiration from our Yiddish, French and Hebrew Valedictorians.

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