Jessie Lehman '19 reflects on her 13 years at CESJDS
Change is hard. I have been a student at CESJDS since kindergarten, and the thought of leaving is, for lack of a better word, weird. In my life I have a routine: I go to school, hang out with friends, participate in a variety of after-school activities, and spend time with my family. While there are a few surprises here and there, like which songs we sing in a cappella or a pop-quiz, my life is full of things I know. Next year as I head off to Tulane University, I will face a series of unknowns and questions. Will I get along with my roommate? Will I enjoy my classes? Will I ever eat a home cooked meal again? While all of these questions have been swirling around my head for the past few months, I have realized that I am fully equipped to handle it, all thanks to JDS.
When I walked into JDS as a tiny 5 year old, I had no idea how influential this school would be. And for most of my time at JDS, I didn’t appreciate or even realize how I have grown and developed into who I am as a product of the School. But now, as I reflect on my thirteen years as a JDS student, I could not be more appreciative.
From a young age, I was encouraged to collaborate with my classmates in both an academic and artistic setting. I learned the skill of empathy and tolerance through meaningful discussions with those around me. Mutual respect filled my conversations and classes with my teachers. I hold with me passions that brighten my everyday. All of these things are skills that, without even noticing, JDS has given me. This toolkit I have makes me confident that I will be able to thrive in the future. This is because wherever I end up, I will always have the skills to communicate with and respect others, fill my days with things I enjoy, and broaden my perspective of life.
JDS has not only shaped me into who I am, but given me something so beyond special: the Class of 2019. I have watched each of my classmates develop into kind, compassionate, and intelligent people. They are what allowed me to utilize JDS’s values. Something I have noticed about my class is that we carry an undying sense of love and support for one another. Whether it be dancing in the senior alcove, participating in riveting debates about prevalent issues in society, running one of the best Senior pranks (a TSA-themed entrance to the school), or having meaningful programs on Shabbatonim, our grade loves being together. In the words of a classmate’s parent, when one of us wins, we all win.
As most of my class will accompany me on the JDS capstone trip to Israel and Eastern Europe in just a few weeks, I know that trip will not be the end of my grade’s strong connection. Thanks to JDS, I will have almost one hundred supporters there for me if I ever need. With my JDS toolkit in hand, and the Class of 2019 in mind, I know there is nothing I can’t achieve. I cannot thank JDS enough for that.