Village Way partner communities recently hosted special graduation celebrations at high schools and other educational communities across Israel. These 26 communities are part of the Village Way Educational Initiatives framework, which is designed to empower educators in Israel with resources and training to better help their at-risk students learn and become productive citizens of Israel.
Students’ talents and achievements were highlighted for friends and family members who attended. For example:
- At Tamra Technology High School, a student painted on stage as music played, and another presented a short one-woman show .
- At Yad Shapira Ort Technology High School, a student choir performed for guests.
- At Mahat Akko Ort Technology High School, a school dance troupe performed for friends and family.
At Amal Technology high school in Tel Aviv, where the majority of its students are Israeli-Arabs, educators had a particular challenge when planning graduation celebrations, as the last day of school occurred during the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from pre-dawn hours to past sunset. In order to accommodate those families observing Ramadan, the school hosted a celebratory break-fast meal during the evening so that they could all eat and celebrate together as a community.
At the graduation ceremony at Manof Youth Village, Zehava, the director, reminded graduates that the Village was their forever home and encouraged them to return in times of need.
“We saw you go through good times and difficult times, dealing with failure and also ‘repair,'” Zehava said. “You learned to ignite your dreams and to care about others; you broke the patterns of yesterday. We are all here for you – before, during, and after the army with scholarships for your studies and with support when you need it.”
The Village Way methodology is also influencing wider circles, including family members. At Beit HaBoger, a therapeutic residential community, parents said they were grateful for the support of the entire community in helping to successfully educate their at-risk children.
“Who do I thank first? The security guards? The secretaries? The informal educators? The teachers? The management? The kitchen staff?” said a mother of a graduate.
We wish all of the graduates of our Village Way partner communities hearty congratulations as they go on to their next adventure.