CJHS Hits 10 Year Mark--and Celebrates
A decade after Chicagoland Jewish High School opened its doors, the community is taking a look back at the progress made.
A lot has changed at Chicagoland Jewish High School since graduate Becky Kupchan first walked the halls 10 years ago. "I honestly think it's a totally different place," she said.
Kupchan was one of 26 students who made up the first freshman class at CJHS back in 2001, "It was hard," Kupchan remembered. "There wasn't any tradition to follow; everything was being built around us."
Ten years later the Deerfield school has about 160 students who come from 20 surrounding communities.
Pioneer students such as Kupchan and founding families and faculty members were honored at an event Oct. 17 that kicked off the school's anniversary celebrations.
The festivities featured a live video feed from Africa with Dr. Ron Silver who had just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in efforts to raise funds and awareness for tuition assistance at the school. "This is not about me at all, it's about our community," Silver said during the live feed.
Three of Silver's children have graduated from CJHS, and school administrators say he's extremely committed to ensuring the survival of Jewish education. To prove it, Silver scaled the 19,000-foot peak in five days and placed a CJHS flag at the summit.
Kupchan has molded perfectly into the type of person Silver wants CJHS to produce. After graduating from high school she attended Brandeis University outside Boston and then spent a year in Israel working at an advocacy center for Ethiopian Jews.
Now back in the United States, Kupchan works for Shorashim which is a nonprofit organization that connects Israel and North American Jews. She says she was hired by none other than her high school history teacher at CJHS who is now an employee at Shorashim, noting, "It's all in the family."