Experiences build community and memories
Over the past 30 years, as our school has evolved, so have a series of traditions and annual events. They form the backbone of our community and our institutional memory.
Some of our most cherished programs are our Buddies, Family Groups, and Mitzvah/Service Projects.
Family Groups are formed from students of every grade. Throughout the years, they learn and grow together as they participate in games, volunteer opportunities, STEAM activities, and team-building events. Students of all ages act in leadership and service in ways that never cease to engage them.
Some of our most meaningful relationships grow from our grade-level Buddy pairings, especially our Kindergarten and Eighth Grade Buddies. As they celebrate Shabbat, read together, and engage in STEAM activities, the younger children encourage empathy in their older friends, while the older students are inspired to provide positive role models for the younger. One demonstration of the power of the relationship, is the frequent return of Big Buddies to their Little Buddies' graduation from Weizmann.
Monthly Grade-Level and School-wide Mitzvah/Service Projects
Like many schools, Weizmann fosters a sense of community responsibility and civic awareness by seeking out mitzvah/service opportunities. As an example, we gather as a school to collect supplies for Second Families Refugee Relief and other charities. Our students gather at Thanksgiving to prepare lunches for Pasadena's Union Station Homeless Services. The children collect weekly tzedakah donations for organizations of their choice.
But we take our commitment further by engaging in ongoing grade-appropriate activities that span years. From our youngest learners who visit elderly neighbors, to our 4th and 5th graders who volunteer at the Friends inDeed food pantry, all of our students are out in the community each month helping others.
By working with a given organization for months or years, our students develop
relationships with community members, a deeper sense of specific community needs, and confidence in their individual ability to make a difference.
Many of Weizmann's alumni feel a particular affinity for charities they first visited in our Elementary School and continue to volunteer with these groups for years after graduation.
We take many opportunities each year to gather together to honor our students, families, and staff. These events include:
The After Summer Splash Welcome (Back!) Party
The all-school party in August is the first time in the school year that the entire Weizmann community gets together for an evening of fun! While the children swim and play games, the adults chat and eat a potluck dinner. New and returning families as well as faculty and staff attend this start of the year celebration.
The Parent Party and Auction
This is an adults-only affair that is our largest community-building event and our largest fundraising event of the year. It's a fun and lively evening that is not to be missed!
Daniel Pearl World Music Days: Harmony for Humanity Concert
This special concert brings together Jewish, Muslim, and Christian students to sing songs of peace and understanding. Daniel Pearl was an accomplished journalist and musician who was killed by terrorists while on assignment in Pakistan in 2002. Celebrated in October to commemorate Pearl’s birthday, the Daniel Pearl World Music Days have included over 13,900 performances across 140 countries. Of those, this is the only interfaith youth event. Daniel Pearl’s parents, Dr. Judea and Ruth Pearl, often attend our event, as do city, state, and federal elected officials.
The Shakespeare Play
Each year the Middle School students devote two months to study, stage, and perform one of the works of William Shakespeare. The annual selection is a closely guarded secret until close to showtime, but past performances have included A Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, and The Merchant of Venice. We are extremely fortunate to have alumni parent Ben Donenberg, head of the Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival, as our director, and parent Adriana Roze as our stage and wardrobe manager.
The Thanksgiving and Spring Concerts
Our students showcase their musical talents in these performances which honor the seasons and our community.
This is a parent-only event. Following the all-school Welcome Greeting, parents meet with their childrens' teachers, in their classrooms, to learn about grade-level programs and expectations for the year.
The Book Fair: Dinner in our PJs
We kick off our weeklong book fair with a relaxed evening including a family dinner and storybook readings by teachers, parents, and surprise guests.
On this day we welcome and celebrate the grandparents and special friends in our students’ lives. The day includes breakfast and refreshments, class presentations, and classroom visits.
The All-School Science Fair
With assistance and direction from our Science Specialists, all of our students from Kindergarten up create projects featuring an investigatory question and following the scientific method. At the showcase, families are joined by scientists from CalTech and the JPL in interviewing the students about their work. Middle School students have the option of continuing on to the Los Angeles County Science Fair, where many of our students have been recognized for their achievements.
The Purim Carnival
For our school carnival, parent volunteers and Middle School students spend weeks planning games and crafts booths, collecting prizes, and decorating the school. The children and staff wear costumes and enjoy hamantaschen and other traditional treats, as we celebrate the "Whole Megillah!"
The Heritage Fair and PTO Auction
Weizmann students study the history of the United States and the important impact immigrants have had on the growth and development of our nation. We teach our students to respect and honor the diversity of the people of this country and the world. Our Heritage Week activities, culminating in the Heritage Fair, give our students the opportunity to share and celebrate their unique histories through foods, clothing, dances, and music. The night finishes with a Bang! of the Auction gavel. Families bid on restaurants, services, gift certificates, products, travel, and unique gift baskets created by our ASA specialist Amanda Pruess.
Lag B'Omer Field Day
All of our students gather in their Family Groups to participate in a day of outdoor fun, food, and team activities.
The Art Show and Open House
This special evening highlights the work of our K-8 students as we approach the end of the school year. The Social Hall is transformed into an art gallery showcasing the students' work from throughout the year. The teachers and students decorate their classrooms and display their projects, and we open our doors to the community. Unlike Back-to-School Night, which is only for parents, this evening is for everyone: children, parents, grandparents, newly accepted families, neighbors. Come and see what has been happening throughout the school, not just in your child's classroom. The only caveat: parents must stay with their children. We do not want any adults getting lost!
These ceremonies honor our students as they mark transitions in their young lives and their academic careers. Families and friends gather to witness our
First Grade Alef Consecration and their new Hebrew prowess; the
Fifth Grade Siyyum as they "ascend" to Middle School; the
Eighth Grade Graduation as we celebrate our graduates; and the
Twelfth Grade Alumni Assembly when we reconnect with our Weizmann alumni as they finish high school.