Jennifer Ohana, an English teacher at the Hebrew Academy RASG in Miami Beach, recently received the Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz z’l (in memory of) Teacher Initiative Award from the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education.
Ohana has been teaching English for more than 26 years, with 19 of those years at the Hebrew Academy RASG, and she is often recognized for connecting her students to the world around them. Through this grant, she will team up with her co-worker, middle school science teacher Javier Gonzalez, to implement a project-based learning initiative for eighth-grade students, Renewable Resources to Renew Lives. The program will include science, language arts, Judaic studies, and civics to help students learn to use environmental resources more responsibly and to use scientific knowledge to make a difference in the lives of others.
To kick off the project, students will be required to explore the challenges that communities around the world face when it comes to resources, like energy and water, in an experiential scavenger hunt. For the science component, students will visit the Kosher Food Bank to understand the needs of local Jewish families. Then, students will engage in a hands-on learning experience to understand the electricity needed to power their homes and the solar power that would be required to provide that same amount of energy.
“The inspiration for this initiative came when I was introduced to Innovate Africa, an Israeli organization. This organization introduces Israeli technology, specifically solar power and drip irrigation, to change the lives of villagers throughout Africa,” said Ohana. “While I wanted to teach my students about this organization, I also wanted them to follow its example — to take the knowledge that we have to change the lives of others and change the world.”
Ransom Everglades champion
Daniel Figueroa of Ransom Everglades School recently won first place in the seventh-grade division of the National History Bee in Chicago — topping more than 200 students nationwide and giving his school its first national champion in the history of the competition.
Figueroa is a member of the junior varsity geography team, which went undefeated and won the 2019 Southern Florida History Bowl earlier this year.
“To win the national championship is an incredibly difficult thing to do,” said history team coach Joe Mauro. “Daniel is extremely studious, has an insatiable curiosity about history and always wants to learn more.”
In the history bowl competition, Ransom Everglades placed 13th out of 64 teams with Chase Dubovy finishing in the top 10 for the sixth-grade division and Leo Fein finishing in the top 20 for the eighth-grade division.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami recently partnered with Project Ready for School, a nonprofit organization that aims to help students succeed in school, to host its first joint Back to School Event last weekend at the Carnival Center for Excellence. Elementary, middle and high school students received free uniforms, backpacks and school supplies to help them kick off the new school year.
During the event, students and their families participated in a host of activities including face painting, yoga and meditation, acrobatics by Les Ailes du Desir Foundation, and haircuts from Talent4Change. Students received backpacks from the MONAT Global Gratitude Ambassadors.
“Every student deserves the opportunity to go into a classroom with the tools necessary to breed success from day one,” said Gale Nelson, president, and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami. “We are excited to partner with an organization that shares our commitment to the community and strives to provide students with the resources they need to excel in the classroom.”
Kiwanis Club backpack giveaway
Members of the Kiwanis Club of Northeast Miami-Dade recently hosted their annual backpack giveaway in the North Miami Beach and Sunny Isles Beach areas. More than 100 backpacks were given away filled with supplies, including notebooks, rulers and pens.
“My mother was a single parent who raised three children; I know personally that single moms have it tough and this event helps,” said Lana Nudel, Key Club administrator for The Kiwanis Club. “The Kiwanis Club sponsors Key Clubs, which offer students opportunities that they may not have at home. Key Clubs also help with the backpack program and is an ideal organization for students to develop friendships and leadership skills.”
For more than 25 years, the Kiwanis Club has hosted the charitable backpack giveaway event. Club members partnered with the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department and several school counselors.
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