Epstein students perform Fiddler in Hebrew

The Epstein Middle School 8th grade musical production of Fiddler on the Roof in Hebrew was a “perfect match” for almost 600 guests who attended the performance. The professional lights by Alan Kulbacki and sound by Keith Elliott helped to set the mood for the story, a tale of survival through tradition in a life of uncertainty and imbalance. A poor Jewish peasant (Tevye portrayed by David Nelwan) tries to marry off three of his five daughters. He and his wife Golde (portrayed by Heather Marcus) cannot afford a dowry to marry them off. Life is very hard and Tevye sings about the difficulties of being poor and of the Jewish community’s fear of harassment from non-Jewish neighbors. With song and dance throughout, Tevye insists that without their traditions their lives would be “as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.”

Epstein Middle School students brought this classic musical Jewish story to life and performed like the “sunrise on beautiful sets,” built by Lucas Causey. The original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof was nominated for ten Tony Awards and held the record for longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years. Epstein’s production of “Fiddler,” produced and directed by Michal Spiegalman with assistance by Illana Zimmerman, will be remembered by everyone who attended for many years to come!

Pace Academy head of Upper School resigns

Pace Academy seniors wore red to school April 30 in a surprise celebration of Lolly Hand Day.

The students handed out lollipops and gave personal testimonials about Hand, the departing head of Upper School and English teacher to many. Students also compiled and presented to Hand a book of letters from faculty, staff and classmates that held memories and thanks.

June marks 12 years at Pace for Hand, who will go on to serve as Head of Upper School at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans.

In announcing Hand’s resignation earlier in the school year, Head of School Fred Assaf credited Hand in helping “propel our school to new heights while keeping it grounded in fairness, honor, and a strong sense of community.

In my time here I have found Lolly to be the ultimate professional who cares deeply not only about the people with whom she works and her students, but she is someone who looks at the entire fabric of our school as she makes decisions.”

During her tenure at Pace, Hand set in motion many programs and procedures to strengthen the Upper School. She created a dean system for student support and better communication with parents and opened access to Honors and Advanced Placement courses, doubling the number of students in AP courses. She strengthened a focus on academic standards of College Prep courses and graduation requirements. She added courses such as a fourth year of math; a third level of foreign language; public speaking; statistics; established art as a full academic course and changed the sequence of science to a physics-first curriculum. She established respect and civility as equal to personal honor and made them the two primary codes of behavior at school.

Additionally Hand created Spring Arts Week and strengthened counseling functions, department chair work and the collaboration with parents through grade representatives and parent groups.