13 graduates completed their prerequisites in both Judaic and secular studies and graduated from Tucson Hebrew Academy (THA) on May 18, 2022, 17 Iyar 5782.
For the first time in three years, the ceremony returned home to Amster Auditorium on the THA campus after an online graduation for the class of 2020, and a drive through off-campus event for the class of 2021.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Lindsey Baker, COO of Jewish Philanthropies of Southern Arizona (JPSA) and THA graduate class of 1999. She spoke about her experience at THA, and shared wisdom and advice with the current graduates inspired from a cheer Rabbi Billy used to sing. “It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it, that makes us THA”, Lindsey shared. “Thinking back on this as an adult, the words of this cheer hit closer to home. My hope for you is that this value carries forth in you as you sunset your time at THA”.
The theme for the evening was “Red Carpet Style.” THA Principal and Director of Admissions Gabby Erbst presented the graduates with a Hollywood-style introduction, as they were nominated in categories such as Best Actress, Visual Effects Artist, and Best Director, to name a few. The graduates also viewed a video montage and reminisced about their time at THA.
At the end of the event, Rabbi Yosef Lopez with the help of the THA faculty and staff, got all the graduates under a huge Tallit (fringed garment worn as a prayer shawl) and blessed them with the traditional Birkat Hakohanim (The Priestly Blessing).
NOTES: After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the 2022 class was able to travel to Israel for their class trip in May.
One of the graduates’ fathers is a THA graduate, class of 1982.
Out of the 13 graduates, 1 will continue to University High School, 2 will study at The Gregory School, 1 will go to high school out-of-state, and 9 will attend Catalina Foothills High School.