Emma Kofman-Vanek – Graduation Address – June 9, 2021
School wasn’t always the place I want to be, until Brandeis.
Ever since I was little, my family and I have always moved. We started in DC, moved to New York, then Israel, then San Francisco, and next year back to Israel again. Five different schools with many new friends. Where I was always the new girl. All in 14 years.
I didn’t always have the best experience socially. Whether it was dealing with bullies or not fitting in, I can tell you that school wasn’t always the place I wanted to be - until Brandeis. When I arrived at Brandeis on the first day of school, I was welcomed by the wonderful community who became my classmates.
Thank you to my friends for always making class fun. Whether it was laughing and singing at the top of our lungs during bar and bat mitzvahs, knockout games during lunch, talking with the kindergarteners, or clapping to the tefillah prayers offbeat, there were always many laughs.
Even though I started out shy and wasn’t the best student, my teachers saw the potential in me and pushed me to be better. Thank you to Ms. Freeman for always making math fun and creative, to Mr. Seymour for dropping my hydro flask, and for all the class jokes and projects, to Ms. Daniels for always pushing me to work harder, and to Mr. E for teaching me more about the Tanakh stories, the meaningful but off-topic discussions, and letting us do the Macarena on Fridays.
I want to say a quick thank you to my parents and my brother, Jonjon. To my parents for always supporting, and being there for me. And to my brother Jonjon, for being my best friend. I love you guys so much!
So what exactly am I saying goodbye to? I mean goodbyes are all different, right? Some are for a day or a month, but others are forever. What am I leaving exactly? Brandeis? My friends? the memories? the lessons I learned here? No, I’m not saying goodbye to Brandeis. I’m taking it with me.