New facility set to open in fall 2010
By Cindy Mindell
When Ann Pava became founding president of the Hebrew High School of New England 14 years ago, she was pregnant with her third child and mom to two toddlers. Having high-school students at home was only a faint notion in the distant future. At the time, Pava was working for the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, “so for me, it wasn’t surprising to be involved on this new school board,” she says. “Envisioning a Jewish community in all its facets means seeing beyond what is only important to me at the moment. All together, everything in a Jewish community is very important whether or not I participate fully in all its aspects.”
One of those toddlers graduated last year from HHNE, one is finishing up his junior year there, and Pava’s youngest is a freshman. “I’ve been watching this school with love for many years,” she says.
Pava, now honorary chair of the school’s board, is co-chairing HHNE’s 14th annual scholarship dinner on June 14 at 6 p.m. at Beth El Temple in West Hartford. Pava says that she was especially happy to volunteer this year because of the event’s three honorees, building-committee members all involved in bringing the new HHNE campus from the drawing board to its ground-breaking earlier this year. The new facility is located on Bloomfield Avenue across from the Mandell JCC. It is scheduled to open its doors for classes at the start of the school year this coming September.
Board president Ted Zablotsky, board member Gene Wittenberg, and treasurer Michael Black will be recognized for serving as volunteer project managers, shepherding the school through the complex and time-consuming pre-construction permit process.
With enrollment increasing year by year, the 80-student HHNE has outgrown its home in the basement of Congregation Agudas Achim in West Hartford. “For me, finally getting a building is so exciting and a dream come true,” Pava says. “These three men have worked on this building project around the clock since we began to move forward on it. They have been so devoted and have saved the school tens of thousands of dollars in project-management costs. I wanted to make sure that this dinner is successful in their honor and in honor of our new building going up.”
HHNE was founded as a regional school, serving not only Hartford and surrounds, but also greater New Haven and Western Massachusetts, and receiving financial support from the three Jewish federations. If enrollment continues on its current trajectory, the school hopes to see 120 students within the next five years, Pava says.
“We are so grateful for the community’s generosity over the last 14 years,” Pava says. “Another reason I’m chairing the dinner is that I’m hoping that people use the opportunity to continue to support the school as they are able,” by purchasing space in the event’s ad journal and coming to the dinner. “This is really a pivotal moment for us because we’re growing in size and moving into the new building.” Pava says that the new campus has been designed as a modest, efficient, and green facility, with an eye to the current economy and to people’s available resources.
For more information about the scholarship dinner: www.hhne.org / (860) 231-0317.