Published on August 1st, 2018 | by LedgerOnline0
Saluting Terrific Teens, Class of 2018!
As they do every year, West Hartford Magazine (WHM) and WeHa.com recently celebrated the town’s high school graduating class of 2018 by announcing their list of “Terrific Teens.” The list, which includes two teens from each of the town’s high schools, both private and public, puts the spotlight on young graduates who have worked hard throughout their high school careers. Among this year’s crop of achievers are three Jewish teens: Dalia Bruce, Maddy Pilskin and Jordan Oberstein. The following are (somewhat edited) interviews of Dalia and Maddy conducted by West Hartford Magazine. (Unfortunately, Jordan Oberstein wasn’t able to meet the magazine’s publication deadline; we hope to carry his interview at a later date.) In the coming weeks, you can also read about these “achievers” online at We-Ha.com.
Hebrew High School of New England
Dalia Bruce may think we picked her because her father, Rabbi Jeremy Bruce, is the former head of the Hebrew High School of New England, but we picked her because she is a great West Hartford young woman!
WHM: What advice do you have for incoming high school freshmen?
DALIA: Lots of crazy things happen in high school but it’s important to realize that they are all part of your growing experience, and you would not be yourself without them.
WHM: Who inspires you?
DALIA: My English teacher inspires me due to his vast knowledge and passion of the subject. He has a completely unique way of viewing literature and taught me how to think about the world in a new light. He not only taught me how to analyze books and poems, but he taught me how to relate these lessons to myself, my future, and the way I relate to other people. His classes were enthusiastic and supportive, and he was always so invested in every student’s thoughts and ideas.
WHM: Tell us about your hobbies and interests outside of school?
DALIA: I love playing goalie for soccer and playing ultimate frisbee. I love cooking and baking. I am interested and involved in politics – I’m currently working on Chris Murphy’s senatorial campaign – and social justice.
WHM: What you are looking forward to most about the coming year?
DALIA: Meeting new kinds of people in a completely different setting.
WHM: Where are you headed now?
DALIA: I will be attending the University of Maryland, College Park. I chose this school because of the location near to DC and its criminal justice program.
WHM: Give us a ‘fun fact’ about yourself.
DALIA: I own a pet snake called Burrito!
Hall High School
Madeline Pliskin, who prefers to go by “Maddy,” is smart, eager, and ready to make a difference in the world. We think she already has. Go Maddy!
WHM: If you could tell your freshman year self just one thing about high school, what would it be?
MADDY: I would tell myself to get involved earlier. Joining the student government and ultimately becoming the Board of Ed representative provided me with a feeling of belonging and pride in working to better Hall as a whole. Also, I would tell myself not to take everything so seriously!
WHM: Who inspires you?
MADDY: My junior and senior year English teacher, Ms. Blejwas, voted most inspirational by my graduating class, is an inspiration of mine. She teaches unconventionally, creating a writing space that breeds confidence and helps students find themselves through writing. She finds the good in every student of hers and is the most trustworthy reader I have ever and will ever have.
My wonderful twin sister Hannah inspires me every single day. Her kindness, compassion, and selflessness make me strive to be a better human being. She always thinks of everyone else’s feelings before her own.
WHM: What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of school?
MADDY: I am very passionate about human rights activism, especially girls’ right to education. I love being outside, travelling, going to concerts, and reading poetry. I also like spending time with friends and family. My favorite poem is “Somewhere a Carpenter” by Andrea Gibson because it reminds me of my Grandma Minnie.
WHM: What are looking forward to most about the coming year?
MADDY: I am most looking forward to the new community I will be entering when I begin college. I am excited to be surrounded by new diverse thoughts, beliefs, and ideas that will make me question my own. I am also excited to study subjects that I feel passionately about – biology in particular. I am also excited for the academic rigor and creating close relationships with my professors.
WHM: Where are you headed to college?
MADDY: I will be attending Brandeis University. I chose Brandeis because of its environment which fosters academic and personal growth, an environment unmatched by any other university I visited.
WHM: Want to share a ‘fun fact’ about yourself?
MADDY: When I am older, I want to become a fertility specialist. And, last June the Hartford Courant published my op-ed about President Trump defunding Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative which helped girls in underdeveloped countries to access education.