Dallas Doings
By Sharon Wisch-Ray

I thought it would be a slow news week this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but thanks to the stellar students at Yavneh Academy, I have lots of good news to report.
Additional thanks to Yavneh’s communication director and TJP contributing writer Deb Silverthorn for sharing Yavneh’s good news with us. By the way, we’d love to hear about your students’ and family’s good news too, regardless of where they go to school. Send it to me at sharonw@texasjewishpost.com

Yavneh’s Bulldog Print wins top journalism award

Congratulations to Yavneh Academy’s The Bulldog Print, which was awarded the “Best in Show” for broadsheet, 13- to 16-page newspapers at the 2012 National High School Journalism Convention, sponsored by the National Scholastic Press Association and the Journalism Education Association.

Yavneh’s The Bulldog Print staff won top honors at the National High School Journalism Convention in San Antonio last week. | Photo: Dalya Romaner

Additionally, seniors Rachel Goodman, Kelly Herson and Rachel Siegel received honorable mention awards for each of their respective timed writing entries during the convention’s “Write Offs.”
The convention took place Nov. 15-18 in San Antonio, with more than 5,000 students from 500 schools attending.
The Bulldog Print team comprises editor-in-chief, Siegel; editor, Herson; layout editor, junior Dalya Romaner; graphics editor, sophomore Scott Lacritz; advertising editor, junior Adam Steinbrecher; photo editor, sophomore Erin Smith; news editor, sophomore Hannah Delagi; features editor, sophomore Taylor Blue; perspectives editor, Goodman; sports editor, junior Jason Epstein; and entertainment editor, senior Hannah Gartner.
Also, reporters freshman Amitai Abouzaglo, junior Shanee Abouzaglo, junior Niv Avneri, sophomore Cassie Gross, sophomore Alexandra Lavi, senior Katie Lerer, freshman Mitchell Levinson, junior Hanna Liebermann, sophomore Ethan Pearson, junior David Rudomin, senior Mika Stein and freshman Erin Wernick.
“This recognition comes as a result of our in-depth reporting, quality writing, action-packed photos and skillful design, and I am now reminded of how lucky I am to be a part of the Bulldog Print staff,” Siegel said after the convention. “Sitting in workshops, composing articles during timed writing competitions and meeting other aspiring journalists from around the country, I realized how unique our staff and publication are.
“We write about issues sensitive to our Jewish community and act as a voice for the teens within it. We are repeatedly recognized for our coverage with a staff of only 25 and compete against schools with thousands upon thousands of students.”
Under adviser Sandy Hall-Chiles’ tutelage, The Bulldog Print has also won many national, state and local awards, including two Silver Crown awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, a Pacemaker Award from the NSPA and six Silver Star Awards from Texas’ Interscholastic Press Association. It was named Best High School Newspaper by The Dallas Morning News. The paper’s writers have won many individual awards for production, writing, and layout design.

More Yavneh news

Yavneh junior Shanee Abouzaglo was recognized by the Southwest Region of the National Council of Synagogue Youth for her leadership, passion and commitment to the Jewish Teens of Dallas. She is the daughter of Gianina and Shimon Abouzaglo and a graduate of Akiba Academy.
“What made our forefather Abraham worthy of fathering the Nation of Hashem? Was he cool? Did he wear an Abercrombie robe? No. He took responsibility, and Shanee is a young woman, a leader, someone who lives with a sense of responsibility,” said NCSY’s Rabbi Michel Lomner. “She is a leader who has grown up in a home filled with love and a sense of community, and we are fortunate to know her.”

Yavneh Academy senior Kayley Romick exchanged a signed copy of her poetry portfolio for a signed copy of Matt Bondurant’s “The Night Swimmer” at the WordSpace Salon earlier this month. | Photo: Shani Romick

Also, senior Kayley Romick stood center stage at the Nov. 15 gathering of the WordSpace Salon, a non-profit North Texas literary organization dedicated to supporting indigenous literature. Romick presented six of her own original poems.
A finalist in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 Express Yourself! Youth Poetry Competition, sponsored by the Dallas Public Library, Romick’s appearance was part of an evening that featured author Matt Bondurant (“The Night Swimmer,” “The Wettest County in the World” and “The Third Translation”).
“Dallas’ literary intelligencia was gathered to hear Mr. Bondurant, and, under normal circumstances, it would take a lot for a high school writer to impress this crowd. Still, Kayley did just that and they were most impressed by the maturity of her work,” said Tim Cloward, who instructs Yavneh’s creative writing program and is a former president of WordSpace. “Kayley was ready. She had revised and polished her poems, she was poised and in complete control.”
Romick returned the compliment.
“Dr. Cloward helped me immensely in this process. He is a great mentor and he always makes great suggestions,” said Romick, who began writing poetry during her freshman year. “I love not only writing but performing poetry because I can even more clearly articulate my thoughts to my audience.”
Romick, at the end of the evening, exchanged a signed copy of Bondurant’s book for a copy of her own poetry portfolio. Romick autographed her portfolio at Bondurant’s request.
She is the daughter of Shani and Jeff Romick of Plano and a graduate of Ann and Nate Levine Academy.

Alexander honored by Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity

Local lawyer James R. “Jimmy” Alexander was honored for his decades of volunteer service to the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity during a November gathering of Dallas-area alumni of the group. Fraternity national president Marc Perlstein, also of Dallas, presented Alexander with a certificate of appreciation for his unwavering efforts to support and develop the organization.

Sigma Alpha Mu national president Marc Perlstein, left, and James R. “Jimmy” Alexander, who was honored by the fraternity at a gathering of Dallas-area alumni this month. | Photo: Courtesy Sigma Alpha Mu

Alexander, who was born in Cleveland, was initiated into the fraternity’s SMU chapter in 1941. Two years later, the fraternity’s national magazine, The Octagonian, identified him as a “Man of Promise” in recognition of his two terms as president of his chapter and for being the first president of the SMU Hillel.
While pursuing his law degree at the University of Texas, Alexander became even more active as an alumnus. Since then, he has gone on to serve Sigma Alpha Mu in numerous roles at the local, regional and national level.
Alexander has also endowed two scholarships for students through the Sigma Alpha Mu Foundation. In 2009, he was the recipient of the fraternity’s “Distinguished Service Award,” an honor bestowed sparingly in the national organization’s 100-plus year history.
Sigma Alpha Mu was founded in 1909  at the College of the City of New York as a fraternity of Jewish men. Today, it has undergraduate chapters on 50 campuses across North America and more than 64,000 men initiated since its founding.

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