While you probably won’t see Ted Danson or Shelley Long walking around anytime soon, Frankel Jewish Academy is definitely the place “where everybody knows your name”. A sit down over lunch with the ten students who transferred to FJA this year from a plethora of local high schools, including Avondale, Berkley, North Farmington, Seaholm, West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills, and Walled Lake Schools, proved that this is a big reason why they made the switch.
“One big difference I noticed is that when you’re at a larger school a lot of the teachers and students are kind of a face in the crowd,” says Ella Egrin, an FJA sophomore who transferred in the first semester of the school year. “But when you’re here at FJA, all of the teachers know your name even if you don’t have them and everyone genuinely cares about you.”
Students like Aidan Keenan and Mitchell Blackman, both juniors, agree that because FJA is a smaller school, there are many opportunities to participate in sports, clubs and activities that they didn’t have in their previous schools. Aidan recently traveled with the FJA Robotics team to Israel to compete in the 10th Annual Nadav Shoham Robotraffic Competition. The team brought home first place in one of the competitive categories. But even before they made it home, they received a video of all their peers cheering and wishing them a Mazal Tov.
Mitchell is on the boys varsity basketball team, which had a phenomenal season this year. He says had he stayed in public school, he may never have had the opportunity to even play on the team, let alone make it to second place in the Division. He’s looking forward to welcoming a new group of students to the team next year and continuing on a successful path.
Sophomore Adin Lofman says individualized attention and one-on-one help from teachers is easily accessible and recounts a memorable moment that showed him how much the teachers care about each student: “I was having trouble in one of my classes and the teacher asked me when I was available to come in at lunch instead of me having to ask them when they were available.”
While they all have their own reasons for making their move to FJA, the students expressed some common themes: smaller class sizes, close relationships with faculty and staff, cross-grade interaction in classes, clubs and extracurricular activities, access to honors and AP classes, strong relationships with colleges both in and out of state, and the ability to be who you are without judgement.
FJA is fulfilling their mission to “inspire students to think critically, creatively, and compassionately… to become lifelong learners and leaders.” Students are encouraged to explore Judaism individually and to find a personal connection to their culture. The ten students who transferred to FJA this year, just like the rest of the student body, come from various backgrounds with different interests and goals. They are all embraced individually and come together as a cohesive group of future leaders that will make the Detroit Jewish community proud.