It is hard to believe that fifteen years have passed since the Jewish world experienced such enormous pride as Ilan Ramon and six other astronauts rocketed into space on January 16, 2003. It is equally hard to believe that it has been fifteen years since they perished on February 1, 2003, 16 minutes before landing at the Kennedy Space Center.
Having our school named after Ilan Ramon is an acknowledgment and a responsibility to Ilan Ramon’s legacy. The work that is done at our School is about ensuring a bright future for the Jewish people and preparing our students to meet the challenges of the 21st century, academically, socially and emotionally.
One of Ilan Ramon’s missions was to represent Israel and all of the Jewish people. The students at Ilan Ramon Day School are reminded about Ilan’s way of viewing his place in the world and are challenged to answer how they too will represent themselves and the Jewish people in their own lives.
At Ilan Ramon Day School, when we talk about preparing our students to meet the challenges of the 21st century, what we are really talking about is teaching our children how to think, how to learn, and how to be aware and considerate of others. We encourage their curiosity by teaching them to ask questions. Living in this rapidly changing world we truly have no idea what professions our children will pursue when they are in their 20s or 30s and therefore, must acknowledge that while so many of these careers have not as yet even been invented, we must still prepare them for that unknown, for that future. We do so, by teaching them how to look at the world and see all the possibilities that exist. We do so, by challenging them every day to reach new academic heights. We do so each day by placing in front of them the problems of today and ask them to develop solutions. We do so by pushing them to step out of their comfort zone, try something new, think differently and learn from failure. We do so by helping them understanding how to treat others with dignity and respect. It is through this approach that our students are prepared for whatever social, emotional or academic challenge that comes their way. They understand their past, know who they are, and posses the self-confidence to step into their future.
As our students learn how to learn and learn how to lead, they also learn that Judaism is a beautiful and colorful thread woven into the fabric of their every day lives. They learn about sacred time by celebrating Shabbat and the holidays throughout the year. Torah stories and Judaic studies help our students see their place in history and their connection to the Jewish people. The foundational Jewish education our students receive means they continue through life with a positive Jewish identity, a wider and richer context of our world, and an understanding that our actions have meaning and purpose.
Knowing that fifteen years after Ilan Ramon’s death his legacy lives on in the next generation of Jewish children, and that they are being guided and educated by you the parents, by our teachers, and by this school is a promise for the future.