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BBYO Leaders Receive Awards

[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]

For many young people, involvement in BBYO (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization) is the first step to becoming a leader and a committed member of the Jewish community. Each year, Louisville’s JCC honors emerging young leaders and those who have been active in BBYO throughout their high school years.

This year, the Ellen Faye Garmon Award goes to Rachel Bass; the Stacy Marks Nisenbaum Award to Sophie Reskin; Stuart Pressma Student Leadership Development Awards to Rachel Klein, Ben Humphrey and Andrew Segal; and the Joseph Fink Award to Andrew Segal. The Garmon and Nisenbaum Awards provide funds to help BBYO leaders attend conferences to help them further develop their leadership skills. The Pressma and Fink Awards include college scholarships.

Rachel Bass

Rachel Bass, the recipient of the Garmon Award, just completed her sophomore year at Ballard High School, and is an active member of the Jay Levine BBG chapter, where she is currently vice president of programming. She served as MIT s’ganit (Member in Training vice president) and two terms as chapter mazkira (secretary). She helped plan an MIT program and a six-fold sleepover. This year, she was also a member of the Kentucky-Indiana-Ohio (KIO) Quack Committee, which produces a newsletter for the region.

She has also been on the Steering Committee for a Kallah (convention), the Publicity Committee, the Spirit Committee and the Steering Committee for Regionals; and has attended 10 regional events and all local events.

“I am really honored to get the award,” she said, “because BBYO has made a huge impact on me and I’m glad I am able to do something with it to help my community and the organization.” She thanks the Garmon family for the opportunity the award provides.

Bass is a member of Louisville Girls Leadership, a program where one sophomore girl from each school is chosen to participate in a series of seminars that cover women’s history, women’s rights, the leadership roles women have today, advocacy and politics. Next year, she will serve on the Steering Committee for the next class.

This summer will be a busy one for Bass. Now, she is working as a JCC camp counselor. She was also chosen to participate in a National Student Leadership Conference. She will be attending the journalism conference at the University of California Berkeley later this summer.

At school, Bass is a member of the student literary magazine, Collage’s, staff. She is also a member of Beta Club, Chemistry Club and Spanish Club.
During the school year, she also works as a teacher’s aid at Louisville Beit Sefer Yachad.

She is the daughter of Eric and Karen Bass and has a brother, Justin. The family belongs to Keneseth Israel.

The Garmon Award is given annually in memory of Ellen Faye Garmon, the daughter of Estelle and Selwyn Garmon, who died in July 1968 in a tragic accident. The fund was established by the Gamma Kappa Social Club in order to further the work of high schoolers who, in the spirit of Ellen, are involved in Jewish life through BBYO, the Jewish Community Center and in the general community. The Garmon Award is supported through the sale of all-occasion cards.

Sophie Reskin

Sophie Reskin, the recipient of the Nisenbaum Award, just completed her junior year at Ballard High School and is passionate about BBYO. From the time she was a member in training, she has loved BBYO and has attended every program and convention she could.

She also wants to make sure others have the opportunity to participate, so she has served as the Jay Levine BBG’s MIT morah for one term and morah for two terms, which means she has been in charge of recruitment, retention and education. Last year, she took that a step further and was elected KIO regional morah, a post she was reelected to for the coming year. She has also participated in many local and regional committees.

Through BBYO, Reskin was also able to attend the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference in Washington last March representing Louisville, Kentucky and the KIO region. At the conference, she heard Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and President Barak Obama speak. She also represented the KIO region at the Schusterman AIPAC High School Summit last November.

“I’m really excited” about the Nisenbaum Award, Reskin said. “It will be helpful, and it is an honor to win.” She is grateful for the scholarship.

At school, Reskin is a member of Beta Club, National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Zeta, a math tutoring club. She has also been a member of Future Business Leaders of America. Soon, she will be going to Europe with a group from Ballard High School.

Reskin also works at Dooley’s.

She has attended Camp Livingston for many years and will be a CIT this summer.

She is the daughter of Rhonda and Jim Reskin, and has a brother, Eric, and a sister, Hillary. The family belongs to Keneseth Israel.

The Stacy Marks Nisenbaum Award was created after her death by her three close friends, Stacy Gordon-Funk, Wendy Snow and Sally Weinberg, who felt the scholarship program was the best way to honor her memory.

Ben Humphrey

Ben Humphrey, a Pressma Award winner, graduated from duPont Manual High School’s Math, Science and Technology magnet program and will be going to Indiana University in the fall where he plans to major in business at the Kelley School of Business. He said he will probably be active in Hillel there.
Humphrey was surprised to get the award and is excited about it. “I appreciate receiving the award,” he said, and is honored to be a recipient.
During his years with BBYO and the Drew Corson AZA chapter, Humphrey served two terms as s’gan, programming vice president; and two terms as moreh where he was in charge of recruitment and education.

He said he planned “lots of events as s’gan,” including a kickoff pool party to begin the last year, and in the process, he “facilitated teamwork” within the chapter.

At school, Humphrey was a member of the National Honor Society for two years, Beta Club for one year, and the wrestling team for three years. He also serves on the Student Advisory Club at Gilda’s Club.

A member of The Temple, he helped with the congregation’s Hebrew School in eighth grade and received a Confirmation Class Leadership Award.
He is the son of Linda and Glyn Humphrey, and has a sister, Sophie.

Rachel Klein

Rachel Klein, a Pressma Award winner, is a graduate of Louisville Collegiate School and will be attending Indiana University in the fall. Although she has not yet chosen her major, she is leaning toward broadcast Journalism. She plans to be active in Hillel.

“BBYO is a huge part of my life,” she said. “It is everything I look forward to on the weekends. I love seeing my best friends from different cities at conventions. I’ve even gone to an international convention and made a bunch of friends all over the world.

“It’s an honor getting this award,” she said. “I’m excited and happy about it. Thank you to the Pressma family.”

With BBYO, Klein has served as coordinator of the KIO Regional Convention. She has also been vice president of programming for religious and community service activities and treasurer for Jay Levine BBG. She has attended many local programs and eight regional conventions.
At school, Klein was chosen by the faculty to represent her school in the Louisville Girls Leadership Summit.

She is a member of SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) and planned events including SADD Day and Red Ribbon Week. She is a member of Pep Club and has served as a student ambassador for visiting students and parents. Earlier in her high school career, she participated in cultural awareness, served in the Student Senate and performed in the school play, The Laramie Project.

Klein played field hockey and lacrosse throughout high school, including both junior varsity and varsity teams. In her senior year, she made the Kentucky Field Hockey Select Second Team and played on the District All-Tournament Team, and in lacrosse, she made the All-State team her junior year.

During her freshman and sophomore years, she was on the varsity swim team, and in 10th grade, she was on the varsity cross country team.
In the general community, she helped with the Gilda’s Club Camp and participated in several mitzvah projects, including BBYO’s Community Service Days.

She encourages other teens to “get active in the community and take advantage of every opportunity so you can become a leader.”
Klein is the daughter of Mindy and Jeff Klein; and she has two brothers, Jonathan and Michael.

Andrew Segal
by Phyllis Shaikun

Andrew Segal is a unique teen with intelligence, ambition and the will to succeed. A 2012 honors graduate of duPont Manual High School, he is headed to the University of Louisville where he plans to major in political science. He hopes to become a lawyer. He is a Harlan Scholar which gives him early admission to the UofL Brandeis School of Law and has received a Trustee’s Scholarship as a Hallmark Scholar.

With a high school career filled with a variety of leadership activities, Segal should have a leg-up on fulfilling his career aspirations. He served as gizbor (head of fundraising), mazkir (secretary) and shaliach (education vice president) for Drew Corson AZA and says he held all of those posts multiple times. His determination and willingness to do all that was expected of him and more earned Segal both a Stuart Pressma Student Leadership Development Award and the Joseph Fink BBYO Community Service Scholarship Award.

“When I was shalich,” Segal recalls, “I did series of talks for our chapter on what it means to be politically involved to help the freshmen understand why politics are important. We also discussed what’s going on in the world and how AZA fits into it.

“When I was gizbor, I discussed Parkinson’s disease and Dystonia so the guys understood what the illnesses were when we held fundraisers to support research for both conditions. And when I was shaliach, I helped organize the communitywide day of service for all teens in Louisville.” He also organized a fundraiser at the Jewish Community Center (as part of a National Honor Society initiative) that raised $1,000 to benefit victims of the BP oil spill on the gulf coast.

Through BBYO, he attended Kallah and regional conventions, took part in the Kick-off (the first major convention of the year) and the Spirit Conventions and twice played in basketball tournaments that won championships for his chapter. He plans to be an active member of Hillel at UofL.

His ongoing passion is raising funds to support the creation of an historical marker honoring the late Justice Louis Brandeis.  While taking part in a Kesher Kentucky tour of Jewish Louisville conducted by former Alderman Allan Steinberg, Steinberg mentioned it would be a good idea to erect a marker at Brandeis’ boyhood home. Segal took it as a personal challenge, and, to date, has collected close to the $2,500 needed to secure the marker through his own fundraising efforts and talks he has given at the Filson Historical Society.

Segal is very excited and honored by the awards. “I am thankful to the people who made these awards possible,” he said, “and their generosity will also benefit me.”

In high school, Segal was a Governor’s Scholar; served as a Congressional Page in Washington, DC; won several essay contests; was in the National Honor Society, Beta Club and the Advanced Program. He is a member of The Temple.

Segal is the son of Joanne Weeter and Martin Segal and is the brother of Daniel and Katie, who are freshmen at Manual.

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