[by Phyllis Shaikun]
Each year, the Jewish Community of Louisville honors outstanding students who have been leaders in BBYO throughout their high school years with Stuart Pressma Leadership Awards. This year’s Pressma Awards go to Sarah Ensign, Molly Fine, Hayley Grossman and Talia Wagner. Three young men from this class were honored with Pressma Awards last year.
The Stuart Pressma Leadership Development Awards were established in memory of Stuart Pressma, a dynamic young leader for whom leadership development was a priority. The Pressma Awards include a scholarship to help defray the costs of college.
Recent Ballard graduate Sarah Ensign has left her mark on Jay Levine BBG by helping the chapter grow from just four members to close to 40 over the past four years. She also has taken advantage of every opportunity BBYO has offered throughout her high school years.
Ensign held several local leadership positions including serving two terms as chapter secretary (maskirah) and two as president (n’siah), and she helped train new MITS (Members in Training) at BBYO’s Camp Swoneky in Ohio. She also attended several Kallah training sessions, served one term as regional president (n’siah) and, in 2010, she was named N’siah of the Year and Jay Levine BBG was named Chapter of the Year.
In addition, Ensign participated in the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) High School Summit in 2009, was one of nine teen representatives to the General Assembly of Jewish Federations’ Jewish Futures Conference, was the head BBYO delegate to the Washington, DC Executive Conference, attended the ILSI (International Leadership Seminar in Israel) last summer and took part in BBYO international conventions in Dallas (2010) and Los Angeles (2011).
At Ballard, she was a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club and played field hockey. She plans to pursue a double major in journalism and fine arts and to be active with AIPAC at Indiana University. This summer she is working at the Jewish Community Center camp and traveling.
Ensign is a past recipient of the Stacy Marks Nisenabum and Joseph Fink Awards. She is the daughter of Julie and Jim Ensign and sister of Daniel Ensign. The Ensigns are members of The Temple.
When Molly Fine, recipient of a Stuart Pressma Leadership Award, goes to Indiana University this fall, the Ballard High grad will have fond memories of her time in BBYO to look back on.
Fine is a Louisville native, as were her parents, the late Miriam and Dennis Fine, and siblings, Max and Meredith. She had been involved with Jay Levine BBG and BBYO throughout high school both locally and regionally. Since her sophomore year, she has served on her chapter’s board as vice president of programming and vice president of Judaism/community service/ social action.
At Ballard, she was Hours secretary of the Beta Club and a member of the National Honor Society. She also played both field hockey and lacrosse.
“I am excited to be ‘leaving the nest’ and meeting new people in Bloomington,” said Fine. She says it will be nice to be near her brother and sister, who are currently studying at IU.
When her mother passed away in 2004, Fine, her dad and her brother and sister chose to memorialize her by creating the Miriam Fine Memorial Scholarship Fund to help provide others with the opportunity to enjoy the type of Jewish camping experience that had been so much a part of her life and theirs.
“I am so grateful to the Pressma family for establishing this fund to recognize seniors for their leadership skills,” says Fine. “We have worked together and learned together for such a long time.”
During her teen years, Hayley Grossman’s activities ran the gamut from memberships in Ballard High School’s Beta Club (she was vice president), National Honor Society (she took AP classes), the Bruin’s National Spirit Committee and Schools for Schools (that helps starving children in Africa). She also played varsity tennis her freshman and sophomore years, was a student ambassador, worked on the newspaper and in broadcasting, was a Governor’s Scholar and was last year’s Teen Topics editor for Community.
Grossman has been a Hebrew School tutor at The Temple and a participant in Kesher Kentucky. She received the Stacy Marks Nisenbaum Award last year.
Whew! If that wasn’t enough, she also found time to be active in BBYO and served two terms as n’siah (president) and two as morah (vice president of recruitment, retention and education). Over the past few years, she served on every committee for regional conventions, coordinated the KIO (Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio) regionals in 2010 and was regional Teen Connection chair in Louisville.
In 2009, Grossman was elected chapter sweetheart by Drew Corson AZA and was named regional sweetheart in 2010. She attended the International Convention in Los Angeles that year and was selected Regional Chapter Morah of the Year and recognized for the Biggest Recruitment Event of the Year. In 2011, Jay Levine BBG was named Chapter of the Year.
She is delighted to receive the Pressma Leadership Award and grateful for the leadership skills she gained in BBYO, which will come in handy when she arrives at Indiana University this fall.
Grossman is the daughter of Evelyn and Phil Grossman and has an older sister, Emori. The family belongs to The Temple.
Talia Wagner’s interest in dance, which has been a part of her life for years, led her to pursue the joint high school program offered by DuPont Manual High School and YPAS (the Youth Performing Arts School). In addition to performing at YPAS, she has danced with the Louisville Dance Alliance over the past two years. The group performed alongside the Vandivier-Ford dance company in March.
Wagner took lessons during the school year and is the dance specialist at Beber camp this summer – her 11th year at the camp and her first to be on-staff. She already completed Beber’s two-year leadership training program that included a three-week trip to Israel.
An honor student at Manual, from which she graduated in June, she received the Sophomore English Department Award and the Martha Graham Spirit of Discovery Award for her senior dance research project.
Despite her hectic schedule, Wagner was active in BBYO and served as Jay Levine BBG’s gizborit (treasurer), mazkirah (secretary), s’ganit (vice president) and chair of community service. She attended five regional conventions and many local events and was the first BBYO representative on the JCL’s Teen Programming Committee, which led to her planning the committee’s first-ever Teen Service Day last October.
She also was involved with CenterStage at the JCC and was a participant in the JCL’s Kesher Kentucky program. For the past four years, she was a trainer for middle school and teen callers for Super Sunday.
Wagner is proud to accept the Stuart Pressma Leadership Award and plans to use it for something college-related at the University of Florida, where she will be a pre-law student majoring in political science with a possible minor in dance.
She is the daughter of Sara and Howard Wagner and has two younger sisters, Elana and Yael. The Wagners belong to Adath Jeshurun and Keneseth Congregations.