Each year, the Jewish Community of Louisville recognizes teens who have demonstrated exemplary leadership skills in BBYO throughout their high school experiences with the Stuart Pressma Leadership Development Awards. This year, Pressma Awards will go to Daniela Reuter, Michael Schwartz, Katie Segal and Emily Wolff.
The Pressma Awards were created to honor the memory of Stuart Pressma, an influential young leader who deeply valued leadership development. In addition to recognizing the leadership and achievements of these students, Pressma Awards include college scholarships.
The Tony Levitan Awards are new this year. They go to athletes who demonstrate outstanding traits, character and leadership, but are not necessarily tied to athletic performance. The Levitan awards include scholarships. This year, the award winners are Peyton Greenberg and Josh Rudy.
The Pressma and Levitan awards will be presented at the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Annual Meeting, Sunday, June 14, 9:30 a.m. at the Jewish Community Center. The community is invited.
Tony Levitan Awards
Peyton Greenberg, 18, just finished her senior year at duPont Manual High School, where she was on the swim team. She will swim at Northwestern University next year, where she was awarded a scholarship.
“I really enjoy my Jewish community. They’ve supported me throughout my sports career,” she said.
Greenberg swam on the Standard Country Club’s swim team when she was younger. She also competed in the 2013 Maccabiah games in Netanya, Israel, bringing home the gold in the 200-meter breaststroke and the silver in both the 100-meter breaststroke and a relay.
She has also loved her time with BBYO in the Jay Levine BBG chapter.
“I wasn’t able to put in as much time with BBYO as I would have liked because of swimming, but they were like another family to me. They’re great people to be around,” she said.
The award will help her achieve her goals in college.
“I’m extremely grateful for this award because it will help me in my future ambitions, and it also connects me with the JCC for the rest of my life.”
While Greenberg is undecided on her major, she is thinking of majoring in foreign affairs and French.
Peyton is the daughter of Richard and Deborah Greenberg, and the granddaughter of Judy and Norton Greenberg. “My grandparents have been a huge influence on my life,” she said. Her siblings are Lexie and Chris Cunningham, Aaron Kemper, Chan Jones and Ryan Greenberg. She’s a member of The Temple.
Josh Rudy, 18, just graduated from St. Xavier High School and will attend Miami University of Ohio this fall.
He played varsity basketball, and is thinking of trying out to be a walk-on for Miami’s basketball team. He worked summers at the JCC as a lifeguard, and was on the JCC’s Gators swim team for six years.
“It’s an honor to be recognized as a Jewish athlete and for making a difference,” Rudy said. “Especially at St. X, it’s unusual for that to happen. It’s kind of cool being the only one.”
Josh also participated in the Maccabi games in Omaha, where his grandmother lives.
His parents are Susan and Lewis Rudy, and his brother is Adam. He is a member of Adath Jeshurun.
Stuart Pressma Leadership Development Awards
Daniela Reuter, 18, is graduating from Ballard High School, and will attend Miami of Ohio next year, majoring in mathematics.
“BBYO has been the place where I’ve found all my best friends, and they will be my best friends forever,” Reuter said. She has served on the board of Jay Levine BBG and has helped plan regional events. Two years ago, she and Elana Wagner coordinated J-Serve, a teen day of community service.
Through BBYO, she said, “I’ve definitely found a much stronger appreciation for being Jewish, and it is now the most important thing in my life. I’m religious now, I know my prayers say them and believe them and it’s definitely impacted my life a lot.
“Not only with that, but BBYO helped me come out of my shell. I’ve never been quiet,” she added, “but I’ve never been so free to be who I am. They’ve helped me become a leader. … I’m grateful for everything they’ve done for me and the rest of Louisville.”
Daniela also works with young children at Keneseth Israel Preschool and lends a hand from time to time at the Jewish Community Center, helping with family gym and J-Play in the summer.
“I’m very thankful for this award. I’ve done a lot for BBYO, and BBYO has done a lot for me,” Reuter said. “This award is the icing on the cake of my time with BBYO.”
Her parents are Eugene and Diana, and she has a sister, Maja. They are members of Adath Jeshurun.
Michael Schwartz, 18, just graduated from Kentucky Country Day School and is going on to Indiana University to study business.
He’s been involved with BBYO since the eighth grade, and said he looked forward to it because his older brother was involved.
His now good friend Ben Koby invited him to a Bowling outing, and he “fell in love with it. The people and making connections are why I love it.”
He said he also loves the Judaic aspect of BBYO. “It’s helped me learn about myself and grow as a Jewish person.”
He’s held several leadership positions within BBYO, including Moreh (vice president for recruitment), S’gan (vice president) and Schliach (vice president for Judaism).
This will be his 10th year in camp at B’nai B’rith Beber Camp, in Mukwonago, WI, but this time he’s going as an employee – a fishing specialist.
“I don’t like to brag about myself, but I’m happy I was recognized for doing something good for the community,” Schwartz said. “It’s nice that my hard work paid off.”
He said he wants to thank the Jewish Community for giving him an awesome four years of high school and BBYO.
“I’m glad that I could give others in BBYO a good experience,” he said. “I hope to inspire young Jewish people to get more involved.”
His parents are Tom and Barbara Schwartz, and his siblings are Melissa and Robert. They are members of The Temple.
Katie Segal, 17, is graduating from duPont Manual High School, and will attend the University of Kentucky in the fall. She will major in business administration with a minor in Jewish studies, which she attributes to her time in BBYO.
“BBYO has been a safe place for me to meet new friends and it has gotten me a lot closer to my Judaism. It has led me to minor in Jewish studies at UK,” she said.
Segal has been president of Jay Levine BBG, and the chapter was named Chapter of the Year under her leadership. Last fall, she coordinated the regional convention in Indianapolis, and it went well, she said.
“I’m really honored to be picked out of a lot of applicants for this award, and I’m fortunate to have received it.”
Katie is the daughter of Joanne Weeter and Martin Segal. They are members of The Temple.
Emily Wolff, 18, is graduating from Louisville Collegiate School and attending University of Cincinnati in the fall. Before she goes, she will spend her summer working as a climbing specialist for Beber Camp, which she has attended every summer for 10 years.
She was recruited to BBYO by Natalia Lipp and fell in love with it. “I don’t have any sisters, and joining Jay Levine BBG was like gaining 20 sisters.”
She has served on her chapter board and as a regional chair. “For a lot of kids, BBYO and Jewish camp are the only way they feel connected to their Judaism,” Wolff said. “I got to show younger girls ways to connect with their Judiasm and that doesn’t have to be in the same way their parents tell them.”
She helped organize events and bonding sessions at conventions.
“At the conventions we had sessions on studying Torah portions or meditation, so there were different options for everyone,” she said. She said that BBYO has helped her overcome obstacles.
“I was really shy when I joined BBYO, and now I’m not,” she said. “BBYO changed me for the better. I love public speaking now, and I was on the honor board at school for four years.”
She is thankful she was able to win this prestigious award.
“What I like about this award is that I served in a couple of positions, but for a lot of things I just lent a hand. I didn’t have to have a label for a position to get the award.”
Emily is the daughter of Jonathan and Steffi Wolff, and she has three brothers Aaron, Isaac and Levi. They are members of Adath Jeshurun.