Stuart Pressma Leadership Development Awards

[Archived from June 5, 2009]

[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]

The experiences of their high school years are critical for teens who are learning leadership skills and discovering their Jewish identities. In Louisville’s Jewish community, the BBYO (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization) creates opportunities for teens to lead a wide variety of programs and activities; to stretch their wings and try for regional, national and even international leadership posts; and to build strong Jewish identities through fun-filled activities with other Jewish teens.

While many BBYOers assume leadership responsibilities during their high school years, a few go above and beyond. The Jewish Community of Louisville’s (JCL) BBYO program honors those exemplary leaders with Stuart Pressma Leadership Development Awards when they graduate high school. This year, Rachel Ford, Alyssa Lapin and Alyssa Wolff will receive Pressma Awards, which include a scholarship to help defray the costs of college.

Rachel Ford

A senior at Manual High School, Rachel Ford has been participating in BBYO since she started high school.

She a past president of the Jay Levine BBG chapter, and helped plan many activities, including this year’s Senior Appreciation Day.

A past Garmon Award winner, she attended CLTC (Chapter Leadership Training Conference) and regional LTI (Leadership Training Institute) and participated in many BBYO activities.

During the summers, she works at Red Pine Camp in Minocqua, WI, where she teaches waterskiing.

At school, Ford participates in Beta Club.

She plans to attend Indiana University and major in nursing.

“I would like to thank the Pressma family for this award,” Ford said. “I feel very honored to be chosen as a recipient.

Her parents are Patti and Frank Ford, and she has two brothers, Ian and Mitchell. The Fords are members of Congregation Adath Jeshurun.

Alyssa Lapin

A senior in Manual High School’s High School University program, Alyssa Lapin has been an active BBYO participant and leader throughout high school.

She has served as the Jay Levine BBG chapter shlicha for three terms, which means she has been in charge of Jewish programming. She planned a family Shabbat and was in charge of the Havdallah service at a recent sleepover.

Lapin has also attended two conventions, LTI and a regional Kallah; and has organized a lot of recruitment programs for her chapter.

In addition to BBYO, she is an active member of USY (United Synagogue Youth) and served as the Louisville chapter’s social action/tikkun olam vice president. She also attended USY conventions and is a member of Adath Jeshurun.

Her strong commitment to the Jewish community is evident every year as she volunteers on Super Sunday for the JCL’s Annual Campaign. The year, she and three friends created a special presentation and spoke at the Campaign’s Major Gifts Event.

At Manual, Lapin is a member of the National Spanish Honor Society, through which she volunteered for Adelante, a program for Hispanic Achievers. She is also a member of Beta Club and volunteers at Kosair Children’s Hospital

Lapin has attended Beber Camp every summer and will be on staff there this year. She also went to Israel with her family on a community mission last winter break.

In the fall, she will attend Indiana University. She hasn’t decided on a major yet, but is leaning toward psychology.

“It was a surprise” to receive a Pressma Award,” Lapin said. “Thank you to the Pressma family for this honor. I’ll do my best to carry on the leadership skills that Stuart Pressma demonstrated.

She is the daughter of Sandford Lapin and the late Jodi Lapin, and has a sister, Tobie, and a brother, Jacob.

Alyssa Wolff

Alyssa Wolf is a graduate of Kentucky Country Day, and began her involvement with BBYO as a high school freshman, and became more active as she got older.

She served her chapter as s’ganit, vice president, and attended one convention. “I made a lot of friends through BBYO,” she said.

At school, she played field hockey and was an officer in the Community Service club. “I do public relations,” she explained. “We have a partnership with Cedar Lake Lodge, so we went out there and did a site visit. We started some projects that will continue next year. The main one was a blood drive. I had to do a lot of publicity for that.”

Wolff attended Beber Camp for 10 summers and will be a counselor this summer. She loves camp so much that she shadowed Beber’s director in Chicago for a week as her senior project and hopes to be a camp director after college.

She will attend Indiana University in the fall and will major in psychology.

“I was really surprised and am very grateful for the Pressma Award,” she said. “I am really happy and feel very honored.” She thanked the Pressma family.

She is the daughter of Jerry Wolff.

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 will be presented at The Jewish Community of Louisville’s Annual Meeting, Monday, June 29, at 7 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center. Other awards will also be presented. The program will be followed by a dessert reception.

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