Determination and Strong Will Leads to Success

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As he was named “Exemplary Student,” Daniel Shalom, 17, received a standing ovation from his class, his teachers, and entire audience of the Boys Town Jerusalem Class of 2016 Commencement Ceremony. “You are the symbol of excellence for this class,” declared Dean of Students Rabbi Meir Linchner. For Boys Town Jerusalem, Daniel is also a prominent symbol of perseverance and hope.

A thin, quiet young man, Daniel has meticulously shone in his studies as well as in his involvement with his classmates. Yet few are aware of the struggles that Daniel has faced for as long as he can remember. His family’s poverty has brought its share of hardships, especially the constant evictions from one apartment to another. “There’s been a wail of police sirens every month or so as the family falls behind in their rent payments,” recalls one teacher who has known them for many years. Daniel’s father, who works at a variety of odd jobs, had tears in his eyes as his son stepped forward to receive his graduation award. “Life hasn’t been easy for Daniel or any of our children. But Boys Town Jerusalem.recognized his potential and pushed him to study and succeed.”

“The more we helped one another, the more independence we gained. At the height of exams and senior projects, we studied together through the nights – without our teachers – to master the material.”

“I was looking for a good school when I came to BTJ in eighth grade,” Daniel recalls. “Academically I did fine, but it was hard for me to relate to people on the social level. That was my first hurdle.” Which Daniel passed with flying colors, becoming a caring friend and a born leader. Living in the BTJ dormitory, Daniel worked tirelessly to build the spirit of togetherness that grew to characterize the Class of 2016. “We became a close-knit unit,” he notes. “The more we helped one another, the more independence we gained. At the height of exams and senior projects, we studied together through the nights – without our teachers – to master the material.”

“Daniel’s modesty is also one of his finest virtues.”

“Daniel Shalom is extraordinary not only because of his sensitivity, high moral standards and his extreme intelligence,” says Jewish Studies Principal Rabbi Elimelech Ya’akov, “but because he fulfills each talent to the maximum. Yet Daniel’s modesty is also one of his finest virtues.”

A computer studies major, Daniel is also a sensitive poet. Following graduation, he looks forward to continuing his Jewish studies, enlisting in the IDF, and eventually pursuing a career in psychology. And how did Daniel Shalom feel about being the “symbol of excellence” for the Class of 2016?

“This class was made up of boys from Israel, Russia, France and Ethiopia, rich and poor. Yet we all came from the same place, and we were all there for each other.”

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