๐ŸŽ‰ Middle School Close of School Ceremony and Last Day of School Celebrations
Gary Weisserman, Head of School
Dear Bernard Zell Families, 
There is a cadence, a rhythm to the school year. The end of each year is always uptempo, almost swing jazz—followed by an immediate caesura—a pause—on the day school ends. The hallways become strangely silent and the sound becomes bluesy with the energy of graduation and the promise of summer, tempered by sadness as we say goodbye to friends and colleagues. And then, a contemplative melody, as we reflect on a good year.
In so many ways, it has been a wonderful and successful year. We are beyond proud of the amazing job of our faculty and staff, who have worked so hard on behalf of our students—your children—and our community. We are so incredibly grateful for our families, whose support and encouragement made it all possible.
And we kvell with pride at our students, who are the reason we do all this in the first place. To all of them, we say—thank you for all you do to make Bernard Zell such an amazing place and we can't wait to see many of you again in the fall! And to the Class of 2023—our newest, proud BZ alumni—we wish you behatzlachah (good luck) on your next chapter.
Read more below about this year's Middle School Close of School Ceremony, including heartfelt farewell speeches from Ella H. '26 and Cooper R. '26, 8th grade award winners Eva Lufrano, Lucy Shirrell, Makayla Gonsky and Nathan Polonsky, as well as a schoolwide photo album of the last day of school for 2022-23!
I wish you all a joyful, and safe summer!

Gary Weisserman,
Head of School
My name is Ella H. Today, I am finishing fifth grade. Two years ago, I moved with my family from Jerusalem to Chicago. At that time I didn’t speak English at all. As you would expect, the first few months were really hard for me. School was hard during classes and also recess. I had difficulty understanding what my friends said to me, and doing homework was almost impossible! 
However, with the help of the teachers and advisors at BZ, and of course my new friends, I started to understand more each day and became part of the class. 
This year in middle school the language is easier for me, but the learning is still challenging. However, I still wake up every day with joy and excitement. I feel that BZ is now my second home. I have great friends here now. I know that here at BZ there is always someone who can listen, support, or give good advice. I appreciate it. I want to thank the whole BZ community for teaching me to sing, dance, play instruments, and really everything! Those experiences will be part of me for the rest of my life and influence my future, wherever I go. Thank you so much!
Hi Middle School Friends,
I’m Cooper and I tell jokes every morning in gibush. Here is one of my favorites - maybe you’ve heard this one before: What kind of car does a beaver drive? A stick shift.
Jokes have always come easy to me, and I like making people laugh, but this year it wasn’t all just jokes. One thing that wasn’t funny was deciding to not play basketball this year. At the time I was ok with that because I was on the rock climbing team at First Ascent but what I didn’t realize is I would be one of the only kids that didn’t play basketball. After the first game, the conversations at recess, lunch, and in the hallways were all about basketball. I was happy that my friends were having fun, but I felt left out. Little did I know a conversation about basketball shoes would make me feel all alone, on an island. Speaking of an Island--specifically an island with a rabbit, do you know where a rabbit would hide in the home room? In the GI - BUSH.
Realizing that I missed out on something special by not being part of BZ athletics, I decided to join the track team. In track I found a sport at BZ that I loved. Lets not forget about the added bonus, that we got to leave school early on meet days. Another fun part of track was getting to be on a team with people in different grades. I was surprised that there were different parts of track that I enjoyed. The running of course, and I was really surprised when I made the 100M Final in the BZ meet. I also really liked the long jump. It made me feel alive as I jumped into the big sandbox.
I found that missing out on something was the motivation I needed to try something new. I’m here to tell you that life can be hard but you can still make jokes. And I’ll leave you with this one piece of advice, do you know what type of digital tech you should never bring to school? A CURSOR!
Thanks for a great year BZ, have a good summer!
Click the image below to view the last day of school celebrations and festivities in Early Childhood, Lower School and Middle School!

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