When Adam Greene ’18 strode across the stage in Judge J. John Fox Gymnasium on June 18 and received his Maimonides School diploma, it marked a significant milestone for the entire school community.
Adam became the first third-generation Maimonides graduate. His mother, Batya (Drapkin) Greene, is a member of the Class of 1991. Adam’s grandmother, Rosa (Holcer) Drapkin, began her Maimonides career in Roxbury in 1961 and graduated in 1967.
As their son/grandson posed for photographs and celebrated with classmates, mother and grandmother agreed that these relationships will last a lifetime.
“The intangible, wonderful thing in my life is the extended family I have because of the school,” Rosa asserted. “The friendships and bonds are so strong and so enduring. As classmates, we shared so much history. Here we felt safe, cared for, valued.”
“Everybody went in such interesting, different directions, and that is a tribute to the school,” Rosa added. “We had our toolkit for figuring out our lives.”
“Among the greatest gifts my mother, Adam and I all gained from our Maimonides years are longstanding, deep friendships with classmates,” Batya agreed. “My mother and I still hold Maimonides classmates as among our closest friends. They truly are more like family to us.”
“My hope, as Adam graduates, is that his wonderful friendships with his classmates endure and are resources for him in the exciting years ahead of him,” she continued. “I have cherished watching Adam create these friendships with his Maimonides classmates which mirror my own, and I know these will be enduring, important relationships for him as he moves to the next chapter of his life.”
“I have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to the school,” Rosa declared. “I started in sixth grade, my parents were Holocaust survivors. There wasn’t even a remote dream of how my life would evolve.”
“There was nothing like ‘helicopter parents’ back then; my parents were completely clueless about the details of my education. They just went on blind faith,” she related. “They were told that there is a Jewish school that will care about their children. They entrusted their children to this school, and they never had to worry about tuition,” she continued. “My parents could not possibly have afforded a private school education. But there was never any worry about that.”
Rosa said her Maimonides teachers provided the foundation of study habits that have sustained her. “My whole approach to any challenge comes from the work habits I developed in the school,” she said. “I learned to take on an impossible task and get to it, and not give up. I had the tools to do anything I wanted to when I graduated.”
“My shared experience with my mother was as students in Rabbi (Isaiah) Wohlgemuth's classroom,” Batya noted. “Rabbi Wohlgemuth's warm, nurturing style was so appreciated by both my mother and me. His classes are among our most cherished memories.”
“Watching Adam learn from my former teachers Mr. [Michael] Schockett and Rabbi [Baruch] Goldman was also a wonderfully bonding experience,” she added. “It amazes me to think that Adam and I sat in the same classrooms with the same teachers. We have had some good laughs reflecting on Mr. Schockett’s humor, and are always amazed by Rabbi Goldman's incredibly sharp memories of his years teaching my class.”
Rosa was one of three Holcer sisters attending Maimonides in the 1960s. The reason she and her husband Dr. Mark Drapkin live in Brookline “is because of the school,” she said. “We had a three-year-old (Dr. Shlomo Drapkin ’88) and a newborn (Batya), but we knew we had to be within walking distance of Maimonides School.”
As for Adam, he mused that “to attend the school knowing that it was where your mother and grandmother learned was a little strange.” But he emphasized that “it’s nice to know that they enjoyed the school enough to want to send me, and I was able to enjoy it as much as they did.”