I am very happy to be here today and particularly delighted to see the beautiful faces of the students sitting before me. I want to take a few short minutes to tell you a little about my friend, Joli, for whom this school is named.
Joli was a tall woman with a very warm smile. You always felt like she was glad to see you. She was pretty. Her favorite colors were blue and purple and she often wore clothes in those colors or other bright tones. She frequently sported gold jewelry and your eyes could easily be drawn to her sparkling earring or a shiny necklace she might be wearing.
Joli loved horses, she loved Mexican food, and mostly she loved being a teacher. Everything in her life served as a lesson and she was always eager to share what she learned with others. It would make her so happy to know that students, teachers, staff, and parents are coming here each day to learn and to grow. She would want each person to learn from everyone else, not just from books and computers. She would want everyone associated with the school to be respectful of the classrooms, labs, offices, and play areas.
There are two specifically important things I’d like you to know about Joli as we dedicate this school in her memory. The first thing relates to the fact that Joli always spoke in a soft voice and she was a little shy. I never heard her say an unkind word to or about anyone. When she was a young girl in school, she never imagined she would grow up to be an “important person.” But she became important through her hard work, honesty, and her willingness to learn whatever she could from whomever she met.
Joli accomplished a great deal in her life and she made many friends along the way. Knowing Joli made my life sweeter and if you had known her yours would be sweeter, too.
If she were here, she would want you to know that you can also become a more important person than you might imagine at this time. She would encourage you to believe in yourself and have big dreams for your future. That’s the first very important thing I want you to know about Joli.
The second thing is that, although she would be thrilled that this school can boast state of the art technology, what she also would want it to boast would be state of the art love. Love of learning, love of life, respect and consideration of all people who work, study, and play here. She would want each person who walks through the doors to feel encouraged to be the best they can be, and to encourage that in others as well. This is what I’d like you to think about when you hear Joli’s name or see her portrait when you enter the school.
May we each be inspired by the values that Joli held dear – love of learning, honesty, kindness, and being our best selves. Whenever we display these qualities, we will be enabling Joli’s spirit to dwell and thrive at this wonderful school.
Rabbi Lenore Bohm
Friday, October 24, 2008