Baltimore, MD - Nov. 22, 2020 - The middle school boys of Torah Institute of Baltimore have been exercising their creativity in a recent contest that took the school by storm. Under the General Studies Coordinator, Dr. Suzanne Cotter’s guidance and coordination, all 6th through 8th graders were invited to enter in the annual President's Education Awards Program. The program honors talented students all over the USA for their achievement and hard work. The program provides individual recognition from the President of the United States of America and the U.S. Secretary of Education to the students whose incredible efforts have enabled them to meet challenging standards of excellence.

Coming up with a theme for the annual contest was not easy. An informal group of student advisors helped the administration choose the incredible theme: Gedolim. Each student researched different gedolim from over the course of history and ultimately chose one to draw. The boys’ creativity shone through their actual drawings, in addition to the Gedoloim they chose. The boys’ choices spanned a plethora of categories spanning Sephardi, Ashkenazi and Chassidishe Gedolim from different generations.

One artist, Rafael Green, drew an immaculate picture of The Rogochover Gaon, R’ Boruch Ber Liebowitz, and R’ Chaim Soloveitchik sitting together on a bench with beautiful foliage all around; portraying a stunning final image. One student, named Dovy Goodman, drew the Chofetz Chaim in his younger years. Another creative artist named Shlomo Kirshenbaum decided to draw his image of a ‘hidden Tzadik’. Shalom Chaim Halberstam drew a picture of Rav Shlomo Halberstam, you can guess if they are related. A stunning image of the Belzer Rebbi was illustrated by Yechezkel Heyman as well as a beautiful depiction of the Ponovizher Rav by talented student artist Shimon Rottenberg.

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The Presidential Winners received a Gold Presidential Certificate of Educational Achievement signed by President Trump himself. In addition, the PTA sponsored a $25 gift certificate to Shabsi's Judaica Center. All amazing entries received a small prize as well.

When interviewing Dr. Cotter as to how she came up with this annual contest, she relayed the following: “When you hear the word intelligence, the concept of IQ testing may immediately come to mind. Intelligence is often defined as our intellectual potential; something we are born with, something that can be measured, and a capacity that is difficult to change. At Torah Institute however, we believe intelligence, capacity to learn, to lead meaningful and beautiful lives, comes from Hashem, therefore our boys represent an expansive compendium of varied talents and intelligences. With that in mind, TI sponsored this art contest; we love to recognize our talmidim who are indeed many and varied in the intelligence Hashem has bestowed upon them. We aim to highlight each individual student’s strengths.”

Without further ado, please enjoy the photo essay and video below, highlighting the tremendous talent of our boys at Torah Institute.