(Courtesy of Boys Town Jerusalem) Nearly 20 years after Boys Town Jerusalem inaugurated the very first Cisco Networking Academy in the Middle East, the school has been granted Cisco’s “Above and Beyond Award” for 2019 as the best such academy in the entire European region. The prestigious international award is the latest in of string of impressive prizes recently granted to the school’s faculty, graduates and students.
IDF Col. Yaniv Avitan, a 1994 grad of Boys Town Jerusalem, was granted the eminent 2018 Israel Defense Prize of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Col. Avitan heads the crack IDF team that developed a technological means to detect Hamas terrorist attack tunnels, making the IDF the world’s first army to reach this phenomenal capability.
Col. Avitan’s teacher, Boys Town Jerusalem instructor Shlomo Saruk, was recently named by the Ministry of Education as Israel’s top computer science and networking teacher for 2019. Renowned for his ingenuity, innovation and devotion to his students, Saruk has headed the school’s winning Cisco Networking Academy since its inception, as well as initiating some of the nation’s top computer technology programs.
This has been a bumper year as well for Boys Town Jerusalem students to clinch trophies. A sophisticated robot hand built by three of the school’s ninth graders received first prize for mechanical design in the recent Jerusalem Regional First Lego League-Israel Robotics Competition. In an additional robotics triumph, BTJ’s team of 12 high school students scored third place in the renowned FIRST-Israel Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics contest, a national contest in which 45 of Israel’s top teams competed. Not to be outdone, the school soccer team was named national champions in their high school league.
“Since the day our school opened its doors in 1948 as a haven for youngsters fleeing the Holocaust and the tyranny of Arab countries, we have cultivated generations of Israel’s leaders,” said Rabbi Meir Linchner, dean of students. “Although a large number of students face poverty and strife at home, we challenge them with an intensive curriculum of academic, technological and Jewish studies—plus endless encouragement, assistance and love. The results speak for themselves: Our over 7500 grads are making great contributions to Israel’s technology, commerce, education, military and public service. Every one is a winner!”