A bit about Lauren and her connection to Mount Scopus?
I came to Mount Scopus in grade 3 when my family immigrated from South Africa. I recall an easy transition and a very positive and enjoyable experience during my entire schooling. I graduated in 2000. I currently have 4 children who all attend Mount Scopus. They are in Little Learners, grade 1, grade 3, and grade 5. I have two sisters who both attended Mount Scopus, and each of their children also do too – so my kids have lots of cousins at the School, making their experience very familiar and welcoming.
What are some key memories from your time at the school?
The school had a very warm, safe, familiar, fun and dynamic atmosphere. The ruach and community spirit was always evident during the chagim and assemblies. I remember the long drives between Templestowe and Burwood and being excited to arrive at school each day. The melodic singinging of the hatikvah at the start of each assembly always moved me. I remember walking down Station Street for pizza dough rolls, and having lots of fun hanging with friends on the Skolnick and Quadrangle. I recall feeling a sense of fulfilment yet sadness at my year 12 farewell as my Scopus journey was coming to end. Little did I realise that 14 years later I would be back starting a new journey at Mount Scopus – as a parent.
Ulpan was a highlight for me. It was my first overseas trip after immigrating from South Africa, and my first time to Israel. I recall feeling an instant connection to Israel which undoubtedly influenced me to volunteer in the Magen David Ambulance Service for three months after graduating, and to try to pass on a love for Israel to my kids.
What did Scopus impart on you about being Jewish / your connection to Israel?
Scopus provided me with a wonderful education, but also importantly it provided me with a solid social network and participation in the wider Melbourne Jewish community which is very special to me. Having a community and a sense of belonging is something we feel is very important to our family and something we have really come to appreciate even more so since having children and helping them navigate childhood, COVID lockdowns and their early school years. A strong community atmosphere was important to maintaining a positive and healthy environment during the pandemic years – as the kids would regularly meet for walks around Caulfield Park with Scopus friends, and maintain healthy social lives. The kids already have wonderful friends, from hard-working families with excellent values. These networks help to uplift and nurture the kids as they navigate an increasingly challenging world.
What does being a Foundation member mean to you?
Mount Scopus has been accommodating to our family – providing our kids an environment that makes them positive, engaged and happy at School. They actually look forward to heading back to School after holidays and long breaks. David often jokes that the kids must be playing games all day as he’s never seen kids so enthusiastic to go to School! Being a Foundation member is a small contribution from our family to help the School further its important work.