By Stacey Dresner
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Ann and Jeremy Pava have provided a gift that offers tuition subsidies for families wishing to send their children to the New England Jewish Academy (NEJA) in West Hartford, Conn.
The new pricing structure announced for NEJA sets tuition for students in K-1 at $5,000, in grades 2-5 at $7,500, in grades 6-8 at $9,500 and in grades 9-12 at $12,000. Additional financial aid is also available for families in need.
“We genuinely believe that sending children to a Jewish day school is the most important decision parents can make,” said Ann Pava, who recently served as president of Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools. “We know that day schools immerse entire families in exploring our tradition, securing sacred values and enabling a knowledge and understanding of Judaism that can never be replicated elsewhere.”
“The amazing part of this initiative is that it allows the school to reduce tuition while not making any compromises on the educational experience,” noted Rabbi Tuvia Brander, Mara D’Atra of the Young Israel of West Hartford and founding board member of NEJA. “It has even sparked a community-driven Educational Excellence Campaign, which is raising over $150,000 annually and will be used for teacher development, additional learning support and other educational enhancements throughout the school. All this enables NEJA to continue to enhance the quality of its education even while committing to keeping tuition low and affordable by offering one of the most robust tuition initiatives in the country.”
Last July 1, the Bess & Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy in Bloomfield, Conn. and Hebrew High School of New England merged to create New England Jewish Academy. The regional high school is supported by the three Jewish Federations and Jewish Community Foundations of Western Mass., Greater Hartford, and New Haven.
NEJA has also embarked on a building project, adding an additional 6,000-square-foot wing in order to locate the entire school on a single campus. “Having one spacious campus for students of all ages creates a rich and vibrant center of education and serves as a real-world model to facilitate Middot, Torah values and personal growth both in and out of the classroom,” explained Dr. Isaac (Yitz) Moss, chair of UCONN Department of Orthopedic Surgery and co-president of the school.
All New England Jewish Academy students will receive the tuition subsidies, even those already enrolled, and the subsidies will remain in place for each student for a minimum of five years. Scholarships will still be available for families who need them.
“Our goal is to try our best to make sure that anyone who wants a Jewish day school education will get one,” Ann Pava said.
The Pavas will make up the difference to the school, paying a total of $1.5 million – or $300,000 for the next five years – to cover the subsidies.
“We hope this gift will encourage enrollment by making day school tuition affordable and accessible to a broader range of families while also ensuring that our school provides an academic program of the highest quality,” said Jeremy Pava.