As a result of his dedication and school spirit, Martinez resident Ben Dynan recently was honored with an award from the Hebrew academy he attends in North Carolina.
The AHArai award was created to commemorate Dynan's commitment to the American Hebrew Academy, where he is a senior, in addition to his participation in the school's ambassador program, said Alina Spaulding, the school's director of communications.
"He was so outstanding that we said, 'We should give this kid an award,'" Spaulding said.
The 17-year-old has attended the American Hebrew Academy, a Jewish college preparatory boarding school in Greensboro, N.C., since he was a freshman.
"It was something that I was really proud of," Dynan said of the award.
As a sophomore, Dynan said he helped rebuild the ambassador program along with two fellow students. His role within the program includes visiting with prospective students and guests of the school and answering any questions they might have.
"They host visiting families on campus," Spaulding said. "They go out and recruit on behalf of the school. They assist with our prospective student weekends."
Dynan's work within the program extends outside the academy's campus.
"Whenever the topic comes up about where I go to school, I really try and let people know and spread the word about the school," he said. "More people should hear about it and see it and learn about the experience that the school offers."
AHArai is a term used by generals in the Israeli Defense Force during combat, said Spaulding, noting that in a sentence, the word means "follow me."
Dynan has involved himself in many school activities. He has been a member of the school's swim team, comedy improvisation troupe and baseball team. He currently is president of the Student Jewish Life Committee.
During his senior year, Dynan said he likely will become student leader of the ambassador program.
While Dynan was at home on summer vacation, he worked as a lifeguard at the Augusta Jewish Community Center.
After he graduates, Dynan said he will attend college and possibly a Jewish seminary.
His career plans might involve health care or medicine, he said.
Spaulding said that Dynan has reached out to others and made those around him feel comfortable. He also has helped to revitalize the ambassador program, she added.
"We really thrive on hospitality here," Spaulding said.
"He was really just incredibly hospitable, warm, positive, willing to share his experiences and make sure that other people had the privilege of a great experience as well."
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