As seen in the annual “Terrific Teens” issue of West Hartford Magazine, 2014.
By Lisa Lelas
While the list of bright and competent students from West Hartford seems endless, we have selected a small handful of dedicated young men and women, all recent graduates from each of the five West Hartford High Schools, to represent this year’s ‘terrific teens’ to watch in our community.
Not only are they teens with dreams, but they are already acting on them. Each of them has the desire to make a difference. To create a positive change in the world. They are, without a doubt, great role models to represent our community.
Congratulations. We look forward to watching you blossom as you now go out into the world to inspire us all. Today we put the spotlight on Elan Ganeles:
Hard work is something that never scared Elan Ganeles, a recent graduate of The Hebrew High School of New England. In fact, he seems to embrace it.
Elan is a member of the National Honor Society and a National Commended Merit Scholar. Currently on a deferred enrollment plan at the University of Michigan, Elan is off to Israel for a year long spiritual educational program. He plans on doing ROTC for the army throughout his college years and hopes to work as an officer in the military someday.
What motivates him? History. “I’ve always loved reading about history,” he explains, and even notes that his role models have always been past and present military general whom he has studied. “I’m intrigued by the people who have led our country.” But closer to home, he adds, “I have always looked up to my school principal, Rabbi Lowe, as a good role model. He always has very good personal integrity.”
Elan says that working as a volunteer at Jewish Family Services and at his synagogue has really changed his perspective on life. “You see so many different people. You can’t judge them. Everyone has their own story and you need to be more accepting of all.”
But despite his lofty goals, Elan is still a regular teen at heart. He loves mac and cheese and hanging out with friends at Blue Back Square.
This 18-year-old graduate remembers his high school years with great enthusiasm. “I was on the ultimate Frisbee team all four years, played sax and piano. I was part of the Junior Statesmen of America club, the Israel Advocacy club and outside of school was involved with the civil air patrol air force auxiliary leadership program.”
His favorite high school memory? “Every year our school has a weekend retreat away,” he reflects. “It’s good bonding. We all get so close. I love the feeling of community!”
Please check back every Tuesday and Friday to see another teen spotlight! To view our full teen story please view West Hartford Magazine here.