Why I Give—Mike Friedman

Mike Friedman


When people ask me about the last school year, I feel a pang of guilt and a whole lot of appreciation, all for the same reason: we had an incredible year. My daughter Maisie was in first grade at Hausner last year, which meant that she was only at home for a few weeks before in-person learning returned. As soon as classes resumed on campus we sent Maisie without fear or hesitation, knowing she was re-joining a school community powered by impassioned educators and a thoughtful staff who were able to put health and safety first and provide a learning environment that was profound in its academic impact, relationship building, and Jewish identity development.  

Maisie stepped into her first grade classroom full of excitement. In a cohort with eight peers and an incredibly compassionate and competent teacher, Maisie flourished. And it wasn’t just her academic skills that blossomed, but her self-confidence. We could see it in the way she would try reading more difficult books and attempt a math problem for a second time without hesitation. She was embodying the growth mindset her teacher spoke of, fully bought into the power of “yet” and knowing that with time and practice things would come to her

You know you’re in a great spot when your child’s biggest complaint is not being able to hug her teacher. Knowing how connected Maisie felt to Ann, her teacher, we knew not seeing her all summer would be tough. When we heard that Ann invited Maisie and her peers to write to her over the summer, it was as if she were a mind-reader. For Maisie, this opportunity was a gift; she could continue to grow the relationship she had nurtured all year. Maisie excitedly wrote her first letter to Ann, wondering when she’d hear back and what Ann would say. I couldn’t believe how quickly Ann responded, and I wish I could have captured Maisie’s face when I handed her the letter. It was happiness in its purest sense. She reread the letter to herself again and again, and then to us, and then shared it with her grandparents. Ann made magic all year in first grade, and here she had done it again on her well-deserved summer break. And all of Ann’s letters – yes, she wrote back to Maisie each time Maisie wrote to her – are in Maisie’s memory box, among the things she treasures most. 

Ann, and all of her colleagues, are why I give to Hausner. I give because the teachers give so much to all of our kids. I give because Maisie’s “best” day of first grade was when she finally got to give Ann a hug. As a parent, I couldn’t ask for anything more, and I cannot imagine a place that could give any more than Hausner does. 

Please show your support for Hausner by making a gift to the Hausner Fund. Visit https://www.hausnerschool.org/support-us today!

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