The Marvelous Mr. Mazel

With Scott Halasz, The Dayton Jewish Observer

Sammy Caruso showed the importance of donating blood by using his creativity — and his veins. The recent Oakwood High School graduate was one of five $1,000 scholarship winners in the 2020 Community Blood Center/Vectren Lead The Way Scholarship competition. Sammy, the son of Patty and Michael Caruso, created a recruitment video to encourage students to donate at Oakwood’s Dec. 5, 2019 blood drive. His creative inspiration came from the popular HBO series Game of Thrones. He borrowed the show’s theme music and opening title sequence that scans a map of the Seven Kingdoms. Sammy’s video mapped the steps a blood donation follows from donor to patient. Then he took it a step further. “I donated blood for the first time following the making of this video because I was encouraged by all the people I talked to,” he explained to the CBC. “I wanted other students to hear their stories and understand how a little bit can go a long way.” A key inspiration for Sammy was his interview with chemistry teacher and blood donor Anthony Rainsberger, who talks about his wife receiving platelet transfusions after chemotherapy treatments. “I made a video to put on the announcements at school that was to encourage and teach students the importance of donating blood and how it has impacted people personally,” Sammy said.

INNOVAtheatre’s production of Newsies will have some familiar names in the cast. Avi Gilbert will play Romeo, while Chava and Zeke Gilbert will be in the Newsies ensemble. Their parents are Rachel and Dr. Heath Gilbert. Casey Weckstein, daughter of Kellie and the late Daniel Weckstein, will play Wilhemina and will also perform in the ensemble. The show is slated to run in late August. It’s being directed by Richard Lee Waldeck, who has directed several JCC Children’s Theatre productions.

Morgan Grover, daughter of Renee and Matt Rosensweet, was elected president of NFTY-OV for a one-year term.

It’s graduation season, which means it’s time to recognize our kids who have received undergraduate and graduate degrees. Send me information about your college graduates so I can include in upcoming columns.

Rachel Taylor graduated cum laude from Rochester Institute of Technology with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science. One of Rachel’s key projects while at RIT was helping local communities combat invasive species in the Finger Lakes region of New York. She also worked on helping boost the bee populations around New York state roadways. Rachel’s parents are Shara and Steve Taylor.

Julian Caruso graduated from Miami University and will head to Loyola Law School. While at MU, she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, an honorary society of college and university undergraduates whose members are elected on the basis of high academic achievement. Julian is the daughter of Patty and Michael Caruso.

Aaron Pfeiffer, son of Marsha and Terry Pfeiffer, graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in finance and a minor in real estate.

Sami Adler, daughter of Kim and Steve Adler, graduated from Miami University with a degree in communication and international studies. She will head to Washington, D.C. for a yearlong fellowship.

Grant Halasz graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Judaic studies. Grant is the son of Teri and Dr. Michael Halasz, and my nephew.

And now to brag about myself a little. I was named best columnist in the Ohio Associated Press Media Editor’s Annual Writing Contest. My papers, the Xenia Daily Gazette and Fairborn Daily Herald, are in the largest contest division, which has papers with a circulation of up to 7,999.

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To read the complete June 2020 Dayton Jewish Observer, click here.

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