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Academy holds first Creative Kids Festival

Dan Trajman, artist-in-residence at Kehillah Schechter Academy, helps students create a community art wall.

Devorah Daniels

Dan Trajman, artist-in-residence at Kehillah Schechter Academy, helps students create a community art wall.

ENERGY BURST: A child’s creativity can be found in unusual places. Students using recycled materials to make a Rube Goldberg-style marble run, for example. Or children climbing a rock wall of their own design. Or youngsters banging away in an instrument “petting zoo.”

It was all part of the first Creative Kids Festival held at Kehillah Schechter Academy in Norwood on Jan. 12, the brainchild of Nancy Hait, the private school’s head of literacy curriculum. And though it was held on a Sunday, the place was packed with young people eager to check it all out, have fun, and unleash their creative energy, she said.

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“I’d read the books in the ‘Creatrilogy’ series by Peter Reynolds,” Hait said of the Dedham author’s work, “and thought it would be cool to do a festival where kids have the opportunity to find their own creative spark.”

Reynolds was invited to lead the festival, but when his schedule wouldn’t allow it, Hait said, “We found our own talent — the staff and parents all kicked in.”

The marble run, created with recycled materials, glue, and tape, was the idea of Laura Mernoff, a school parent and scenic artist. In the gym, students climbed a rock wall created by fifth- and sixth-graders in the introduction to engineering class taught by Steve Greenberg . Video production lessons were given by Jason Daniels, who runs Easton’s cable TV studio. A drum circle and the instrument petting zoo were organized by the school’s music department head, Ken Faria.

All of that and more, including “engaging workshops, spontaneous performances, and displays that showcased the creative work of our talented students and teachers,” Hait said, “aligned perfectly with our school’s mission. Our focus is to find that unique individual voice in all our students.”

Hait, who came to the school a year ago after teaching in Boston’s public schools, said the event wasn’t just for the school but the community at large.

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“We saw a lot of new faces,” she said.

The festival also connected students with the larger world, she said. In keeping with a major tenet of Judaism and a Schechter concept, that every person has a duty to repair a small part of the world, students organized a “Bracelets 4 Haiti” display that sold student-made bracelets to raise money for an orphanage for children who lost their parents in the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Hait said she hopes the festival will become an annual affair in a school where “we are all about a very personalized approach to discovering the individual in each child.”

BUSINESS BRIEFS: The Weymouth business community will have its first chamber of commerce with an official launch scheduled for Tuesday at Cannoli’s Restaurant on Washington Street, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The new group was formerly the Weymouth Business Council, an affiliate of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, with which it will still be fully affiliated.

Weymouth joins Braintree and Rockland in forming individual chambers under joint partnership with the South Shore Chamber of Commerce.

In a press release, Peter Forman, South Shore’s CEO, said: “With the conversion of the business council into the Weymouth Chamber of Commerce, the South Shore chamber will have a strong partner in promoting individual communities that make up the region.”

David Robinson, who was chairman of the Weymouth Business Council, will serve as chairman of the Weymouth chamber. . .

Lawyer Steven D. Pohl of Hingham, a partner with Brown Rudnick, was honored by the US Bankruptcy Court with its first Pro Bono Recognition Award for Eastern Massachusetts. Since 2010, through the Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest, the law firm has handled 40 pro bono bankruptcy cases in the state, with Pohl working with other attorneys and paralegals on 20 of them. . . 

Barbara Reilly of Walpole, managing partner and executive director at Arnold Worldwide, was named chairwoman of the 2014 Boston Go Red for Women luncheon and educational forum scheduled for Feb. 13 at the Boston Sheraton Hotel. Event organizers said heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, and the event aims to raise awareness of heart health.

Reilly also manages Arnold’s pro bono and charitable giving agencies, and has been named a Woman of Influence by the Boston Business Journal and one of the Top 100 Most Admired Women in Boston by the AdClub of Boston. For information on the event, visit www.bostonluncheon.ahaheart.org. . .

Chris Petrie of Milton was named account executive at H.J. Knight International Insurance Agency in Braintree, where he specializes in commercial property and casualty insurance.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at pkandarian@ aol.com.

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