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My Davis Story: Jonah Medoff, Class of 2016


Dear Davis Friends,

I can’t believe it has been 6 years since I’ve graduated from the Davis Academy. Having started in kindergarten, I’ve spent almost half of my life at Davis, and it honestly feels like I was just there not long ago, wearing my Davis shirt and khaki shorts, carrying my binder from class to class. The experiences I gained and values I learned during my time at Davis have undoubtedly played an extremely significant role in my life since graduating. Both when I was in high school at Westminster and now, in college at The University of Chicago, I am constantly reminded of many of my Davis memories that have shaped who I am today.

Having entered the Davis community at such a young age, it was here where I recognized what I am most passionate about in my life.

During my first few years of elementary school, with the encouragement and support from my teachers, I realized my strong interest in math and science. This fascination has stuck with me ever since, throughout middle school, when, in 8th grade, I had the opportunity to compete in the state Mathcounts competition, and now, as I pursue a degree in astrophysics. Davis also helped me realize some of my non-academic passions, the most notable example being from Mr. Michek’s Rock 101 class, which I took all 3 years of middle school. Prior to this class, I had no experience playing an instrument and did not have a particularly strong interest in music – I simply signed up because I thought it sounded like a fun elective. But fast forward 3 years, and not only had I gained a new skill, I also had become very passionate about listening to and learning about music, and this is something that is still very important to me today.

At Davis, I also experienced situations that pushed me outside of my comfort zone and challenged me in new ways. For example, it was here where I experienced my first time speaking in front of a large group of people, when I was selected to speak at my 5th grade Moving-Up ceremony. I remember being very nervous for this speech, unsure about whether or not I could even do it. Despite my worries, it ended up going very well, and while giving talks today can still sometimes be nerve-racking, remembering this moment gives me the confidence to stick with it and move forward.

The value that has clearly stuck with me the most from my time at Davis, however, is kehillah. Being a member of the Davis community taught me just how important the notion of community really is, and I’ve found that in later stages of my life, being a part of and interacting with a community of peers is one of the things I value most. In middle school, I was a member of the Davis cross country team, and while I was never one of the fastest runners, I loved being a member of the team because of the strong sense of community and team-building that Coach Barry fostered among the students. This inspired me to join my high school’s cross country team at Westminster, where I was able to experience this same communal bonding with a new group of teammates. It was because of this team bonding and community-building that made running cross country the most meaningful aspect of my high school experience, and I felt honored to be able to pass this sense of kehillah down to new group of runners after being elected a team captain my senior year, an achievement which, without a doubt, stemmed from the lessons I learned at Davis.

Now as I enter my junior year at the University of Chicago, I remember these values I learned during my time at Davis and am reminded again of just how huge of an impact they have had on me. While I am part of a new kehillah now, I still have not left the kehillot from my past, and I know that the values and experiences I’ve gained from these previous kehillot will continue to help me grow as a person and shape who I am.

Jonah Medoff 
Class of 2016

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