Taubie Sanders was the captain of the Hopkins High School Girls’ Swim and Dive Team, served as the EMTZA Region Israel Affairs Vice-President, and maintained a 3.97 GPA. But it was her level of commitment to making the world a better place that set her apart from the rest of the candidates in earning the 2022 Howie Stillman Leadership Award.
The fact that Sanders was the president and founder of her high school’s March for Our Lives chapter, a national movement advocating for stricter gun laws, and her work to try and pass a menstrual equity bill really impressed the Howie Stillman Young Leadership Award Committee.
“We interviewed eight amazing and incredibly impressive young adults,” Interview Award Committee Co-Chair Joel Glaser said. “Taubie was especially impressive. It takes a lot of courage to testify before a legislative committee. Not a lot of high school students could do that.”
Sanders is hoping to become an immigration attorney. During her senior year at Hopkins, as part of the ProPEL program, she worked with an immigration lawyer who also serves in the Minnesota House of Representatives. She says her most notable experience in ProPEL was testifying in support of the menstrual equity bill.
Taubie is working this summer as a counselor at Herzl Camp. “Every year at Herzl, at the end of the first day we all gather for a bonfire at Ner Howie, which was built in Howie’s memory,” she said. “To this day, Howie is still having a positive impact on campers at Herzl. That makes receiving the award even more meaningful.”
“I’ve been doing this a lot of years,” Interview Award Committee Co-Chair Bruce Goldfarb said. “And, something really stood out this year: All of the finalists exhibited leadership through inclusivity. It was really nice to see.”
The 2022 finalists, in alphabetical order, including their high school, synagogue, and a few noteworthy leadership accomplishments were: Samuel Dobkin, Eastview High School, Temple of Aaron, Russian American Jews of Minnesota teen fellowship, Sholom Home volunteer, Eastview Lightning Boys Soccer Scholarship; Tobias Khabie, Darchei Noam Synagogue and Beth El Synagogue youth group participant, St. Louis Park High School, JSU President Outstanding Leadership Award, USY Cohort for Young Jews of Color, Indigenous Jews, Sephardi Jews, and Mizrahi Jews (JOCISM), StandWithUs High School Intern; Sage Marmet, The Blake School, Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Smith and Armstrong Scholar, Editor-in-Chief of The Spectrum (school newspaper), President of DECA, Election Discourse Committee; Johnna Parks, Hopkins High School, Beth El Synagogue, President of Beth El USY, EMTZA Region General Board, Founder of Midori (a capella choir); Emily Rotenberg, The Blake School, Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Crisis Nursery Youth Advisory Board Co-Chair, Community Service Board Chair, Editor of The Spectrum (school newspaper); Lucy Seiler, Southwest High School, Temple Israel, ski instructor at Blizzard Ski & Snowboard School, group leader of Race to Justice, NFTY Northern Regional Co-President; and Anya Schwartzberg, Shakopee High School, Beth El Synagogue, teacher at Beth El’s TaRBuT program, USY Vice President, participant in Beth El’s Heschel program.
As the recipient of this year’s leadership award, Taubie received a beautiful Menorah. The Committee gives a Menorah to the recipient with the hopes that each year they use it in the future, the candles will serve as a reminder of the light that Howie brought into everyone’s lives as well as the light that they bring into their community through their leadership.
The Howie Stillman Young Leadership Award was created to recognize the leadership and personal qualities of a high school senior who is active in a Twin Cities’ synagogue youth group or BBYO. Nominees are selected based on a number of criteria including youth group involvement; engagement in educational, community, and school-related activities; leadership qualities, and personal qualities of warmth and concern for others. The Howie Stillman Young Leadership Award is an attempt to honor a high school senior who demonstrates these qualities in the spirit of someone who embraced them so well.
The Howie Stillman Young Leadership Fund was established in the summer of 1986 by a group of Howie’s friends. It is a permanent memorial to a young man who touched the lives of so many with his warmth, courage, and optimism. Each year interest earned from the fund is used to sponsor an annual lecture given by a prominent journalist which is free and open to the public. The lecture is in recognition of Howie’s aspiring career as a journalist. The group had to cancel the event this year because of COVID-19.