Sam Baker Memorial Speech 2020
Samuel: Sam Baker was a reliable classmate, outstanding actor, and loyal friend. He provided an upbeat, creative energy to our class and to our school.
Sam was deeply passionate about the performing arts. In our time at Leo Baeck, Sam performed alongside us in the annual school plays; High School Musical and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat were particular highlights. He always knew how to make the best out of any situation, and he could always find a way to incorporate a sense of playfulness and joy into everything he did.
Sam was also the kind of person who would speak up for what he thought was right, even if it meant stirring up a debate at lunchtime or going against the norm. He would never let anyone get away with causing harm or insulting others. He could handle any situation with patience and empathy; he lived authentically and with integrity.
Jonah: In our final year at Leo Baeck, Sam was awarded the Reach High Award, an award endowed to an individual who had overcome obstacles during their time at Leo Baeck. In October of 2018, as we were settling into our respective universities, Sam tragically passed away. It took us all by shock, and many of us came home from school to grieve for our friend.
To commemorate his life and his passion, the Leo Baeck Class of 2014 created a new award in Sam’s honour: The Sam Baker Award For Achievement in the Arts, awarded to a student who demonstrated consistent and outstanding contribution to the arts during their time as a student at Leo Baeck. This year, the second ever recipient of this award is a student who profoundly understands that the arts uniquely represent a subject area that nourishes the soul as well as the mind. In addition to making beautiful art work and her commitment to thoughtful and resonant performances, she is able to reflect deeply on the greater personal and global implications that the arts provide. She possesses not only the skills needed, but also humility, perseverance and dedication to the artistic process, producing consistently outstanding work in both the Visual and Performing Arts, as well as sharing her gifts with the Leo Baeck community at large through her participation in Baeck. We are honoured to present this year’s Sam Baker Memorial Award for Achievement in the Arts and we’ll go now to Ms. Applebaum to find out the winner