'Beginning the journey to words and numbers'

President of Israel opens school year with first graders at Noam Eliyahu religious school in Netivot.

Mordechai Sones,

Rivlin at Netivot school
Rivlin at Netivot school
Mark Neiman/GPO

President Reuven Rivlin arrived this morning in the city of Netivot, where he opened the 5779 school year with first graders and teachers at the Noam Eliyahu religious school in Netivot.

"Even today, when I'm already a grandfather, I remember very well the day I entered first grade and met the teacher Chava," the President told the excited first graders who greeted him with song and flags.

Afterwards, the President participated in the first class of the first grade students of the teacher Rachel and blessed them. The President was accompanied by Netivot Mayor Yechiel Zohar, school Principal Chaim Ken, and the President's Residence manager Harel Tobi. In the class, the students who hosted the President sang Naomi Shemer's song In Our Backyard.

Rivlin in 1st grade with Morah Rachel
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The President told the excited students about his first day in first grade and the children proudly told the President that they already knew the alphabet. "When you'll be ministers, prime ministers, and even mayors you'll remember your teacher and this special day. Have great success, dear children, and a wonderful year for everyone," the President told the students.

In a ceremony held at the school yard attended by all the students the President said: "The opening of the school year is perhaps one of the happiest days of the year, a day of new beginnings for so many people - parents, teachers, and especially students who are taking a step further to learn, grow, and expand horizons."

The President added, "You, the students: You came to a festively decorated school today, with festooned classrooms, but know that this didn't happened on its own. For weeks now our teachers and principals have been working hard to make this school year the best. Dear teachers, administrators, maintenance, and all the staff, I'd like to dedicate this day to you and thank you. We know that it all starts with education, but we don't always understand the weight of the educational mission that the men and women in education carry on their shoulders every day, every hour.

"The boys and girls here are the future of the State of Israel, and the young generation that grows up here in Netivot will lead the State of Israel, I have no doubt about it," said the President. "They're beginning the great journey of their lives, the journey to words and numbers. They're still stepping hesitantly, but a day will come and they will pave the way, they will lead and they will navigate," added Rivlin.

The President concluded: "We're in the month of Elul, just before Rosh Hashanah, and wish all the residents of this unique city and all the people of Israel a year of happiness and growth, a year of peace, a year of security, and a year of education when we'll all be proud of you. Good and sweet year to you all."

Rivlin greets children on 1st day of school
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