The plans for next year’s Beit Midrash have been replaced with a Duck Sanctuary to honor the Head of School, Mr. Gary Weisserman’s, love for the fuzzy, yellow birds. This new Duck Sanctuary is a revolutionary concept. The building process for this sanctuary is said to be starting this summer and will be held in the same place that the Beit Midrash was planning to be, which is somewhere in Building 2. Although a Beit Midrash would be an important religious addition to the Milken Community, Milken administrators agreed that a Duck Sanctuary would represent Milken’s dynamic and festive values more accurately.
Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to have an interview with Mr. Weisserman and sit in his office is very well aware of his obsession with rubber ducks, as they are laid all over his office. Mr. Weisserman has been collecting ducks ever since the age of seven; one day at a pond, something life changing happened. He notes, “My love of ducks came about when I was a little boy and went to a duck pond and became friends with one of the ducks.” From that point on, he collected rubber ducks to remind him of his small friend. He now has over one thousand ducks in his office and counting. Weisserman does not only use his ducks for a great visual and laugh, but also, they communicate with him and provide him input regarding which students to admit. Mr. Weisserman swears that the ducks communicate to him through casting shadows on themselves. He continues, “When a shadow is cast on my favorite ducks by the window, I believe that they are telling me to not admit the student I was just speaking to, but when my ducks are a bright, happy yellow color, then I know the student is perfect for Milken.” This insight that the ducks provide him was also another motive for building the sanctuary. He adds, “I felt that other students should get the opportunity to feel this spiritual experience and maybe the sanctuary will help them make better choices both in their social and academic careers.”
Obviously, Mr. Weisserman is the visionary behind this new sanctuary. He is working closely with the developers to ensure that his sanctuary turns out exactly the way he wants it. Weisserman elaborated on the details, explaining that there will be a small pond with live ducks to remind him of his childhood visits to the duck pond. Then, when one enters, there will be rubber ducks hanging from the ceiling on thin wire and around the room. There will be a photo booth with duck toys for people to make memories as well as a giant duck-shaped espresso machine. For entertainment, there will be a short documentary playing on repeat introducing each and every one of Mr. Weisserman’s ducks that are in his office. There will also be three of Mr. Weisserman’s favorite ducks available for students to check out and gain spiritual inspiration from. “My biggest dreams are coming true and lucky for everyone else, I am not the only one who gets to live them.” During lunch, free periods, and lishma, the sanctuary will be open to all community members. Mr. Weisserman’s goal is to give people a taste of who he really is and what he enjoys doing during his spare time.
Overall, Mr. Weisserman and the rest of the Milken administrators believe that the Duck Sanctuary will be a great addition to the Milken community and may even attract applicants.