While some knew him as Jonah and others as Mac, we all loved and respected him. And we miss him dearly.

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Jonah @ PGT: Ben Zacharia

Jonah'sYears@PGT.2013.11.BlogAd.Final.large“Jonah’s Years at PGT” is The Jonah Maccabee Foundation’s autumn fundraiser for 2013. Throughout November and December 2013, we’ll be remembering, mainly through the writing of his friends, some of the great fun and growing Jonah experienced at PGT. We’re hoping you’ll be inspired to help us provide other kids with similarly loving direction along the road to wholeness during their own childhood years. Please consider making your tax-deductible gift at jonahmac.org by Sunday, January 5, 2014. Okay, or any other time. Thank you. You’re the best!


 

Ben Zacharia remembers …

Ben and his sister, Josephine

Ben Zacharia graduated from Connecticut College in May 2013 after studying Music with a concentration in Composition. He is currently working for Stew Leonard’s doing software development, and is hard at work recording an album in his spare time.

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It was hard not to love Jonah. Even if he was the last to learn his lines. Even if he was always funnier than you (even when he didn’t know his lines). Even if he spent most of his down-time during Marvin’s Room sitting on the couch just offstage with the other two boys in the cast (myself included!) singing anything from Monty Python to Spring Awakening and making sure that we annoyed just about every other member of the cast and crew. It was hard not to love him. There are few people with as positive and infectious an attitude. He inhabited so many of the qualities that PGT prides itself on. He was caring, fun-loving, intelligent, and excited about everything.

Ben and Jonah Cast photo from “Marvin’s Room”

One of my fondest memories is from the three weeks he spent working at PGT Summer. For those who have never gone, Summer PGT provides so much more time to sit and have fun and really enjoy each other. You go to classes, play games, have lunch and, if you’re on staff, you stay ‘til all hours of the night trying to finish things. It’s great.

At lunch, if you’ve done something extraordinary since the previous lunch, someone on staff might just give you an award. This award is given to you in front of everyone, and the whole camp sees you in the spotlight.

Jonah's vistory lap atop Kyle Moore PGT Summer Camp, Aug 2008

Jonah’s vistory lap atop Kyle Moore
PGT Summer Camp, Aug 2008

This particular summer some of the older students decided that the staff should be given awards. They got nametags (on which the award is given), divvied up the staff between themselves, and, one lunch near the end of the summer, gave out awards. The staff, obviously, loved it. But no one was as excited as Jonah who, after less than three weeks there, had come to understand and believe in what makes camp so special. Upon receiving his award he promptly jumped onto Kyle [Moore]’s back and rode back to his spot with his award clenched in the air as if it were Charlie’s golden ticket. His smile on that day something I will remember for years and years still.

I mean, come on, you have to be pretty darn special if Jeff [Downing, one of PGT’s directors] still likes you after you don’t learn your lines!

Ben

P.S. Please give generously to our Autumn 2013 campaign at jonahmac.org. As always, we are ever grateful for your friendship and support.

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