Understanding their choices better

HAFTR’s Alumni Day provides students with advice

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If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then the teachers at the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway High School should be very happy with Debra Stein’s career choice: education.

The Queens College senior who graduated from HAFTR in 2010 has set her sights on teaching as she is majoring in elementary education. Her role models are HAFTR’s faculty members. “The teachers here are really great,” Stein said standing in the high school’s gymnasium during the meet and greet networking segment of HAFTR’s second annual Alumni Day program that brought graduates from the 1980s through 2013 back to the school to speak with students about college and careers.

“I think it’s always important to learn from someone who has had the experience and it gives the students the sense it’s real, Stein said, explaining why she took part for the second consecutive year.

Coordinated by Director of Admissions and Communications Leslie Gang, Associate Director of College Guidance Karen Wolf and college guidance counselor Susan Szaluta, the program had separate panels of college students and professionals speaking about their school and career choices and answering student questions.

“We want the students to think about what they want and expose them to different choices they didn’t originally think about,” Wolf said.

During one of the college sessions, HAFTR graduates spoke about why they chose the schools they did, what life is like on campus for Orthodox Jewish students and how to manage time concerning class work and social life. “Make yourself a schedule,” said Jacob Stein, who is attending the University of Massachusetts. “You just can’t say ‘I’m not feeling it, or I have two tests on the same day can I postpone one’ to a professor.”

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