New and old faces were happily reunited as the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway High School opened again after a relaxing summer vacation. Students hurried to classes as the administration worked hard to ensure the start of the school year got off to a smooth start. While every new year brings changes, this upcoming year at HAFTR High holds particularly exciting new projects.
The freshman class enjoyed a special orientation to get acquainted with the faculty and the building —making it easier to navigate their way through the school on their first official day of classes. Students eased back into the school environment at HAFTR’s annual Welcome Back event, sponsored by the PTA. It featured a carnival with games, rides and booths — all run by the students. It allowed for a smooth transition from a fun, carefree summer into a more organized atmosphere, and also presented a good opportunity for students to catch up with one another after a long summer apart.
The freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes all expanded, as new and transfer students joined each grade. The faculty also welcomed new colleagues. Joining the outstanding college guidance team are counselors Emily Comack and Mara Steinberg, as well as administrative assistant Cindy Steinberg. Juniors introduced themselves to the new faculty members, while beginning the college search process, and seniors met with the new counselors to learn how to improve their college resumes.
HAFTR also unveiled a new school-wide literacy initiative, designed to better prepare students for college and professional success. Directed by literacy coordinator, Dr. Hinda Krinsky, the ambitious project will identify goals and develop strategies to increase students’ skills in reading comprehension, writing, speaking and listening across curricular areas. Each department will also focus on students’ acquisition of specific content literacy skills within their discipline.
Of course, some mainstays remain. Many of the Jewish holidays fall during the week this year, so the challenge of keeping students on the right track academically while allowing for, and celebrating, religious observance is a daunting task every yeshiva faces. This challenge will make for an interesting September and October, but both the school and the students seem up to the task.