As this unconventional school year comes to a close, we say goodbye with the hope that school reopens in September. I have learned so much about the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway and our community during these times.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there was much uncertainty about the future. No one knew how long this would last or if we would return to the building during this academic year. But HAFTR almost immediately, seamlessly transitioned to online learning. Students and teachers learned simultaneously how to navigate their online platforms. As my history teacher put it, “Zooms only work when everyone on both sides gives their all to make it happen.”
Aside from the learning at HAFTR barely missing a beat, the HAFTR community banded together to help during these challenging times. Students volunteered to help Kosher Response package food and care packages for health care workers, the junior varsity basketball team donated to Hatzalah, and there are numerous group chats of HAFTR students, alumni and faculty continuously reciting psalms for those in need.
We commemorated Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israel’s national day of remembrance and also celebrated the founding of the Jewish State and Jerusalem Day together as a school community. Although we were not able to learn with our teachers and rabbis on Shavuot, students were fully prepared with lessons from their teachers so that they could continue learning at home over the holiday.
In my first column of the school year, I predicted that HAFTR students would succeed in all of their endeavors this year. Though this year has turned out to be wildly different from what I anticipated back in September, I was correct in that HAFTR students have been incredibly successful.
As we leave these virtual doors, I hope that we will be walking through real ones next fall. But whatever the case may be, I know that HAFTR students and faculty are resilient and will be able to continue to learn and thrive.
As we say farewell to the 2019-2020 academic school year, I leave you with the following messages:
To the seniors: Wishing you much success as you move on from HAFTR High School to all your future endeavors. You will surely be missed!
To my fellow juniors: We took numerous Advanced Placement classes online together, tackled ACTs and SATs (but who knows what is happening with those), and I know that no matter what is in store for us, we will excel.
To the sophomores: As upperclassmen, I’m sure you are ready to take on all of the challenges that your junior year holds.
To the freshmen: You have learned the ropes of high school and will be great role models for the incoming freshmen.
To the rising freshmen: We very much hope to welcome you, in person, in the fall.
To HAFTR teachers and faculty: Thank you for all your hard work, dedication and support.
It has been my pleasure writing HAFTR Highlights this year. Wishing you a wonderful summer, with much good health and safety.