HAFTR Highlights

Charting a course toward college


For Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) High School juniors, college is just around the corner. Most students are quite uncertain where they will be applying. The school’s April 17 College Fair was a big help.

The night began with a panel of six college admission representatives from Barnard, Baruch and Queens colleges, New York, Stony Brook and Yeshiva universities. Lyle Scott Wind from Stony Brook University moderated. Wind provided an excellent overview of the college admissions process. The panel then reviewed hypothetical applications from three HAFTR students, looking at the students’ transcripts, resumes, SAT/ACT scores, teacher recommendations, and personal statements. Each student had unique qualities, and each member on the panel discussed whether or not the student would be a good candidate for their university and why.

During the next phase of the program, students and parents had the opportunity to select three meetings (20 minutes each) to attend. At each, the university representative described campus life, tuition costs, and unique courses the school offers. With the chance to attend three different sessions, students were able to get a feel for college life; they really began to understand what specific characteristics — size, location, and private vs. public — they preferred.

Afterwards everyone proceeded to a large room where they had the opportunity to confer with any representative they wished. This experience was of unparalleled assistance to juniors who really did not know where to begin. It gave them direction, and helped them decide which college path they wanted to pursue. “Do I want a big school or a small school; city or urban? After tonight, I can give a more definitive answer. I now know what type of things I am going to look for in my quest to find the perfect college,” said one student.

Thank you to the HAFTR College Guidance office for arranging this worthwhile evening, which will assist students on their path to composing a list of appropriate college matches.

College Bowl

Another highlight included Yeshiva League College Bowl, jointly hosted by Davis Renov Stahler (DRS) and Stella K. Abraham (SKA) high schools at the Young Israel of Woodmere, where eight Long Island yeshivas played their last match on April 18. The HAFTR teams played three rounds. In the first match, the 7-0 junior varsity played an exceptionally good SKA team. The match was close but HAFTR lost by about five points. “I have to say I was quite devastated, but I was very proud of the team. We played our best and had a really good time,” said Jaimee Schwartz, one of the team’s captains. The junior varsity team defeated Rambam and Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC) that secured their title as Long Island JV Division Leader with an outstanding record of 9-1. HANC was the last challenger of the day, and since the HAFTR team already clinched the title, the entire team had the opportunity to play this round. HAFTR’s varsity played exceptionally, won all three of its games and finished with an excellent 8-2 record. A tiebreaker game won by DRS determined the wildcard winner. The championship rounds between the Long Island, Manhattan, and New Jersey divisions is at Heschel in Manhattan on Thursday. Congratulations to the junior varsity team on clinching their division title and advancing to the playoffs.

What makes the college bowl teams so good is that each member has a different strong suit. Some people specialize in math, others in pop culture, and some just know random general facts. These strengths enable them to really cover every category. “Personally, this is my favorite extracurricular because it showcases the strengths of so many students. We get to learn a lot in a competitive and exciting environment while also having a blast,” said Russell Charnoff, one of the junior varsity captains. “I really enjoy the time I spend practicing and being at matches. I am so very glad that I joined the team!”

At HAFTR, it really is about having an incredible high school experience, participating in a variety of activities that appeal to one’s distinct interests. At the same time, when it comes to making important decisions (i.e. where to apply to college), HAFTR helps ensure that students have all the tools necessary to be accepted into the universities of their choice. It truly is a perfect place to be.