What’s in a name? Plenty. Many times names are chosen simply because they are liked or, because it’s a family name. But then, there are the times a name is chosen from a higher place and the recipient becomes the meaning and embodiment of that name. Such is the case with Ruben Prawer, North Shore’s first Student of the Month for 2019. The name Ruben, whether in Hebrew, Scandinavian or Spanish cultures means see or behold a son who will have a deep inner desire to lead, organize, supervise and achieve great things.
Ruben indeed owns his name. His list of achievements and leadership experiences is pages long. As his name suggests, he is a young man who enjoys all aspects of life including spirit (especially spirit), math (anything math-related), science, sports and acts of chesed. They all compete for his passion and attention, and somehow, he satisfies them all.
From day one at North Shore, Ruben hit the ground running by becoming a member of Track Club. In ninth grade, he entered the Science Olympiad and placed third in the Towers category. Olympiad competitors were required to demonstrate not only general knowledge in a particular area of science but out-of-the-box creativity as well. Ruben participated in Model United Nations (YUNMUN), Engineering Club, Computer Science Club and Torah Bowl. He also became a North Shore Notes staff writer. Pretty amazing stuff for a freshman in a new school.
Just to make sure he outdid his ninth-grade experience, Ruben more than doubled his involvement in competitions and co-curricular activities. In addition to maintaining membership in his freshman co-curriculars, as a sophomore, he became the Vice President of Finance/Treasurer of Mr. Garfinkel’s Investing Club, joined the choir, and traded Track Club for the Tennis Team. As someone who enjoys current events and political discussions, Ruben joined both Penn and Yale Model Congress, the North Shore Debate Team and Mock Trial. Mr. Nagel’s Traveling Math Team and Rabbi Lehrer’s Siyum Scholars also fed Ruben’s hunger for learning. In addition, he threw his efforts into the competition ring and came up a winner. He and his teammates took first place in the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, and this year Ruben is the team captain. He also entered the LISEF and Conrad Spirit of Innovation competitions and was a semi-finalist with the Smart Pill Box app that requires a fingerprint to open and has an app for reminders. Another award winner was his Virtual Menu app taking Best App Design in the NYC Computer Science Expo.
Now in his junior year, the year needing the strongest academic performance and attention, Ruben has not been deterred from participation in his favorites with several new additions. He has been promoted to President of the Investing Club and is the incoming President of the Anti-Bias Club where he enjoys moderating discussions on controversial topics. To enhance his interest in math and science memberships in the Science Society and Math Research Club (Al-Kalfus Math Fair competition) are also on the program. Ruben and team mates Ari Ostrow and Adriel Kohananoo are hard at work on this year’s LISEF entry called RDI or Robotic De-Icer – a robot to dispense ice melt on driveways and walks. Who wouldn’t want one of their own?
Last summer, Ruben joined Rabbi Weinberg’s five-week J.O.L.T. (Jewish Overseas Leadership Training) program in Israel with 48 like-minded students from around the U.S. and Canada, five of whom were from North Shore. For him, the experience encompassed the most ideal aspects of personal growth, his personal connection to Israel, and his connection to Judaism, specifically with regard to Tefila. During two weeks of the five-week program, the focus was on humanitarian projects such as picking up brush on the ground to prevent fires, giving out food and drinks on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, and his favorite – running a “Happiness” camp for kids ages 8 - 16 whose siblings have disabilities. He keeps in touch with many of his traveling companions and camp kids.
One of the primary goals of J.O.L.T. is to inspire others with a message of Judaic connection. This year, with this in mind, Ruben is the founder and President of the J.L.C. (Jewish Life Committee) here at North Shore to improve Jewish life and culture at school. For example, one of their goal activities is to set up a Shabbos cart, play Jewish music and hand out magnets with prayers for IDF soldiers to give students a good feeling as they leave for Shabbot. In addition, he is working with Rabbi Weinberg on setting up whatapp group learning chats run by three faculty members, so students can sign up for a particular chat subject of interest.
As Israel Advocacy is of paramount importance to Ruben, he applied and was selected to be part of the Write On For Israel Program, an Israel advocacy journalism program. The group attends Sunday sessions in NYC this year and next. They also go on short trips such as visiting a synagogue in Philly built by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright and are encouraged to write about various topics and submit them to Judaic publications. The program will culminate next February with a ten-day trip to Israel.
A natural leader, Ruben truly lives up to the meaning of his name. His enthusiasm and deep spiritual nature paired with his positive attitude of approaching everything with excellence, achievement, fun and a smile will take him very far in life. He is one to keep on your radar.
Way to go Ruben!
(written in Blue - Ruben's favorite color)
What is the difference between a Cardinal number and an Ordinal number? Let’s ask North Shore’s December Student of the Month, sophomore Kayla Hutt. Cardinal numbers answer the question, “How many?”, and Kayla will tell you “three”. Ordinal numbers describe the position of something in a list, and Kayla will tell you “third”. To clarify, Kayla Hutt is a triplet, and the youngest of the three, with the older two sibs being brothers who also attend North Shore. How fun is that? Kayla will tell you “lots”.
Kayla says she loves North Shore, because it is so different from other schools. It’s a friendly environment filled with happy kids and welcoming seniors. She thoroughly enjoys the diverse nature of the offerings at the school both in academics and co-curricular activities. Kayla is a student who likes a plethora of different things – she knows what she likes, but always likes to experiment and expand her horizons. In just her second year at North Shore, she has already managed to make her mark in her academic pursuits, sports and on the Headmaster’s Council.
She delights in creative writing, especially poetry, and as a freshman won Honorable Mention at the JCC competition for her poem called “Homework First”. Now, in her second year as a member of the Creative Writing Club she is President helping other students with content, editing and contest preparation. This is definitely a theme for Kayla who is also an active member of the Debate Team and Model Congress. She really enjoys public speaking and persuasively proving her point which really worked for her at Penn Model Congress last year when she won Honorable Mention for her bill called “Solar Panels for Roadways”. This year Kayla is participating in both Penn and Yale Model Congresses with a bill entitled “Equal Pay for Women”.
Science is also of great interest to Kayla. Last year she won Honorable Mention at the Long Island Science Congress (LISC) for her work inspired by the previous work of Adeena Paknoush. Kayla and Shirelle Shaulian germinated pea plants and after they sprouted, they were transplanted onto two different turntables set at two different speeds to test how this rotation would affect their growth and curvature. The plants that rotated at a speed of 78 revolutions per minute grew less in height, but had a greater degree of bend than those rotated at a speed of 45 revolutions per minute. Both Kayla and Shirelle felt enormous pride in completing the work Adeena had started. This year Kayla is part of the Medical Explorers and looks forward to learning more about the medical profession with a hands-on attitude.
To feed both her sporty and her artistic sides, Kayla plays three sports for North Shore. She has been on the JV Basketball, Soccer and Hockey (her fave) teams since ninth grade. She loves the action, running and excitement of these super team sports. In the artsy realm, she looooves fashion and has a fun and fashion-filled Instagram page called #betterthanokayfashion with close to 3000 followers! In addition, she is starting a new club at North Shore (with the help of Ms. Dammacco) called Fashion Social Media. It will be focused on modesty in school fashion or how to look cute for school and still dress respectfully and with modesty. Great idea!
School participation and making positive impact are two of Kayla’s passions. She is in the Chesed Club and was the grade rep for the blood drive committee. She is also working with Mrs. Gold to send letters to people devastated by the tragic synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh. She feels that reaching out to connect through heartfelt communication is very important in life. Outside of school, Kayla travels to Queens, on many Wednesday nights, with her dad and brothers for Tom Chei Shabbos. She helps pack food boxes for families in need of help.
Kayla was selected by Dr. Vitow to be a part of Headmaster’s Council. There are 2 guys and 2 gals selected as class reps from each grade to have regular meetings with Dr. Vitow and Rabbi Weinberg regarding issues in the school. The goals of the meetings are to communicate the voices of their classmates and to find and implement solutions. A recent example was the need for full length mirrors in the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms. Kayla took the initiative to research possible styles of mirrors and met with Dr. Vitow with her recommendations. As a result, mirrors have been purchased and will be installed over the December break. Go Kayla!
In her time out of school, Kayla is an avid reader, especially mysteries, but is known to change it up from time to time. In addition, over the summer, she will be doing an internship and then going on a teen tour called Camp Kanfei Nesharim and traveling to New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and California. She will be back just in time for her Junior year.
It is unusual to be named Student of the Month as a sophomore. Clearly, Kayla has achieved a lot in a very short period of time at North Shore. She makes it look easy! Just think, she will be here for another two and a half years – has anyone ever been nominated twice? Hmmm. There’s always a first time for everything.
Excellent way to go Kayla!
PS - Kayla's favorite color is RED!
November 2018 Student of the Month - Andrew Gottlieb
Did you know that only 0.5 % of the world’s population are ginger-haired males? North Shore is lucky enough to have one of their very own. Senior Andrew Gottlieb is NSHAHS November Student of the Month. This unique trait fosters strong-mindedness and a solid level of confidence. Two traits possessed by Andrew that have been demonstrated throughout his high school career.
The youngest of three, and the third to graduate from North Shore, Andrew has carved a place for himself at North Shore as unique as he his. A stellar student with many AP subjects under his belt, Andrew shares his knowledge and skill with his fellow classmates as a peer tutor. He has been teaching study skills and doing subject-specific tutoring since ninth grade in groups and for as many as eight individual students per week. Some of the subjects he covers are AP Biology, Chemistry, AP European and American History, and Economics. He says helping others succeed gives him a lot of satisfaction.
He has been involved in a wide array of activities throughout his career at North Shore ranging from business and science to sports and academic competitive teams. This is a testament to his confidence in himself. When he sets his mind to something, he goes full on for it. For example, Andrew started on the hockey team in ninth grade and each year rose to a higher level of success to include the Most Dedicated Player award and by becoming the Assistant Captain of the Varsity team. His experience on the Soccer team was similar starting on the JV team and becoming the Varsity Top Defenseman by his junior year!
Academically, Andrew was a member of the Math Team in ninth grade and has been named Captain in his senior year. This may be due in part to math-related subjects such as Advanced Calculus and Statistics being his favorites. He enjoys and is very interested in analytics for the joy of recognizing patterns that are not easily noticed at first glance. He likes the challenge of seeing these patterns in historical events and economics as well.
In addition to his sports and mathematical pursuits, he has participated in the Long Island Science Congress by creating a tongue depressor pressure sensor that works similarly to a biofeedback mechanism. The sensor worked as a sort of game to help people with speech impairments caused by tongue weakness. Andrew won Honorable Mention for this invention. Creating things that are helpful to society is important to him. Last year Andrew was Co-Captain of the 2018 Regional II First Place winning Rube Goldberg Machine contest. The competition entailed building a device to complete a simple task in a minimum of twenty steps. In the realm of Science Research, he created a design for a safer and more comfortable seat belt he calls the Ridesafe Seatbelt.
To round out his high school experience, Andrew also engaged in many competitive co-curricular activities including Yale Model Congress and Penn Model Congress where he won Outstanding Courtroom Team. There is also his time spent on the Mock Trial Team, the Debate Team and the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations, not to mention participating in the Science Olympiad and the Anti-Bias Task Force! Clearly, he performs well under pressure!
A young man with an easy smile and a great sense of humor, this National Honor Society student will soon be graduating and going to college. He said he has thoroughly enjoyed attending NSHAHS, because he was with good friends he grew up with and could count on and had great teachers and an excellent headmaster. His favorite food depends on his mood, and his favorite candy is whatever’s available.
What is he planning going forward? He is not sure, but he knows he loves business and science, so that will be his starting point as his rocket takes off and upwards.
But, the most interesting thing by far is Andrew’s quote for life: “If something doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world…unless it’s really the end of the world.”
Mazel tov Andrew! The end is just the beginning!
They say…you can’t tell a book by its cover. October Student of the Month, junior Jack Hedaya appears at first glance to be a reserved and serious student. However, once the book is opened, you’ll find a teen with the cool factor, a lot of passion for computers and a great sense of humor.
Hailing from Brooklyn, Jack has quite a commute every day to North Shore but feels it’s worth all the effort. Even on the days when the two-hour ride seems like a long haul, once he arrives he says the school brings out the best in him and just being there buoys him up. He selected NSHAHS, because he wanted a more diverse academic experience, and he’s living it.
Jack is a numbers and computers guy. He enjoys his computer science, business and math classes best. Once he starts talking about programming, his enthusiasm is palpable. In ninth grade, Jack independently studied AP Computer Science A and scored a 4 on the AP exam. When he came to North Shore, he actually took the class and scored his goal of 5. In eighth grade, he created and built a video game called “Cartastrophy” that was very popular in the Apple App store, and according to Apple it had over 2000 downloads in China!
This past summer, Jack interned for EXEQ, a personal budgeting and category spending finance for millenials app start-up company in New York City, as a full stack developer aka programmer with specialized knowledge in all stages of software development. He went in with the desire to work on the three main aspects of the company: website design, app development and database management, and was able to experience all of them.
In his sophomore year, he especially liked physics and math and participated in the MIT launch program along with his cousins David and Jacob Esses. They were just notified that their project to replace the inside of wire with plasma, a super conductor that offers very little resistance, was selected to receive $10,000 from MIT to move their project forward. This year, he has a very full plate and is so far enjoying Money Management, Double Gemmara, Macroeconomics and College Accounting.
Even with such a demanding schedule, Jack is always thinking of ways to help others. He is in the process of developing an app to connect people of all ages with appropriate mentors in the community. This aligns perfectly with his favorite hobby - programming. He appreciates observing a problem and finding and developing a clear quick concise solution. His passion started at about age ten when he started to research and teach himself programming inspired by his grandmother who told him that that’s where the future is. He participated in several programs and online classes while in middle school and when he learned Java, he was completely hooked. He plans to continue on this path to become a CTO or Chief Technology Office of a company he starts with his brothers. There are no official plans just yet, but they’re all on board and will see what direction the future holds.
Because all work and no play…well you know…Jack enjoys spending his precious free time playing football, video games, playing chess (he was on the NS team last year) and hanging out with friends lunching on sushi (yellowtail), M&M’s (all colors) and white chocolate.
Jack is a laser observer with a great dry sense of humor. This quality along with his positive attitude, enthusiasm and ambition in the world of technology will assure him a place of great future success!
Great job Jack – keep it going!
Kayla is a spirited exuberant student with many passions. Her diverse interests run the full gamut between her right and left brain including chemistry, art, neuroscience, jewelry design, Chesed leadership, writing, reading and computer studies to name a few. All this while keeping a cheerful life balance.
One of the activities Kayla most enjoys is being a Chesed project leader. She works with IVDU (Individualized Vocational Development Unit – a part of Yachad, The National Jewish Council for Disabilities ). She organizes workshops for North Shore students to prep them prior to spending the day with visiting IVDU students by teaching subjects such as sensitivity training. In a recent workshop she ran in her sophomore year, Kayla came up with creative ideas to provide experiential learning for her classmates. Each student had a postcard taped to their back with something written on it visible and known only to others causing the wearer to respond to how others treated them as a result. Another teaching moment was when she had North Shore students attempt to read aloud the Gettysburg Address with multiple lollipops in their mouths. Both practicums illustrated first-hand the frustrations and tribulations the IVDU students go through each day and provided feelings of greater tolerance and empathy by the North Shore students.
Another great Chesed success is Kayla’s involvement with Chai Lifeline (a volunteer-based non-profit organization that primarily works with children battling cancer and other serious diseases) where she contacted the director of Camp Simcha, organized a bake sale, and raised and donated $800 to help build a new accessible baking room. In addition, she designs and makes jewelry and donates 10% of each purchase to Chai Lifeline. She sells her chokers and bracelets on her website, and last summer Kayla studied metal jewelry making at FIT and was deeply inspired by the jewelry she found in Israel at the Tel Aviv Shuk. In fact, Kayla had her own booth at North Shore’s Shuk for the school Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) celebration.
Kayla approaches her academic side with the same amount of excitement, imagination and dedication. In her sophomore year she won Best Educational App for an app she invented and coded called “Jeopardy for Kids” at the 2nd Annual Mobile CSP Expo for the NY Metro area AP Computer Science Fair. She also entered this winning app in the Congressional App Challenge by doing a write up and making a three minute video about the app.
Last year, she was one of three sophomores on Mr. Nagel’s Traveling Math Team, is a member of the Science Society and a peer tutor for students needing help with chemistry. She also enjoys Mr. Muir’s English class for the way he relates classic books like Catcher in the Rye to make them relevant to current times and Mrs. Rozanski’s very lively Hebrew literature class Bechina Yerushalmit. An avid reader of what she calls “realistic fiction”, Kayla is an active member of Novel & Nosh with one of her favorite books being The Book Thief. In addition, Kayla won three awards in the Scholastic writing and art competition: Honorable Mention-Drawing & Illustration, Honorable Mention-Mixed Media, and Gold Key-Painting. Drawing hands and faces for their expressiveness are her particularly favorite subjects.
The North Shore world of co-curricular activities also gets her attention with her participation as a writer for North Shore Notes, Girls Who Code, both Drawing & Painting and Fashion Design & Sewing clubs. She also finished her first year on the Girls’ Softball team as a left fielder who likes being on a team to make memories and have fun with friends.
This past summer Kayla volunteered at the Bristal Assisted Living facility for memory care residents. She fulfilled her goals of helping in the painting classes and playing games with the residents. She feels this is a step towards her desire to be a psychologist or art therapist with her love of neuroscience. Kayla also took Mrs. Wilensky’s online web development class and learned how to build codes and a website from scratch.
We look forward to seeing Kayla’s professional and student growth in her next and final two years at North Shore. She has accomplished so much already and has affected the lives of so many in the most positive of ways.
And because you love to know – her favorite color is purple and her favorite food is cherries! It is said that cherries teach us to value each moment and that people who love purple have great imagination and artistic qualities. That’s Kayla all the way.
Good luck Kayla!
Have a great, successful and fun Junior year!