She likes to be called Gaby. Gaby likes to be called a great student, a caring and trustworthy friend, and a determined and hardworking young woman. We’re calling Gabriella Nassimiha the January 2020 Student of the Month. What a great way to start a new year and a new decade!
Gaby is a very unique person. She really has her feet planted firmly but also has that intangible quality of an internal knowing. She doesn’t see just what is in front of her but seems to be able to view things from a higher perspective. She is like a young sage who views life in a way beyond her years.
A perfect example of this is the way she has zeroed in on her future path. Gaby wants to study nutrition and dietetics. She says her choice is based upon many personal health struggles that have been improved through dietary intervention. Through these experiences, she learned not only the value of proper food but how food can change a life. It changed hers, and now she wants to be that catalyst for others.
This past summer Gaby wanted to do an internship with a professional dietitian in private practice. She independently researched and contacted twenty-five people and was not deterred by the “no, we don’t accept high school students” response. Instead, she paid attention to the maybes, decided she needed just one right one, and found exactly what she was looking for – that one “yes”! Gaby traveled to the upper west side every day to work with a woman who is a dietitian, nutritionist and personal trainer and had an amazing experience. Gaby, a self-proclaimed fitness junkie, loved sitting in on client meetings, observing and taking notes, and even being asked for suggestions. The excitement of seeing progress in the many clients was palpable and only served to solidify her goals. For her Work Study this coming spring, she re-contacted one of the previous “no” people and is trying to create another “yes”.
In addition to her internship, Gaby spent three weeks on a teen tour through her Shul. They started in Poland and went on to Israel. She says there is such a profound difference between seeing and experiencing the camps in Poland and reading or hearing about it. Walking the paths and seeing the evidence of the atrocities took her breath away. She describes the difference between the start and the end of the trip as a sort of Yin and Yang of bad and good, dark and light.
Gaby is passionate about using her influence to make the world a better place. She is an active member of the Women’s Leadership Club dedicated to empowering young women, participates in the Anti-Bias Club for the open discussions about current events and social issues, and volunteers for a number of organizations including Masbia soup kitchen, walks to raise money for people with cancer, spends time with elderly in nursing homes, and currently is training for a 10K and Spartan race (with obstacles and a lot of mud) to raise money for a charity for children with disabilities. Last year her team raised about $35 thousand. With Gaby’s high energy, no doubt they will beat their record.
Determination and focus is how Gaby has approached her high school career as well, and it shows. She a member of National Honor Society and six subject honor societies. In addition, Gaby is a four-year member of the school choir, the girls’ varsity basketball team (captain), and the tennis team. This year, she is assistant editor of the Yearbook team working on details and decision making. She is very comfortable making decisions, she says, because she just knows it right when she feels it. Gaby is very intuitive.
On a lighter note, as a staff writer for the school electronic newsletter, North Shore Notes, Gaby enjoys writing about school events. In the business realm, Gaby is a long-standing member of DECA, a national business-focused competition and likes the fast, creative thinking needed to come up with on-the-spot marketing plans for business scenarios presented by the judges.
Being a very academically focused person, Gaby found that she needed to learn about the balance between work and play to keep her in top form. She says she is diligent about making time for family and keeping a secure network of friends who all support one another and have similar priorities and feels these are the secrets to her success at school and as a person. Gaby makes sure to set aside time for her hobbies including a passion for fashion, the gym and Soul Cycle. Of course, cooking is at the top of her leisure enjoyment list. Cooking new foods for her family, making her weekly lunch meals and most of all – preparing Shabbat dinner with her grandmother. The fave food she could eat every day? Salmon.
Gaby’s food-love hobby morphed into a passion and now is her calling. She has been able to get her entire family on her food bus and loves being the driver. Not to mention, they are all into her great cooking as well. Good food, exercise and taking fun time for herself are all important parts of being happy and being a good role model for her sibs and friends. She says the two main rules of life she lives by are:
1 - When you feel good you become a better person and bring that out into the world.
2 – “She believed she could, so she did.”
Gaby did, does, and will definitely do! We look forward to hearing what’s going to be on her future menu!
Go for it Gaby!
(Yes - you guessed it - Light Pink is her favorite color!)
When asked, Rachel’s eyes light up when she tells of going to Israel to run for Shalva; an organization that supports and empowers individuals with disabilities and their families in Israel. She raised over $3000 with an online campaign to friends and family, which she truly enjoyed - but the best part for her was running a second race with some of the Shalva children. She loved that she was able to put faces and emotions to those that benefitted from her fund-raising efforts.
While in Israel, Rachel also volunteered for Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli humanitarian organization with a mission to improve the quality of pediatric cardiac care for children who suffer from heart disease and cannot get adequate medical care in their home countries. She organized games and activities for children who were either waiting for open-heart surgery or recovering. Rachel appreciates the idea that care is provided to children from birth to teens regardless of their country of origin or religious affiliation.
Not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get into the hard work, Rachel has prepared bags of pasta and barley and packed food into boxes to send out to families in need at Pantry Packers, peeled and chopped veggies at Masbia Soup Kitchen, and organized books at Book Fairies. She also volunteered to speak to prospective students and their families at NSHAHS Sunday Open House.
The concept of going to a school that promotes Jewish ideals is of great value to Rachel. She is a very active member of Anti-Bias for the discussions of current events, learning of different acts of bias and considering unique methods to respond to bias. Rachel doesn’t miss the chance to attend monthly Israel Awareness meetings to discuss the importance of the existence of the State of Israel. In this light, she will be in attendance at the A.I.P.A.C. 2020 conference (a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States) in March. This year, she was interviewed and selected to be Vice President of the Women’s Leadership Council representing the female body of the school. They will be organizing events, such as last year’s Challah Bake with Mrs. Septimus where they donated their Challah to a local women’s shelter, and inviting speakers to serve as role models of women’s empowerment.
Medicine is of great interest to Rachel. She is considering a future in dentistry or medicine. In addition to her full plate of AP classes, Rachel enjoys Medical Minds, a fairly new club for students interested in the medical field for the guest medical professionals that speak and teach about their respective fields, Mr. Wykes’ Science Society for the different non-traditional science-related events, and Medical Explorers for the sort of real-life doctor-patient diagnostic experience. Rachel is also a Peer Drug Educator having been selected as one of 10 students for the program. Trained on drug education, this year she will be working with middle school students on the negative effects of drugs.
Rachel likes to be organized. She is one of those lucky people who is adept at keeping her work space uncluttered. She says she functions best this way. That is probably how she negotiates all of her co-curriculars, volunteer work, schoolwork and leisure activities! That type of thinking serves her well in Mrs. Wilensky’s Girls Who Code where she and Sofie Mor teamed up to create an app called “Fruit Game” to help children learn about healthy food selection. This year she hopes to expand it and put it into the Apple App Store. Rachel has enjoyed learning to use Python and creating different games and apps in a supportive all-girl environment. Supporting other classmates is important to Rachel. She has been a Peer Tutor for several years “specializing” in AP Macroeconomics and Physics. She may want to add math to her repertoire since she is on Mr. Nagel’s Traveling Math Team. There’s that orderly mind again!
Not to be all about that fabulous left-brain, Rachel possesses a wide creative streak. As part of North Shore Notes, she has written articles on school, sports, and current events. You may not know she is also an accomplished doodler, lover of art supplies, and bubble letter expert. She loves shopping and people watching around Soho in NYC. Rachel loves cobblestones and old NYC because she likes character and things that are different. She also loves fashion, because she says that ‘the way you dress is how you feel.”
How does Rachel feel…like the future holds happiness, success, lots of giving, and excitement for all the new chapters.
Great job and Good Luck Rachel!
P.S. – Her fave food is Twizzlers and fave color is Blue!
Every now and then you meet a student whose high expectations for success is just business as usual. They just are who they are, and a high level of achievement is just how they are. Menachem Rabizadeh is like that. Doing great is just what he does…well – very well. Menachem is the November Student of the Month and with good reason.
Menachem has a two-page, single spaced resume replete with science research, sports, community service, and awards and honors. He doesn’t play favorites. They’re all important to him, so when he talks about his activities and accomplishments, it is with equal levels of passion.
One of the multiple award winning highlights is his science research (with Dr. Runco and Mr. Weinberg) invention called The Smart Glove. While at the gym, he and his research partner Yoni Khakshoor, observed that people were working out with weights and had poor form. They developed a biofeedback type of technology that detects 3 axes of movement and attached it to a weight-lifting glove. When used, it lets the lifter know how and where to make the necessary positional corrections. They also envision it being used during physical therapy for a more effective and faster recovery by allowing the patient to receive feedback during therapeutic exercise. They won $500 in the NSPC Health Science Competition and were finalists at LISEF (Long Island Science and Engineering Fair) and LISC (Long Island Science Congress). Another one of his inventions is what he calls the “Safety Bear”. He installed a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm and camera inside the bear. Both inventions were Conrad Spirit of Innovation semi-finalist entries. This is a perfect example of his natural thinking to just simply combine science and helping to solve a problem.
Helping is something Menachem takes to heart. He is the current President of his local Chabad Friendship Circle; a volunteer organization for students to spend one-to-one time with special needs children and adults on weekly field trips. As President, one of his responsibilities is student recruitment, which has set a record this past year. In addition, he cooks for the children every Tuesday. As a champion for community service, Menachem also regularly enlists the services of fellow students to volunteer at the Masbia soup kitchen. In addition to all of this, he makes the time to volunteer tutor a middle school student twice a week across all subjects and coach him in basketball (his own favorite sport).
Speaking of sports, Menachem is on both the varsity basketball and volleyball teams. Along with local competition games, he has played in tournaments such as the Memphis Invitational, Boston Invitational and the Oren Grunbaum Montreal Tournament (was a 2018 All Star). He twice won the coach’s “Hustle” award for the “most dedicated and best work ethic” on the team. Just another example of how he 100 percent shows up.
How he “shows up” in the academic realm is by continuing to challenge himself in his senior year with A.P. U.S. Government, Physics, Micro Economics, Calculus, and the all-in-Hebrew Jerusalem Exam. Menachem received and AP Scholar Award and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Spiritual life is a priority for Menachem, as well. He is a Teen Youth Minyan Board Member of the Cherry Lane congregation where he reads from the Torah weekly, leads prayer services and helps the younger members read from the Torah. Here at North Shore, he is part of the JLC (Jewish Life Committee) where they focus on improving Jewish life at the school by creating a happy atmosphere by playing music and handing out candy each Friday prior to Shabbat. In addition, Menachem is an active member of the NCSY JUMP where he is team advisor. JUMP sends students from over twenty schools across the country to meet and come up with ideas to help the Jewish environments in their schools. Advisors had to present a business plan of how they were going to solve problems and gain fundraising to implement their plans.
Menachem’s future interests lie in the business/technology/engineering sector. This past summer he was a full-time intern at a real estate office in New York where he did cold calling to locate interested sellers of properties. This is probably the most challenging aspect in the real estate business, and he not only succeeded, but thrived in the environment. He is a current President of DECA, a competition-based business club where he most enjoys the “on the spot” scenarios given by the judges. The marketing aspects and extemporaneous speaking with judges gets his adrenaline going. In addition, he is a member of the Investing Club where he enjoyed learning about bonds, real estate investing and using a virtual stock market. He ended up being the class winner of the NSHAHS virtual stock investing game.
Whether spending time playing his guitar, eating his favorite pizza, advising fellow Chess Team players on best-play strategies, enjoying the discovery of all sides of issues as an avid member of Israel Awareness, Menachem exhibits that thoughtful brilliance that inspires others. Menachem is a modern-day throwback to the kind of person who exudes a warmth, excellence and generosity of self not often seen today. He sees himself as doing “business as usual”, but we see him as doing the “unusual in business.”
Great job Menachem!
What is a sparkler? You know – the firework stick you wave around on the Fourth of July that throws sparks, colored flames, bright light, or perhaps, a well-cut diamond? Well, if you think of a person who has her picture in the sparkler dictionary, that would be the October Student of the Month – junior Talia Dror. She is aflame with brightness, a colorful personality, an intense intellect and throws sparks of creativity and warmth to all around her.
Talia has been a North Shore student since pre-K. She loves the vibe here, and it shows. She says she enjoys the process of learning new things, and she spreads the wealth across a wide variety of subjects. Right now, her favorite subject is math…history…Bechina…you get the idea. She is passionate about all of it. If it’s learning-driven, she’s on board.
With her first language having been Hebrew, Talia chose to enroll in the Bechina program as a sophomore and plans to take the Bechina Yerushalmit Exam, administered by Hebrew University of Jerusalem, later this year. She particularly enjoys the Hebrew literature aspects of the course, because “with Mrs. Rosanski, you feel like you’re actually in the story.” She is studying both classical and modern Hebrew literature which makes her feel an even deeper connection to Israel. To further enhance her experience, Talia was accepted into the Sephardic Education Center Hamsa Israel program this past summer. She was one of sixteen teens in the country accepted for the three-week trip that focused on historical perspectives using new Israeli literature. The group’s home base was located in the Sephardic House; the only hotel located in Jerusalem’s old city. She says that the view of the Kotel from her room was both beautiful and surreal. Her eyes light up explaining she went on the trip not knowing what to expect but returned fulfilled and the happiest person.
In addition to her Israel trip, Talia interned at the Weil-Cornell Lab in New York City. The scientist she was assigned to, gave her a petri dish of ovarian cancer cells and told her he needed a certain number of cells by a certain date. It was up to her to independently research the best type of catalyzer to use to replicate enough cells and was able to successfully accommodate his research deadline. Her future plans include returning to the lab to start a project about specific pancreatic cells in rats and how they are affected by artificial sweeteners.
Continuing in the science theme, Talia, as a member of Girls Who Code, won at last year’s S.T.E.M. Fair in the Computer Science Technology - AP CSP category for the MarioBlast app she developed to improve eye-hand coordination in kids with autism and other developmental challenges. In addition, she won honors with her teammate Esther Baum in the Long Island Science Congress Competition for their creation of an alternative to plastic straws called "Examining New Materials to Replace Plastic Straws" - Category/Subcategory: Environmental Engineering (ENEV) – Pollution Control(PLL). In addition to the 3-D printed straw they designed, they also worked with Mr. Suchmann to contact the Barilla pasta company and partnered with them to create a straw made of hollow pasta.
As you may have guessed, Talia interests go beyond science, engineering and literature. She is also a history lover. AP US History and AP European History are two more favorite classes which segue with ease into several of her co-curriculars. Model UN for the international research, Model Congress (Yale and Penn) for the rush and passion of speaking in front of people and diplomacy, and Mock Trial for quick thinking in the heat of the moment. In all, the theme is fruitful meaningful debate on a wide array of topics.
For Talia, her out of school activities are just as important to her as her academics. Since the eighth grade, on Shabbat she works at the Great Neck Synagogue taking care of 2 to 4 year-old children during prayer. She is a member of Bnei Akiva; an international youth group that meets weekly for experiential activities and Shabbatonim focused on Israel, Zionism, the parsha, and Judaism. Also since 8th grade, Talia has had the rewarding experience of being a Madricha, or counselor, to K – 8th kids. Lastly, but not least, Talia is an active member of AIPAC and Stand With Us.
A modern Renaissance woman, Talia is equally at home as the financial officer for DECA as she is with making diagnoses using the teaching robot in Medical Explorers, participating in Zionist activities or cooking traditional Persian delights with her mom. Talia loves running, hanging out with friends, funny movies, pickles and her favorite color purple. She is as multi-faceted as the best cut diamond and sends points of light like a firework to all in her very extensive circle.
Whether she chooses the law, medicine or engineering, she will most certainly be the light that leads.
Congratulations and Excellent work Talia!
September 2019 Student of the Month - JEREMY SOFIEV
There’s always something special about being the first Student of the Month for a new school year. The September SOTM is always chosen at the end of June to be sure that come September 1st, the vibe of the new school term starts out on the right track. So, let’s all congratulate Jeremy Sofiev, incoming junior, as the September 2019 Student of the Month.
Jeremy is the one honored this year to set precedent and raise the bar for student excellence. The pun is intended. Jeremy has a passion for the law. In fact, Jeremy has a passion for a lot of things. Things that may on the surface seem unrelated, but there are always common denominators. For instance, he comes from a family of jewelers. As a result, he developed a zeal for collecting rocks and minerals.
This would be defined as a creative interest in geology, which is the study of physical aspects and historical aspects of the earth. It’s a way of looking at things that will serve him well in life – doing research to seek information of the mundane visible things and digging for the truth and intangibles. Jeremy is a keen observer and analyzer.
Some would argue that geology is a science, and that would be correct. The fact is that for Jeremy, science is a strength though not his true interest. Even so, he participated in Medical Explorers with Dr. Chandhok and in Science Research with Mr. Suchmann and Mr. Weinberg and has excelled by taking High Honors at the Long Island Science Congress (LISC) with his invention. Jeremy created a device called “Spoiler Alert” that detects spoiled food based on methane concentration in the air to prevent food poisoning that also won “Most Creative” in the Science Research category at North Shore’s 1st Annual STEM Fair. Next, he wants to create an app for his award-winning invention and will work with Mrs. Wilensky on an independent study. He feels that although science is not his path, it can only aid him in any law cases he may come across later on.
This brings us to “discovery” of Jeremy’s true passion. Since a young age he has been interested in the law. He has always had a strong innate sense of right and wrong, and the concept of seeking justice for victims of crime only serves to turn up the flame. To this end he has chosen his North Shore classes (that also happen to be his faves) and co-curricular experiences to enhance and embrace his plans for his future. Jeremy took AP Euro with Mr. Miles and is continuing this year with AP US History and English with Mr. Muir (lawyers have to be able to express themselves). He enjoys the energy they impart in their classes. He will also be enjoying AP Macro and Biology and looks forward to Ms. Hennelly’s Forensics class when the time comes.
He is continuing this year as a seasoned member of both the Debate Team and Mock Trial which he especially enjoys for the experience of arguing a case from both sides of an issue. In true Jeremy style, he thrives on the idea of researching (there’s that word again!) the facts and details from all points of view. He is also looking forward to being a part of Penn Model Congress and Yale Model Congress this coming year. As a big thinking kind of guy, he likes to get a global perspective to make the best decisions.
Jeremy loves to work hard and play hard. Being well rounded and living a balanced life is something instilled in him by his parents and is something he has taken to heart. In addition to his rigorous academics, he is going to start his third year as a member of the NSHAHS Wrestling Team, which plays to his competitive nature.
In the theme of balance, this past summer he not only worked as a certified lifeguard at a local pool but also managed a high-level internship in a criminal law office two days a week. They have never before accepted a high school student as an intern, which is a testament to Jeremy’s level of maturity and commitment. He gained a lot of experience in the law field and saw what it is like to be a criminal attorney. He was also able to draw the big differences between activities like mock trail and real world law and hopes to continue this internship until and throughout law school.
On the fun side of things, Jeremy’s hobbies include working out, going to the park for pick-up b-ball games and studying the stock market (yes – seriously his hobby), and watching his favorite TV show How to Get Away with Murder about a professor who teaches a class on defense law and is also a criminal defense attorney who hires her students to assist on cases. Speaking of favorites, his favorite color is Green (the money shade of green), and his favorite foods are rice and broccoli (again seriously).
Jeremy’s law school graduation should occur in about the year 2028. All who would want him as their attorney – raise your hands. Exactly – it’s unanimous. As he starts his junior year at North Shore, we all see him and support him on his amazing path that starts with a single step. Oh wait – he’s already done that. Jeremy is well on his way to success with humor and passion that is only picking up momentum as he moves toward graduation. No objection. Court is adjourned.
Best of Luck Jeremy!
Keep up the amazing work!