Students from the first eighth-grade graduating class of the Sonia and Max Silverstein Hebrew Academy (SHA) have been well prepared for their next journey as high schoolers. All 14 middle school graduates have been accepted into their first-choice high schools. And, in the words of famed children’s author Dr. Seuss on the academy’s graduation program, all 14 are ready for the challenge of “Oh, the Places You Will Go!”
The Class of 2016 eighth-grade grads will be moving on to some of the most competitive and acclaimed high schools in the area, including The Bronx High School for Science; Avenues, a private school in New York City; the Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in Manhattan; the Baruch College Campus High School; the NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies; Solomon Schechter School of Westchester; Horace Mann School, one of the top-rated private schools in the country; Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts; the High School of American Studies at Lehman College; Millennium High School in Manhattan; the High School of Math, Science & Engineering at the City College of New York; and Friends Academy.
SHA, founded by Raine and Stanley Silverstein and named in honor of Stanley’s parents, first opened at its 117 Cutter Mill Rd. location in 1998 and has grown to include outstanding cultural experiences, secular curricula and Jewish studies for 220 preschool, elementary and middle school students each year.
At the graduation ceremony, Middle School Director of Education Adele Spickler spoke of the school’s “special philosophy…where everyone knows every child.” And added, “We are inclusive,” noting that there is “no religious criteria.”
Great Neck mom Leah Livien chose the school for the “warmth” that permeates each class.
Girls and boys attend classes together from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., follow the Core Curriculum and receive individualized attention with a teacher-student ratio of two to 10. For children with special needs, a resource room is provided by the Great Neck Public Schools. “This is a wonderful, happy place,” said Spickler. “There is no pressure, only the joy of learning.”
Bita Ashourzadeh, the mom of a graduate, said that she wanted her children to be “well-rounded and well-grounded” and that “Silverstein has delivered that for us.”
Chumy Ezaqui, who has a sixth-grade son and third-grade daughter at SHA, said that she finds it’s “a good fit” for her children. “There is a homey feeling…and I was looking for enrichment…Silverstein is the perfect fit for my children.”
Donna Barack, the mother of a child with Cerebral Palsy, found SHA an equally good fit. “This school is amazing, very accepting…Jonah has friends, he is having a positive education…the impact from the top is very positive with so much encouragement. There is absolutely no other school I would want my child to be in.”