HAFTR Highlights

Hawks hoops it up, go clubbing and sport their skills


After Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns High School students returned on Jan. 28 from a well-deserved vacation the second semester began with a bang.

The junior varsity boys’ basketball team took home the title in the second annual Katz Yeshiva Basketball Tournament, students participated in various club competitions and many seniors enjoyed a field trip to Hofstra University.

The HAFTR Hawks JV boys’ basketball team traveled to Boca Raton, Fla. on Jan. 31, to play in the Katz hoops competition. In addition to the host team and HAFTR, the Frisch Cougars from Paramus the Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy Sting from Riverdale also took part.

All the teams were formidable opponents. The Hawks got off to a slow start with the team suffering losses that placed them as the No. 4 seed as they headed into the playoffs. However, our JV players were not discouraged and they dug deep to climb out of that hole. After they defeated the Katz Storm, the top seed in the semifinals, the team prepared for a championship matchup with the Frisch Cougars for the second consecutive year.

The title game proved to be thrilling, as the two Yeshiva League powerhouses battled it out until the final minutes of the game. Ultimately, the game ended with the winning shot by freshman Haimy Salem just before time expired. The Hawks came home with pride as the two-time tournament champs.

Club offerings

The many clubs that HAFTR offers allow students to compete and participate in various competitions and outings. The activities provide students with unique opportunities to engage in events that are of interest to them, but not available in regular classes.

Model Congress, for example, offers students the chance to experience some of the workings involved in presenting legislation to Congress. Students draft their own bills and vote on the proposed bills of fellow students, similar to federal representatives. Students are not only expected to defend their own bills but are also required to prepare speeches in favor of or opposing other bills.

Another popular club is College Bowl, a yearlong competition where students from yeshiva high schools from across the tri-state area compete head-to-head to answer questions in many general areas of knowledge.

As David Lederer, a junior member of the College Bowl team, said, “It offers students the opportunity to recreationally test their knowledge in a competitive and fun atmosphere. I enjoy participating because it adds excitement to academia, different from that of the classroom.”

College Bowl is a fun way for students to test their knowledge against participants from other schools, giving all students a chance to broaden their academic scholarship.

Sports literature

The seniors in HAFTR’s sports literature course, taught by Michelle Beach, visited Hofstra University on Feb. 7. The students interviewed the coaches and staff members of the Hofstra men’s basketball team and were lucky enough to observe the team practice.

They will attend a Hofstra game on Feb. 21. The students enjoyed this opportunity, which allowed them to apply their academic experience to this real life one, as they interviewed coaches and experienced life as mock sports journalists.