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The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Class of 2020: Friendships, lessons, and memories


Slider image by Anna Clauer

Every year, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy (HBHA) has to bid farewell to the seniors as they go off to pursue adventures, careers, and goals far and wide. The class of 2020 is no exception, but as they prepare to say goodbye to HBHA, they must do so in a new way. Coronavirus has all but cancelled the fourth quarter of their senior year, but this year’s seniors are facing it head-on. Their resilience and commitment to the school and each other is admirable, and this group of athletes, actors, advocates, and leaders will be one to be missed. 

This year’s HBHA senior basketball athletes. Photo by Perijo Maddox

Spending a combined total of 63 years within the halls of HBHA, this class has certainly made an abundance of memories and friendships that they will not soon forget. Over such a long period of time, choosing just one memory proves difficult, if not impossible for most seniors. Rather, these seniors can take away lessons from their time at HBHA, which will help them as they go off to college. Lessons such as advocating for yourself, the importance of reaching out for help, the value in student-teacher relationships, and what a strong community can do for you. 

“One of the biggest things I learned at HBHA is the importance of community…people are both stronger and happier when they have the support of others,” says Addie Brand. 

Others echo Brand’s words, commenting that the community they have both inside and outside of their grade could never be matched at a public school. 

“My grade isn’t just my friends. They’re my family,” remarks Ethan Herman.

The class of 2020 in 8th grade preparing for their camping trip. Image courtesy of HBHA’s facebook page

 Beyond just their grades, the seniors say that they have learned so much from students older than them who have taught them about college and life. Older students are looked up to as role models, and these seniors “hope [they have] had a similar effect on younger kids that older students had on [them],” says Brand. Leaving bonds that are this strong can seem daunting, but as Eli Cohavi says: “I know years from now [the bonds] will stay this way.” Spending so much time with the same people leads to connections that can not be broken, even over hundreds of miles. 

For every senior class, it’s hard to say goodbye to each other and to the school, but for the class of 2020, there’s a new twist. Their school year ended abruptly in mid-March, leaving the rest of the year for distance learning from home. As they have likely walked the halls of HBHA for the last time, this is a difficult thing to accept. 

“Since I’ve been at HBHA for so long, I wanted my last few months to really be special and reflect my time here,” says Mirra Goldenberg, but being isolated from her friends and teachers “has done the opposite.” There are a lot of opportunities and experiences that these seniors are missing out on, and it is obviously hard to come to terms with that. 

However, given all the time they have, it has caused them to “think of all the amazing opportunities and memories [they] have gotten from HBHA,” and be grateful for all the time they did spend there, Ayelet Schuster comments. 

This gratitude extends beyond just life at HBHA: Gavi Glickman reminds us that “there is so much to be grateful for and appreciate even with this new lifestyle,” and that although it is hard to feel so distant, at the end of the road “we will be able to have a newfound appreciation and joy for being with each other.” 

Although they are isolated, nobody feels completely alone. “The faculty and my friends at school have made this time easier to cope with,” says Sara Saidel. The support that students are feeling from teachers and each other are taking away from the stress and worry that can accompany such a difficult time. 

As they begin to wrap up their time at HBHA, the seniors and everybody close to them looks forward to their futures. As they attend Tulane University, University of Kansas, Bradley University, University of Denver, and University of Colorado Boulder, along with two students attending a gap year program in Israel, they are using this extra time to start preparing and connecting with new people.

 But before their time is truly done, these seniors have advice to give to younger students, hoping it will make their time at HBHA more memorable. The seniors can agree about one overarching piece of guidance to give to those younger than them: Take full advantage of everything HBHA has to offer. Never shy away from an opportunity, and although it seems like you may have a long time until graduation, always live in the present. 

“Your time here will fly by,” says Schuster, “so do everything you can to make your time here even more memorable.” 

“Just try to live in the moment as much as you can and appreciate the friends, family, and teachers you have right now,” Glickman finishes.

As the class of 2020 prepares for the next adventure in their lives, they have all left their mark on HBHA. This special group of seniors is ready for the next chapter, and although their year was cut short, they have made impacts on HBHA and those within the halls that will not be forgotten.

Video by Aaron Kohl

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