For North Shore Hebrew Academy High School’s valedictorian Brandon Gold, graduating high school is just the beginning of a new journey – one that will take him halfway across the world. After graduation, the 18-year-old has decided to study ancient Jewish scripture at Yeshivat Torat Shraga in Israel before attending Cornell University the following year.
“It’s a year where I can connect with my roots and get a strong background on my culture before going to college,” he said.
On Tuesday evening, North Shore Hebrew Academy High School graduated 84 seniors at a ceremony held in the John C. Adams Playhouse at Hofstra University. This year marked the 10th graduating class from the high school, which opened 13 years ago in Great Neck. The school began as an expansion of North Shore Hebrew Academy, an elementary school that has been in existence for nearly 50 years.
The ceremony featured a variety of speeches from faculty and students. Toward the end, the senior graduating class presented headmaster Daniel Vitow with a special commemorative glass plate, inscribed with the core fundamentals of the institution and names of the students, forming the shape of a tree.
“The graduating class gave a gift last year and we wanted to do something too,” said senior Edwin Lavi, 18, of Great Neck.
After the diplomas were presented, the Class of 2013 ended the ceremony in song, singing in both English and Hebrew.
For speaker of the class Talia Bassali, 17, of Great Neck, the last four years of high school signified a shift in gears as she grew up.
“I think it’s amazing having, for the past four years, students and faculty being role models,” she said. “And now, graduating, I can be one.”