A Graduation to Remember

On Wednesday evening, June 17, Hebrew Academy of Nassau County High School seniors graduated before an audience of 130 Hondas, Nissans, and Toyotas filled with proud family members and faculty members. The ceremony took place in the parking lot at Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn Heights.

As the cars drove up through the arches of festive balloons and accompanied music, students and guests were greeted by faculty. They were presented with a graduate gift box that included the book Unlocking Greatness by Charlie Harary, Hurricane slides, this year’s Color War t-shirt, and a cookie with the class picture. Food fit for a drive-in movie such as popcorn, Twizzlers, Milk Duds, and the like were enjoyed by all.

The program opened under unique circumstances, as it complied with the COVID-19 guidelines, making it the first ever Drive-In Movie Graduation at HANC High School. Following the pre-recorded processional of graduates and the anthems sung by Mr. Jacob Spadaro, Rabbi Shlomo Adelman, Principal of the High School, welcomed guests and graduates and introduced the salutatorian, Ali Lenefsky, who delivered the Invocation.

Mrs. Marie Palaia, Associate Principal, greeted the graduates with an upbeat congratulatory message. She reminded students to strive for excellence, find balance in life, and laugh and smile each day.

In his outstanding valedictory address, Adam Speiser encouraged his classmates to continue making positive choices based on the foundations each student received while at HANC. Additionally, Adam expressed his hakaras ha’tov to his beloved school, family, and friends, and thanked Hashem for bringing the class to this milestone.

Dr. Ruchi Kushner, HANC’s President congratulated the class on their accomplishments and reminded the graduates that they will always remain beloved members of the HANC family.

Then, the faculty honored the Class of 2020 with a poignant video presentation filmed from the comfort of their homes, as they reflected on their most meaningful memories throughout the four years of high school.

Ms. Tziporah Zucker, Assistant Principal, addressed the graduates, emphasizing the unique qualities of the Class of 2020 and how each individual has impacted his or her school. She also complimented the class on their valuable leadership, especially during these unusual times. Ms. Zucker then introduced the class speaker, Stephanie Hoch, who reflected on the four years of high school and the memorable experiences they shared as a grade.

Senior members of the HANC Band, BlüSøul, accompanied by the Music Teacher, Mr. Jacob Spadaro, performed “Yom HaShishi” by Omer Adam in a riveting music video.

A surprise and heartfelt tribute video was created by the Class of 2020 to outgoing Menahel Rabbi Adelman, entitled “Thank You, Rabbi Adelman,” which reflected their admiration for their beloved principal.

Rabbi Shlomo Adelman, in his charge to the graduates, recognized his special bond with the graduates and encouraged students to always stay close to Hashem.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, followed by the blooper reel, faculty lined the “parade route” in a socially distant way, waving to the graduates as they drove through in their decorated cars. This, of course, was a way of carrying on the wonderful, long-standing tradition at HANC, greeting the graduates as they came off the stage. At the end of the parade route, each student was handed his/her diploma by Rabbi Adelman.

Mazal Tov to all the graduates and their families!