Jewish Star Schools

At HANC High, top graduation honors announced


Valedictorian Rachel Canter is a series of delightful contradictions that combine to make a fantastic student and a wonderful human being. She is simultaneously brilliant and humble, sharp-witted and reserved, conscientious and a risk-taker. She is a leader who is not bossy, but rather leads by excellent example. Rachel is an intellectual in every sense of the word and elevates the level of discourse in every classroom that she enters.

Rachel is an academic success because she seeks to improve her understanding of any topic that she gets her hands on. Rachel’s teachers have commented that she is one of the brightest, hardest-working students they have ever come across, and her insights are representative of a student well-beyond her years. Never limiting her intellectual interests to school work, Rachel is also incredibly well-read. She is a voracious reader who consumes as many books as possible, completing an astounding 117 books in 2015 alone! Simply put, Rachel’s love of learning is infectious and makes those around her want to expand their minds as well.

Rachel’s true love of learning translated directly into a stellar academic record. Always looking to challenge herself, Rachel took a full load of honors and Advanced Placement classes. Last year, Rachel was given our school’s prestigious Passion for Education award presented to the student who best exemplifies a genuine passion for learning. She is a member of the National Honor Society, serving as vice president in 11th grade and co-president in the 12th grade. She is also an AP Scholar.

Not only is Rachel outstanding in the academic arena, but she impresses with her passion and commitment outside the classroom. Rachel is not only a member of a variety of clubs, but she has taken on leadership roles in nearly all of them. Most notably, Rachel is Co-President of our school’s Student Senate. She is also a major player in not one, but three school publications! She is Editor-In-Chief of the HANC Herald, Editor-In-Chief of Midreshei HANC, and a contributor and Editor of the HANC Happenings. Rachel is also a Yearbook Editor, the Book Club Co-Chair, and a starting player on the College Bowl Team. Additionally, Rachel is a four-year volunteer for both the Jewish Elderly Committee and the Peer Tutoring Society.

Rachel will be attending Brandeis University where she plans to study English.

Salutatorian Michal Kaufman is an exemplary role model. She is a hard-working, respectful, motivated young lady who is passionate about learning and growing both in her general studies subjects as well as her Limudei Kodesh subjects. She is good-natured and an easy going young woman who always has a smile for everyone and a helping hand to those in need. As one who wants to pursue a career in education, it is no surprise that Michal thrives when given the opportunity to teach others. 

In addition to being inducted into the National Honor Society and being named to the Honor Roll her entire high-school career, Michal was selected by the administration and faculty to receive a host of other awards. She was selected as the recipient of the Rensselaer Medal (for excelling in Math and Science), the inaugural Yeshiva University Torah Umadda Book Award, and was the recipient of the Ateret Shem Tov Award. This award is given to the student who “demonstrates distinguished character and a strong commitment to leading a life of high ethical and moral standards consistent with Torah ideals and values.” Michal embodies these characteristics and was the natural choice for this award. 

Although thriving in all areas of academics, Michal truly has a mind for Science and Mathematics. She achieved the highest AP grades and class averages in AP Calculus AB and AP Physics 1 as well as being named an AP Scholar. She is also an avid reader of fiction as well as Jewish History and Philosophy. 

Michal has been a member of the school’s undefeated Mathletes Team, is a four- year member and current head of our Girl’s Chorus, is Captain of the Volleyball Team, is a contributor to Midreshei HANC, and is a member of Jewish Elderly, to name a few. Ultimately, Michal left her mark on HANC by taking charge and revitalizing our Bikur Cholim Committee. Under her direction and leadership, she transformed it into one of the most successful chesed committees in our school. Outside of HANC, Michal played a vital role in her community as Chapter President of the Plainview NCSY. She has also dedicated her summer breaks to meaningful programs, including NCSY GIVE (Girls Israel Volunteer Experience) and JOLT (Jewish Oversees Leadership Training).

After a year studying in Israel at Michlalah, Michal will be attending the Stern College Honors Program at Yeshiva University where she plans to study math and education.

Salutatorian Eric Lenefsky is smart, humble, kind, and mature. He is driven and hardworking, but also takes the time to explore his intellectual curiosities. He is a born leader, yet takes the time to hear and digest the opinions of others. Eric is truly a mature and level-headed young man.

Eric takes his Judaism very seriously. He is a member of the Bet Midrash program taking the most challenging Limudei Kodesh courses, competes as Torah Bowl Captain, and leads his fellow students during davening as Gabbai. Eric is also the recipient of our school’s Keter Shem Tov Award, presented to a student who demonstrates distinguished character and a strong commitment to leading a life of high ethical standards. Simultaneously, Eric is a young man of science and math, facts, and exact calculations. He is committed to a future in medicine, so Eric has taken the most difficult science and math courses that HANC has to offer. He not only succeeds in these courses, but leads class discussions and introduces new ideas. Eric is also the Chairperson of the Pre-Medical Society, the Chairman of the Annual Blood Drive, a Peer Drug Educator, a Mathlete, and a Science Olympiad competitor.

Academically, Eric is nothing short of a superstar! Eric has taken an astounding nine AP classes and more than a dozen Honor’s classes. He has been on Honor Roll for four years and is a member of the National Honor Society (and was elected Co-President as a senior). He is also an AP Scholar with Honors and a University of Rochester Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award Recipient.

On top of the above-mentioned activities and leadership roles, Eric is the Co-President of the Student Senate. He is also the Captain of the College Bowl Team, the Debate Team Captain, a member of the school’s AIPAC Committee, a staff writer for Midreshei HANC, a member of Model UN, and a four-year volunteer for the Jewish Elderly Committee. In case this wasn’t enough, he is also a four-year athlete on the softball team.

Following a year of learning at Hakotel in Israel, Eric will be attending the Honors Program at Yeshiva University.