HAFTR picks its Val’ and Sal’


HAFTR HS Valedictorian Rachel Sacks

Rachel Sacks, valedictorian of the HAFTR HS 2017 graduating class, is president of the Science Institute Club, captain of the Debate Team, president of the Yeshiva League Model Congress, copy editor of the school newspaper, member of the Math Team and College Bowl team, as well as profile editor of the senior yearbook.

An AP Scholar with Honor, she is the current president of the Deah chapter of the National Honor Society and is a member of both the Spanish and Hebrew Honor Societies. Rachel participated in HAFTR’s two-year Scientific Technology course, in which she developed an enhanced walking stick for the blind and a wearable device that assists in improving posture.

To continue her STEM path, Rachel participated in an educational visit to Israel with other yeshiva students from around the US and the STEP Technology and Start-Up summer program. In her junior year, she founded an entrepreneurship club in which she forged connections with innovators and arranged for visits to her school by successful start-up company entrepreneurs.

She has also conducted science research each year and entered the Long Island Science Congress as well as the school science fairs, for which she received honors. For the past two years, she has studied the enigmatic qualities of prime numbers and presented her work at the Long Island Math Fair where she was awarded a silver medal. 

This past summer, Rachel participated in the Garcia Center for Polymers at Engineered Interfaces program, where she worked with a partner on creating polymer scaffolds that serve to augment dental pulp stem cell differentiation and protein adhesion for applications in the field of tissue engineering. She and her partner continue to visit the lab and obtain more data and have competed in various contests.

She was a semifinalist in the Siemens Competition in Science, Math, and Technology, was awarded first place in her category in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, and she and her partner will be advancing to the International phase of the competition in Los Angeles this May. She was recognized as a semifinalist in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and presented her research at the Materials Research Society’s (MRS) annual symposium. She and her partner recently had their work published by the MRS foundation and are primary authors on the publication. 

After a year in Israel, Rachel plans to study biochemistry at Columbia University.

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HAFTR HS Salutatorian Perrin Rudensky

Perrin Rudensky, salutatorian of the HAFTR HS  Class of 2017, is constantly looking for ways to incorporate her creativity into her academic activities.

A distinguished member of the Art Institute, Perrin has mastered a variety of artistic skill sets and worked with a plethora of media and subject matter from monochromatic ink pointillism to colorful acrylic landscapes. Her artwork has been displayed at HAFTR’s annual art show as well as the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County.

Perrin served as art editor of the Spanish newspaper, assisted in set design for HAFTR plays and productions, and is currently working on developing her portfolio. Perrin is also a member of the Science Institute, competed in the Long Island Science Congress, and took first place at HAFTR’s annual Science, Math, and Engineering Fair for her project on altering the genome of E.coli to code for ampicillin resistance.

She is editor-in-chief of the senior yearbook, president of Mitzvah Mutts (animal rescue club), head of the yoga and Ulpan clubs, and a member of the College Bowl team. She tutors underclassmen in English and Math and has coordinated fundraising events and bake sales, with proceeds going to Bethany House of LI, Kindness Ranch, and Gentle Giants, among others.

An Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor, Perrin is a member of the Deah chapter of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Hebrew Honor Society, and Spanish Honor Society.

She was named Student of the Year at last year’s NHS induction ceremony, where she delivered a keynote speech to her fellow inductees on the importance of fostering one’s creativity amid rigorous academics and the value of deriving wisdom from one’s every interaction with others. At the conclusion of the ceremony, she received the Barnard College Book Award for academic and community leadership.

After her gap year in Israel, Perrin will attend Barnard College of Columbia University.