Students at SKA earn top graduation honors


The Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls of the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach has announced its student commencement honors.

Valedictorian: Nicole Israeli

Nicole Israeli, Hebrew Language Editor of the Senior Yearbook, is consistently driven to expand her knowledge base, pushing herself to uncover the educational process, not simply the product. She has received numerous awards for her skills in Judaic textual analysis, including the Tanach Award for excellence in study, and was awarded the peer-voted Keter Torah Award for outstanding character.

The coach of her Torah Bowl championship team coach refers to Nicole as “the heroine of the team,” praising not only her work ethic but her generosity with her teammates and superb sportsmanship. She is also a member of the SKA Math Team, a volunteer at the Levi Yitzchak Library, and a youth leader in her synagogue. Nicole is interested in studying math and science in college and is currently interning with a local veterinarian.

She plans to attend Michlalah in Israel next year, and then the Scholars program at Queens College. 

Salutatorian: Shani Axelrod

Shani (Emily) Axelrod, Art Editor of the SKA Literary Journal and a member of the SKA Art Academy, is a two-time winner of peer-voted awards for outstanding character, the Middot Award in 9th grade and the Keter Torah Award in 10th. She received the Tanach Award for her breadth of knowledge in Judaic Studies. A finalist in the Celebrating Art Competition, one of her drawings was published in a publication that included artists from around the world. She is a member of SKA programs that promote meaningful prayer and Judaic learning and she volunteers with the Friendship Circle and the Jewish Education Project. She is currently doing work-study with a fashion illustrator in NYC.

She plans to study in Israel next year at Michlalah, and then attend the honors program at Stern College for Women. 

Salutatorian: Sarah Meira Weissman

Sarah Meira Weissman, Captain of the SKA Debate Team, Editor of the school Holocaust Journal, and a founder of the SKA Political Science Club, is a passionate advocate for individuals who have disabilities. She has worked with the national Yachad organization, was a recipient of a Yachad Fellowship in her Junior year, and currently sits on the Yachad Youth Leadership Board.

Sarah Meira is a contributing writer for The Looking Glass school newspaper, a member of the Science Olympiad Team, a participant in the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education engineering fair, and a trained medical clown. She is currently interning at a Long Island-based law firm for her senior work study program.

A winner of the peer-voted Keter Torah Award for outstanding character, she will be studying at Shaalavim in Israel next year, and will then attend the Macaulay Honors program at Queens College. 

Keter Shem Tov (Crown of a Good Name) Awardee: Chaya Levin

Chaya Levin is Vice President of the SKA student government, an Associate Editor of the school newspaper, Captain of the Debate Team, Captain of the Soccer Team, and Captain of the Poetry Slam Team.  She is also an SKA Ambassador, a Dance Head in the annual Production, a Business Editor of the Senior Yearbook, Editor of the Holocaust Journal, and a Head of Pink Day for Breast Cancer Awareness.

In 9th, 10th and 11th grades, Chaya was chosen by her peers to receive the Middot Award for Outstanding Character, and this year, was chosen by her classmates to be the Keter Shem Tov Speaker at graduation.

She is devoted to helping others and last year collected more than two hundred books for the St. Janes de Chantal orphanage in Johannesburg, South Africa. The summer after 10th grade she travelled to Israel on an inclusive touring program with mainstream teens and individuals who have special needs.

Chaya is currently interning at the Kings County Supreme Court in Brooklyn. She plans to study at MMY in Israel next year and then attend the University of Pennsylvania.

Source: SKA