Far Rockaway Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, accompanied by her chief of staff Amanda Kernozek and Teach NYS’s Annie Watman and Sydney Altfield, visited Midreshet Shalhevet to experience its STEM curriculum. Sarah Yastrab, parent of junior Nava and alumna Tamar (’16), arranged the visit. “To know that we have such amazing support in Albany is very heartwarming as a parent,” she told the visitors.
“Our STEM curriculum is a testament to our commitment to our students,” said menahelet Esther Eisenman. “It is an expensive commitment that we understand is of paramount importance, which is why we have undertaken our current program, and continue to expand it each and every year. These are young ladies who love to learn!”
After lunch, the esteemed guests were treated to a display of students’ STEM projects. The girls pointed out the skills that they have gained from STEM classes this year: creativity, practical math, problem solving, language skills, and multitasking.
Freshmen Leah Cohen and Ayala Feder displayed the websites they have been building all year to build and explained the coding behind them.
Sophomores Leah Rubin and Tal Gaon demonstrated a robotic hand built from scratch, which opens and closes. They explained how they wired each component, attached it to a motor, and coded it to move. They then joined classmate Avigayil Roffe to present a giant menorah their class built for Chanukah — over four feet tall, built out of PVC pipe, painted, and wired and coded to actually work. Tal Gaon also presented an app designed to recommend books, and explained how she built the algorithm behind it.
Junior Hadassah Krigsman exhibited a two-person robotic game she built, where LED lights travel down a track, and each player must press a button to stop the lights before they reach the end. Juniors Becky Haviv, Shifra Chait, and Sima Bochner demonstrated the mousetrap vehicle they constructed for the Science Olympiad this year, which travels forwards and backwards using only the energy generated from mousetraps.
Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato was impressed with her young constituents. “It is my job to fight for schools to get the money they need, so that you can have this wonderful education,” she said. “It is so special that you showed me what you have been learning, so I can take that message up to my colleagues in Albany and tell them we are creating the next generation.”
Aliza Feder, who heads the Midreshet Shalhevet STEM curriculum, said, “I was so proud of the students as they gave an eloquent and animated presentation of the projects that they have been working on.” Rosh hayeshiva Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman commended the girls for their determination.