HANC HS puts its vals and sals in the spotlight


In announcing its Class of 2021 valedictorians and salutatorians, Rabbi Eli Slomnicki, menahel of the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County High School, described them as “emblematic of an ideal HANC student. Their commitment to Torah lishma along with the pursuit of general knowledge set a tone of aspiration for their peers.” 

Valedictorian Rena Max’s Torah knowledge helped her succeed in several competitions; for two years, she participated in the international Jerusalem Science Competition, which emphasizes the connection between science and Judaism. Rena was one of only four HANC students who took Chidon Tanach, a class which prepared students for the international competition testing students’ knowledge of select books of Tanach. Additionally, she was captain of the Torah Bowl team.

Rena’s articles for the “Fresh Ink for Teens” section of Jewish Week range from word games and math puzzles to the “Wizarding World of Judaism” and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also contributed articles to our STEM Journal and Midreshei HANC, the school’s weekly parsha newsletter. Further demonstrating Rena’s passion for writing, she participated in Stony Brook University’s Robert Green Journalism program last summer. As a result, Rena secured an internship with Stony Brook’s Media and Communication Department.

After spending next year at Midreshet Lindenbaum in Israel, Rena will be attending the University of Maryland where she will study Computer Science as a member of the ACES Honors program.

Valedictorian Aviva Friedman has taken every honors and AP course that would fit into her schedule and will graduate having taken ten AP courses. As one who reads math books for fun, it was no surprise that Aviva opted to double down on math classes, taking both AP Calculus BC and AP Statistics in her senior year.

Aviva’s passion for music and art is evident in everything she does. She has been playing piano since the age of 5 and more recently has taken up the guitar. She enjoys drawing and painting, and her walls are adorned with her creations.

Aviva received the University of Rochester Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award and was was recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction. Her near perfect GPA earned her an induction into the National Honor Society, and she has maintained a constant presence on both the General and Judaic Studies Honor Roll throughout her high school career.

As the Mathletes’ highest scorer, she would have been HANC’s first all-star in the state competition if not for the pandemic.

Aviva will be attending Binghamton University next year where she will be majoring in math.

Salutatorian Nava Lippman graduates with 10 AP courses and was named an AP Scholar with Distinction and a Commended Scholar by the National Merit Scholarship Program. In addition to being inducted into the National Honor Society, she was selected by the administration as a recipient of the Nechama Leibowitz Passion for Education Award.

From a young age, Nava has had a particular proclivity for the sciences, but especially research and genetics. Throughout high school, she spent her summers volunteering at the Cold Spring Harbor Lab, gaining hands-on experience in genetics through things like: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) genotyping, analyzing viruses in mice & the effects on the brain, and gathering cell cultures.

Merging the worlds of science and art, she competed in multiple art exhibitions. Her piece entitled “Contact” was displayed in Rep. Kathleen Rice’s office. Her passion for art is mirrored only by her passion for social justice. Nava was selected to represent HANC at the 2019 AIPAC High School Summit and the National Policy Conference. She was also Co-Captain of both the Hockey Team and Mathletes, as well as Co-Leader of HPAC. Additionally, Nava was a weekly contributor for the STEM Journal, and a member of our Robotics Team, Peer Tutoring program and highly competitive Torah Bowl team.

After a year at MMY, Nava plans to study Biology at Cornell.

Salutatorian Moshe Wieder will be graduating at the end of the year with 10 AP courses and has been named an AP Scholar with Distinction. 

He won induction into the National Honor Society, for which he was also elected as Historian, and was chosen by faculty as the recipient of the Keter Shem Tov Award for demonstrating distinguished character and a strong commitment to leading a life of high ethical and moral standards consistent with Torah ideals and values.

Moshe was Co-Captain of the Chess Team and a force to be reckoned with on the Torah Bowl team that attained victory at the national championships in 2018. He serves as Head Gabbai at his local synagogue, as well as at HANC, where he encourages and uplifts those around him. His motivational leadership is paralleled on the court; as a Starting Defenseman on the Varsity Hockey Team, he puts his all into leading the team through drills and keeping spirits up through tough games.

After a year at Yeshivat Sha’alvim, Moshe plans to pursue mathematics as a student in the Yeshiva University Honors program.