This past Monday, Hebrew Academy held its annual Sports Banquet, honoring student athletes from elementary to high school. Each year, the prestigious Yossi Heber Award goes to two seniors who excel in athletics and represent the school. This year Florencia Chami and Danny Yerushalmi were the recipients of this award.
“I wasn’t really expecting it,” said Chami, who has been on varsity sports teams since 6th grade. “It’s great, and it’s so sad that this is my last year. I’m so sad this was my last sports banquet.”
According to her team members in flag football and basketball, Chami was not only a great player on the court, but she was a mentor too. Though quiet, before important games she would lift up the team’s spirit and often lead them to victory.
“Flo was more than just a captain or a senior to me,” said Samantha Ebner (9th grade). “She was someone I knew I could go to when having trouble or needing advice, either in or out of school. I’m going to miss Florencia in school, at practices, and games.”
Yerushalmi has been involved in school sports for the past three years. He played basketball and flag football, and during that time, he learned that it’s not only the award you get, but the connection you make with your coaches.
“It was truly an honor, and I am very humble in receiving the award knowing others that have gotten the award before me,” Yerushalmi said. “It felt nice to be recognized for certain efforts and devotion you give in to school and sports. It was truly an honor, and I am thankful for my incredible coaches for the past three years in school sports.”
Yerushalmi is also known for being a leader off and on the court. According to his team members, he is the heart and soul of the varsity boys basketball team and a mentor to the underclassmen.
“Next year will be totally different in every way without Danny,” said Noah Schiff, an incoming senior who will be the captain of the basketball team next year. “He had a plan to bring everyone together. Now I look back at it, I realize what he did, and it’s the most genius thing that he was able to take two different types of groups, like the jocks or the big superstars in basketball and the people that were up and coming, he brought them together. That is the most difficult thing for me, that I have to do, if I am captain next year- to try to make everyone feel comfortable, accepted, welcomed, and part of the family that the basketball team is.”
In addition to elementary and middle school awards, trophies were handed out to students on: Varsity Girls Volleyball, Girls and Boys Varsity Cross Country, Boys Varsity Flag Football, Junior Varsity Basketball, Girls and Boys Varsity Basketball, Girls Varsity Soccer,Boys and Girls Varsity Tennis,Girls Varsity Flag Football and Boys Varsity Volleyball.
The audience, made up mostly of athletes and their family members, ate a dairy buffet and enjoyed an ice cream bar for dessert.
The athletic department also auctioned off student art work and autographed sports pictures.They held a raffle with prizes, including signed pictures from Mohammed Ali and Lebron James, a Hebrew Academy Volleyball and much more.
Director of Athletics Coach Bishop said he was happy that the audience left feeling excited about how much the athletic program is growing. Bishop also expressed how proud he was of the senior athletes at their last sports banquet.
“It was amazing giving Danny and Florencia the Yossi Heber awards. They are both a true example of what our school is about and I can’t wait to see how successful they both are in whatever they choose to do.”
By: Michal Cohen (11th Grade)