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Students Attend NY Innovation Festival


By: Eliot De Paz (11th Grade)

Last month, thirteen Hebrew Academy students got an inside peek into the business world at the Fast Company Innovation Festival in New York.

The students traveled to New York with Assistant Principal Rabbi Assaraf for the second year in a row. The Fast Company Innovation Festival is an annual convention where participants learn from thousands of recognized entrepreneurs. Hebrew Academy was the only high school attending the festival. Students roamed New York, visiting companies like Twitter, Nike, and Buzzfeed, and listening to speakers including Scooter Braun, Tory Burch, and the director of Blumhouse studios.

The trip started off with a visit to the Twitter headquarters, where two heads of the company explained the direction Twitter hopes to take and how they wanted to improve their platform over time.

“They’re a large corporation, and they’re doing so many things right, and yet they still look to improve in so many ways,” said Dylan Del Giglio (12th Grade). “They’re not satisfied with what they are as a company now.”

Another high point of the festival was an interview with Scooter Braun, the manager of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Braun spoke about the way he grew up and how it shaped who he is today. He told the story of what led up to his success and the struggles he’s encountered in the music industry.

“He really stressed a lot about how his parents shaped the person he is,” Shuee Shaulson (12th) said.  

One of the main lessons Ariel Arwas (11th) learned from Scooter Braun was who to conduct business with.  

“People who try to start a bunch of different companies or ideas, you should stay away from those people, because they don’t mind failing so often,” Arwas said. “You should find someone who is very passionate about one idea that they’ve been working on.”

Jason Blum, the founder of Blumhouse Studios, which produced movies like The Purge, Get Out, and Insidious, was also one of the keynote speakers at the convention. He spoke about how he produced blockbuster movies and his creative process.

“I’m a fan of Blumhouse and liked hearing what he had to say,” said Elie Dahan (12th).

Students on the trip all said they felt that they gained a new understanding of business from the Innovation Festival.

“It was very beneficial to me because it taught me a lot about the outside world,” Shaulson said. “We’re in high school, so we’re in a small bubble. We think life is easy. It shows us what these people had to go through to get where they did. How much hustle and work they put into it.”

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