He pranced onto the court ready to play, with his long legs and black sneakers. No stranger to the student versus staff basketball game, Rabbi Laine (A.K.A. the gazelle) arrived with his game face on, and he did not disappoint.
“I’m glad that my playing ball makes the students happy,” Laine said. “That’s the environment that we’re trying to create around here.”
Student council organized the student versus staff basketball game to celebrate Rosh Chodesh Nissan this past Tuesday. The game has become an annual tradition at Hebrew Academy and a chance for teachers and students to compete on equal playing fields.
“It’s a way to break the pressure between students and teachers and break that boundary,” said Student Council Public Relations Director Judah Neuwirth (12th grade). “We showed that the students can be more dominant in some situations.”
This year’s match-up between female teachers and students was more competitive than last year’s game. The first half of the game saw some fierce moves from Assistant Principal Dr. Lieber, acting as a point guard and controlling the ball up and down the court. But each move she made, Rina Reich (11th) showed off her superior defensive skills by creating a barrier between Lieber and the basket.
“All I did was walk,” said Reich. “Each time I stepped in front her she looked frustrated because she didn’t have a way to get around me.”
During the second half, star player and math teacher, Mrs. Simauchi stepped in to show off her skills. Moving the ball all over the court and attempting to score a basket, Simauchi took control of the game. Her aggressive demeanor proved helpful, as she stole the ball multiple times from the students.
“The best part was when I was dribbling the ball for a certain period of time because I hadn’t done that for a while,” said Mrs. Simauchi, who accidentally hit Reich in the face during the game, causing her glasses to fall off. “It brings unity between the teachers and the students.”
In the end, as hard as the staff tried, the students triumphed, though it was a close score.
The excitement only continued with an intense male student versus staff game. Coach Bishop, Coach Berman and Rabbi Laine were strong on the boards. Berman made several wet threes, but Ben Tal (11th) matched them shot for shot. The highlight of the first half was a ferocious dunk by freshman Jacob Stein.
“Savage,” said spectator and senior Michael Fedida. “His elevation and his strength, going up while jumping, and pulling the rim down with a nice slam.”
The second half of the game featured an intense final two minutes, but students came out on top with a four-point win.
“The boys didn’t really try so hard, and that frustrated the faculty, but we still won,” said Caleb Katz (11th).
The school says they plan to continue the tradition next year.
“It’s great to see everyone having a good time together and taking a well-deserved break from class,” said Student Activities Director Rabbi Ney. “I think it’s important for the culture of the school as part of the bond that we can foster between staff and students to have events.”
According to some faculty members, next year, the competition will be even more tough.
“I want to start a league for the staff and faculty for next year,” said English teacher Mrs. Handwerger. “We’ll start practicing early in the year and be ready for the big game. That way, we can annihilate the students and show them who’s boss on the court.”
By: Ezrah Sultan (11th Grade)