Students at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston recently received confirmation of their outstanding math and writing skills.
Competing against thousands of students from across the Northeast, 10 seventh- and eighth-grade students were awarded top prizes in the prestigious Scholastic Writing Awards competition for their literary submissions.
In a separate Writing Portfolio category, open only to high school seniors, Edyt Dickstein of Livingston was awarded the top Gold Key prize for her work.
Eighth-grader Samuel Shersher of East Brunswick also received a Gold Key award; he and Edyt will be entered into nationwide competition, the results of which will be announced in March.
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the oldest such competition in the nation. Competing in the Northeast Region-at-Large, the Kushner students were up against thousands of students from New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
The Kushner students were mentored by acclaimed novelist Dara Horn of Short Hills (In the Image, The World to Come, All Other Nights), as part of a guest lecturer program in the school’s Language Arts department.
Works are submitted in 28 categories, and students have the chance to earn scholarships and have their works exhibited or published. The Kushner students submitted work in such categories as Flash Fiction, Personal Essay/Memoir, Science Fiction, Short Story, and Poetry.
“I am thrilled with the results of the competition,” said Horn. “The students are such gifted, thoughtful writers, who exhibited dedication and creativity throughout the writing process. For their submissions to obtain recognition on this level is a testament to the caliber of their work.”
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A team of Kushner Academy students also came out on top at the national Math League’s regional middle school competition, bringing home the winning trophy on Jan. 15.
The team of 20 students in grades six-eight competed against approximately 80 students from throughout Mercer, Morris, and Somerset counties. Participating schools included Far Hills Country Day School (where the competition was held), Frelinghuysen Middle School in Morristown, and Princeton Academy Middle School.
Seventh-grader Aaron Dickstein of Livingston placed first in his grade and had the highest score in the entire contest. Sixth-grader Yogi Sragow of West Orange placed first in his grade level, and eighth-grader Eden Mendelsohn of Livingston placed second for her grade level. Overall, seven Kushner Academy students placed in the top 16 slots.
Middle School associate principal Debbie Finkelstein said, “We are so proud of our students. They were incredibly focused, worked hard, and came in with a positive attitude — simply happy for the experience — but to bring home the trophy was the icing on the cake.”