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I’m Sarah Kolodny and I graduated from Zdr in 2020 and I’m proud to be in college at the moment in pursuit of my future career. I came to zdr in the ninth grade because I was looking for a school that cared about their students but also had a good education. The rabbi greeted me happily and throughout high school it was blatantly obvious how much the rabbi cared about every student. Since it isn’t a big school the faculty is able to focus on students and actually get to know each person. The education is aligned with the board of education standards and they teach everything you need to know for all of the standardized tests and are extremely good at delivering the information in a way that’s easy to retain.  The Judaic studies were always taught in an interesting way and classes like Halacha and Hashkafa taught us laws that applied to our every day life as well as for our futures. The education as well as the faculty wanting  me to succeed gave me a high school experience that I am definitely glad I had, and if I went back in time I can’t think of any school I’d rather have gone to.

-Sarah Kolodny


“People say that high school is the time of your life, it’s a period in your life where you’re creating lifelong friendships, learning things about yourself, and growing as an individual and as a student. My freshman year at ZDR, I came into high school set on becoming a lawyer. However, with the help of my amazing teachers, I realized that law wasn’t my passion. Throughout my time in ZDR, almost all my teachers advised me on going on the Education route. I had a knack for taking on the “leader” role, taking initiative for my classmates and getting things done. It is part of the reason I graduated as Valedictorian, and went on to study English & Education at Hunter College. I graduated Hunter College with my Bachelors in English in May 2020. I am currently still attending Hunter College to receive my Masters in General & Special Education. My teachers advice and encouragement in ZDR led me to where I am today. I am not only attending graduate school, but I am also a published author of three poetry books. I opened my own tutoring service and it has been growing steadily B”H, and I am also currently a first grade teacher. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the amazing faculty and the warm and loving bonds they created with me. ZDR led me to my passion. ZDR showed me that to be a leader you need to use your voice, so today I am using my voice to thank each and every one of my former educators for instilling this drive for success within me. 

-Raquel Alkedaa/Gadaa

Growing up in ZDR was like growing up in a big family. From the moment I started 9th grade you felt the warmness from both the students and the teachers. The teachers were always there for you and ready to help with whatever you needed, and always made sure you were going on the right track. Besides for learning basic curriculum we would also have real discussions with the teachers which was my favorite part of all. The class would get into serious discussions about important things about life that were so much more important than just school subjects. A lot of the things that were spoken about still stays with me today. Another thing that I truly appreciated was the help we received with college, between having SAT classes to having one on one sessions to fill out applications, it was everything you needed in order to apply. Today, I have graduated from Brooklyn college with a BA in psychology and am currently working as an ABA therapist, I plan on going on to graduate school to further my education in psychology.

-Arielle Tornheim

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