It has been some year for the world, for the Jewish People, and for our staff and students at the Yeshiva of Central Queens, but we made it. Through quarantines, isolation, illness, fear, innovative teaching, Zoom classes and programs, and masks…staff and students got through this past year and a half and are hoping for both an end to the COVID pandemic and a fresh start and return to a little less challenging time.

The last week of school at YCQ began to return us to a bit of normalcy by allowing for no mask wearing out of doors, giving us hope for the possibility of returning to regular school in the fall. To end a difficult year, the students went on some amazing end-of-the-year trips and events, followed by pre-school moving up ceremonies and an amazing outdoor eighth grade class of 2021 graduation.

The nursery students had an alef-beis party. They each had a turn to look in the Torah for a special letter to introduce them to a future of Torah learning and mitzvos, and the kindergarten students worked hard learning the words and performed Thank You Hashem, B’Yachad, We Are a Nation, and Yishtabach for their parents, followed by a grab-n-go collation and finally receiving their diplomas.

To end the year with some fun, our first and second graders spent Trip Day enjoying rides at Adventurers Amusement Park; for grades 3-5, YCQ rented out the entire Adventureland Park, and the fifth graders – after a few hours riding the rides – headed to Dave & Busters; the sixth graders went to Sportime USA, and a ropes course. It was a relaxing and enjoyable way to bring this year to a close.

Back at YCQ, ice cream trucks parked in the yard for all students and staff to enjoy this special treat. And finally, on the last day of this crazy year, the entire school enjoyed a visit from Flippenout trampoline performers, who set up in the yard.

To show hakaras ha’tov to the teachers who will not be joining us next year, the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) organized their annual superette so we could say good-bye and, most importantly, “thank you” to some of our staff for all of the years of service to our students. Mrs. Debbie Bermish, after over 40 years as [part of the YCQ family retired as director of the resource room; Mrs. Raina Popowitz, beloved kindergarten teacher, retired as well. Rabbi Yaakov Finkelstein, a rebbe, mentor, and friend for over 20 years, will be an assistant principal in another local yeshivah; Mrs. Adina Morris, our amazing third grade teacher and Mr. Yoni Goldstein, one of our innovative and creative JHS science and math teacher will both be moving with their families to Florida. Our JHS Math Teacher Mr. David Nagarpowers will be returning to a career in programming. All will be missed.

And finally, the closing event. The staff luncheon, this year, gave tribute to every staff member for the extra efforts they gave under these extraordinary circumstances. This year was hard, so the staff worked harder. It was challenging, so the staff met these challenges head on and came up with different ways of keeping YCQ going. They did not give up, and the students had a year of learning, fun, and dealing with new challenges. To all of the staff: Thank you!