I grew up in Hillcrest, then moved to West Hempstead in fourth grade.
What year did you graduate?
I graduated from YHT in 2013. My class was in the new building from first grade all the way through eighth grade.
What have you been up to since you graduated from Yeshiva Har Torah?
I went to DRS for high school and loved it. I then spent a year at Yeshivat Lev HaTorah in Ramat Bet Shemesh and loved it too. I am currently a sophomore at the University at Buffalo, where I am studying economics and journalism. I write for the student newspaper, am an active member of Leadership House, and am involved with the major Jewish organizations on campus: Hillel, Aish, and Chabad.
I've always been extremely passionate about sports, politics, and economics. I found an outlet for that in journalism. When I was in eighth or ninth grade, I started blogging for New York Sports Hub. My writing wasn't great, but I was very persistent. I would write every day, and started making noticeable strides in my work. I spent one summer writing for the Long Island Herald, where I had the opportunity to interview professional athletes and get bylines. It was a really cool experience.
Since 2015, I have been an editor at Elite Sports NY, where I cover the Brooklyn Cyclones and New York Islanders. I assign, edit and write content; sometimes, my writing will get picked up by major news and sports sources. [Ed. Note: Justin neglected to mention that in 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism.]
My passion for writing came from YHT. Mrs. Fenton was my English teacher for fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth grade, and she changed my outlook on writing. She encouraged me to view it as a fun and enjoyable process. She had me write about the things that I liked to write about, not the usual boring stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed her class. I don't know how many people are proud of their middle school, but I am definitely proud to have gone to YHT. It was a great education.
Do you have a favorite sports journalism memory?
Probably getting to cover my first professional baseball game. Between the press box, player interviews and post-game press conference, I was in complete awe of my surroundings. While the Brooklyn Cyclones may have lost to the Hudson Valley Renegades that night (it happened a lot that season), it was still a really rewarding experience.