Tennis, hoops, softball, learning Chinese: Zakheim did it all


Brett Zakheim doesn’t need a calendar to know what time of year it was.

Zakheim could be found decked out in her Bronx Science tennis garb in the fall. Winter? That would mean basketball season, so a tank top and shorts. When springtime rolled around, she was manning first base for the Wolverines softball team.

Yes, Zakheim packed a lot into her four years at Bronx Science. And as she recently gazed around Harris Field one last time — her now former softball home — the graduating senior reflected on what she described were a lot of great memories. Yet, Zakheim is ready for what life has on deck for her.

“I’m definitely sad to leave, especially the sports teams I played on,” said Zakheim, who helped the Wolverines girls tennis team reach the finals of the Public School Athletic League playoffs this past season before losing to Beacon in the championship game.

“That has been a real integral part of my Bronx Science experience. I’ve been on a lot of different teams in my four years here, but it’s definitely time for me to leave. It’s just bittersweet.”

There was a lot of success on the softball field and basketball and tennis courts during Zakheim’s tenure. The softball team reached the PSAL quarterfinals in her junior season. Ditto the basketball team.

But those achievements paled in comparison to the one she helped accomplish shortly after she walked on campus for the first time as a freshman.

“We won the city championship in tennis my freshman year, and that was really exciting,” Zakheim said. “I was like, ‘Wow, this is a great introduction to Bronx Science.’ And last year we had a really successful basketball season, and that was fun. And last year, softball was also a blast because we did so well.”

Zakheim has no favorite sport — each one gave her a unique experience.

“They were all fun in different ways with different team dynamics,” said Zakheim, who captained the softball team this season. “I just really enjoyed playing all three sports.”

Perhaps the most impressive achievement Zakheim managed to pull off was to play and excel at three different sports all while balancing the always-challenging workload that comes with being a Bronx Science student.

“It’s pretty amazing looking back at it now, but it was a lot of fun for me,” Zakheim said. “I would really look forward to practicing every day and playing in the games. Luckily I came into school pretty solid at all three sports, so I didn’t have a lot of catching up to do. I was able to get it all done.”

Oh yeah, one of those classes Zakheim had to juggle while playing sports the whole school year? Chinese. And she’s so fluent in one of the languages from China that she hopes to use it when she travels.

“I hope to study abroad in China when I’m in college,” Zakheim said. “I’ve been taking Chinese in high school, so I really want to take advantage of that. I’ve done it all through high school, but I started in middle school. But that wasn’t very intense.”

Shortly after graduation, Zakheim plans to get out of the city to work her summer job up north.

“I’m going to be a camp counselor at Camp Pinecliffe in Maine for seven weeks this summer,” Zakheim said. “I used to be a camper there, and now I’ll be a counselor.”

And when late summer rolls around, Zakheim will again head north for college as she attends Tufts University in Massachusetts.

“I’m not totally sure what I want to study, and Tufts is very good at helping people figure out what they want to be and exploring their passions,” Zakheim said. “They also have great academics and a lot of opportunities to study abroad that I really want to take advantage of.

“It just seems like a great community to be part of. I’m really excited to be going there and I’m looking forward to it.”

Her four years at Bronx Science now gone in a blur, there are many things Zakheim said she will miss about her days there.

“I think the thing I’ll miss the most about Science are just the people,” Zakheim said. “Just the fact that everyone around me is smarter than the next person, and the dedication that I saw by everyone on and off the field and in school, was really incredible. So I’ll definitely be back to visit.”