City Squash
Enabling New York City youth to fulfill their academic,
athletic and personal potential.
students

Blog

Oct
10

Chris Fernandez to Lead Dickinson College Squash

 

CitySquash alumnus and Director of Squash Chris Fernandez has been named the new Men’s and Women’s Head Squash Coach of Dickinson College. Fernandez becomes the first urban squash alumnus to lead a varsity college program. “I am truly grateful for such an opportunity and look forward to making urban squash, Dickinson and everyone who’s supported me proud,” Fernandez said. Both of Dickinson’s teams finished in the top-20 in the country last year.

 

Fernandez first stepped onto the squash court in 2004 as part of the second cohort ever to try out for CitySquash. Chris went on to win a scholarship to the Canterbury School in Connecticut and then moved on to St. Lawrence University, where as a senior, he captained the men’s squash team that was a National Championship finalist. For the past three years, he has served as CitySquash’s Director of Squash in the Bronx.

 

Squash + Education Alliance Executive Director Tim Wyant, who was leading CitySquash when Fernandez first joined, is one of many proud mentors excited by the news: “Chris will do an outstanding job at Dickinson. Since the time he joined CitySquash in sixth grade, he has been a trailblazer, pushing the boundaries of what people in our network thought possible: winning one national title after another, being a two-sport college athlete, captaining a team that reached the finals of the college nationals. He has a generous spirit, is ferociously competitive, and is a person of integrity.”

 

Read more about the announcement here. Please join us in thanking Chris for his dedicated coaching and best of luck at the collegiate level!

 

 

 

Sep
12

Hiking, Team-Building, and Fun in Lake Placid!

Over 100 CitySquash team members, alumni, and staff from the Bronx and Brooklyn sites traveled to Lake Placid at the end of August for our annual wilderness retreat. Activities included team-building games, swimming, competing in a multi-day Cabin Color Challenge, and hiking up one of the Adirondack high peaks. The retreat provided CitySquash with a unique opportunity to bring team members of all ages and locations together, allowing for both bonding and reflection as we kickoff another programming year. This was especially on display at the final campfire, when team members got to enjoy s’mores and listen to some of the high school seniors and alumni reflect on their journeys through CitySquash. A big thank you to the Reiss Family for hosting the team in Lake Placid!
 
See below for some picture from the memorable week!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jul
27

First Annual CitySquash Serves a Success!

CitySquash team members, family members, staff, and board fanned out into the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan for the first annual CitySquash Serves day of community service! 125 participants in total rolled up their sleeves across 7 service projects, including delivering meals to home-bound seniors, removing invasive plants along the Bronx River, walking dogs at an animal shelter, and packing lunches for Habitat for Humanity volunteers. Afterwords, groups reflected on their projects and impact before coming back together at Fordham University for a celebration. Many thanks to all of our community partners, including the Bronx River Alliance, Sean Casey Animal Rescue, Citymeals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity NYC, Project Harmony, and more. See below for some picture from the memorable day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jul
18

Blackstone Volunteer Day at CitySquash Summer Camp

CitySquash students and an energetic group of volunteers from Blackstone braved the stormy weather for a fun afternoon of squash and enrichment activities at Fordham University. On the court, the group ran through a series of drills and games, with some CitySquashers giving pointers to the volunteers who were stepping onto the court for the very first time. Off the court, the group from Blackstone helped out in a variety of ways: art projects with the Elementary students, Spanish grammar and vocabulary with the Middle School students, and mock interviews for our seniors and 8th graders preparing to apply for college and boarding school this fall.

 

See below for some pictures from the day. Thank you again to Blackstone for all your support!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr
26

CitySquash Hits the Road

 

 

5 tours. 13 cities. Over 6,900 miles. The CitySquash team spent Spring Break on the road on our annual Spring Enrichment Tours. For the seventh year in a row, our team members and hardworking staff explored regions beyond NYC on these unique enrichment tours, which included museum and cultural site visits, new food and experiences, and yes, even a little squash.

 

Below are pictures and reflections from our 2018 Spring Tours. Special thanks goes to our network of generous hosts: the Byrnes family, the Mathias family, Veer Seth, the Jipp-Shyamsundar family, Emma Head, Dave Moorish, and Rob Brooks. Thank you for supporting these lifetime memories! 

 

The Elementary School Tour at the Baltimore Aquarium, where they spent the night sleeping among the sharks!

 

Elementary School Tour: Chesepeake Bay – Washington D.C. – Baltimore

 “My favorite thing about the trip was visiting George Washington’s house and the aquarium because we saw amazing sharks.” – Rafael, 4th grade

 

The Middle School Tour in front of the Nashville Parthenon in Tennessee.

 

Middle School Tour: Smoky Mountains – Nashville – St. Louis

 “I loved it all, because everything was a new experience for me. If I had to pick, I would say the Gateway Arch was my favorite. I’ve never seen a monument quite like it before.” – Fatima, 7th grade

 

The Squash Tour takes in a Detroit Tigers Baseball game.

 

Squash Tour: Detroit – Toronto – Niagara Falls

“My favorite part of this trip is seeing my younger classmates play squash along with learning from them. I enjoyed playing with them because I don’t do it often. Being an older classmate has made me realize the responsibility I have to my team. I also enjoyed stopping in the Heidelberg Project in Detroit because we saw a different perspective on art.” – Giselle, 12th grade

 

Students from the Brooklyn program enjoy some down time at their campsite in North Carolina.

 

Brooklyn Tour: Washington D.C. – Smoky Mountains – Atlanta

 “Being at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights opened my eyes more to the inequalities faced by many people in our country and beyond.”  – Zoe, 7th grade

 

The High School Tour expresses their gratitude outside one of their host stays.

 

High School Tour: Hartford – Albany

 “I have connected more with my teammates. My favorite part was when we prepared a meal together. It was challenging but we have learned new skills such as communication, working together and patience.” – Seth, 10th grade

Jan
26

Caleb Becomes a U.S. National Champion!

 

Last weekend, CitySquash 8th grade student Caleb Boateng made history. Competing at the U.S. Middle School Team Squash Championships at Yale University, his Brunswick School team was crowned National Champions! Playing #4 on the Brunswick team, Caleb was undefeated in the tournament and became the first student from any urban squash program to be in the lineup of a U.S. National Championship-winning team.

 

Caleb’s achievement is the product of hard work and determination many years in the making. The son of Ghanaian immigrants, Caleb joined CitySquash in 2011 as a third grader at P.S. 205 in the Bronx, and quickly distinguished himself with his positivity, energy, incredible work ethic, and love of squash.

Now in his third year at Brunswick, Caleb is excelling in and out of the classroom, remarkable given his daily commute. He wakes up each morning at 5AM, walks to the Fordham Metro-North train station, takes the train and then bus to Brunswick’s Middle School Campus in Greenwich–a trip that takes over an hour-and-a-half each way. Despite all this, Caleb remains as engaged as ever with CitySquash, making after-school practices back in the Bronx, helping his younger teammates, and traveling to weekend tournaments.

 

Caleb is quick to give credit to the accomplishments of teammates who came before him: “Alumni like Katiria Sanchez, Andrew Cadienhead, and [current CitySquash Squash Director] Chris Fernandez show that CitySquash prepares you to play at the highest level,” he said. As for his future goals, Caleb hopes to play for Brunswick’s high school varsity team one day, attend Yale University, and become one of the top players in the country. “I’d also like to go into business but be able to play doubles matches at night. That would be great.”

 

CitySquash is thrilled to congratulate Caleb, his family, and the Brunswick team! 

 

 

Mentor Gray Huffard with Caleb on his first day at Brunswick in 2015.

 

Jan
24

Three More Urban National Titles for CitySquash!

This past weekend, CitySquash competed in the Urban Team National Championships in New York City. Over 500 urban squash players from 21 national and international programs came together for the annual event that is put on by the Squash + Education Alliance. Despite the depth of competition, CitySquash prevailed in three out of the eight championship divisions at the tournament!

 

Congratulations to our CitySquash BU17, GU15, and BU13 teams for bringing home the hardware. CitySquash has now won a record 96 Urban National Titles in its 16-year history!

 

See below for the winning teams from the weekend:

 

 

The BU13 Team Champions were comprised of a mix of Brooklyn and Bronx team members: (L to R) Dominik, Randy, Jesus, Diego, and Alexis.

 

 

The BU17 team (L to R) of David, Jesse, Dylan, Yoskart, and Anthony.

 

 

The GU15 team (L to R) of Brianna, Dalia, Giselle, Kimberly, and Madelein edged out CitySquash’s “B” team for first place!

Dec
18

CitySquash Rocks in the Annual Talent Show

Last Thursday, CitySquash team members, families, and supporters came together for the 13th annual CitySquash talent show. The event was hosted by alumni Cris Margaret Frias (Franklin & Marshall ’16) and Lanique Rhyne (Lehman College ’16) and showcased talents included singing, dancing, drumming, and even some original songwriting. As always, the talent show also served as the official welcome ceremony for CitySquash’s new third and sixth grade team members. The night ended with the staff performing “Coach Bryan Patterson,” a riff on the song “Alexander Hamilton” and a singalong of “CitySquash Rock” with new lyrics by 4th graders Stephany, Berenisse, and Ashley. Below are those lyrics as well as some of our favorite pictures from the night!

 

 

 

Stephany, Berenisse, and Ashley performing CitySquash Rock

 

CitySquash Rock

Lyrics by Stephany, Berenisse, and Ashley

 

CitySquash, CitySquash
CitySquash rock
CitySquash swing
And CitySquash king
Hitting and swinging
Up bounces the ball
Now the squash game
Has begun

 

CitySquash,

CitySquash
CitySquash rock
CitySquash sport
On the CitySquash court
Stepping and lunging
In Fordham’s courts
Above the line it goes

 

Parent squash night
It’s the right time
To swing the night away
CitySquash time
Is a sport time
To start boasting
On the backhand side
Hurry up everybody
Pick up your racket
Swinging around the court

 

Serve and return
And back to the T
That’s the CitySquash,
That’s the CitySquash,
That’s the CitySquash rock

 

 

 

New third grade team members with Elementary School Director Micah Finkelman, Squash Director Chris Fernandez, and High School Captains Giselle and Daniel

 

 

 

New sixth grade team members with Middle School Director Colin Murfree

 

 

Coach Bryan Patterson

Lyrics by Peter Feldman

 

How does a Brit bloke, Bryan, son of a May and a

Dougie, Dropped in the middle of a forgotten

Spot in the County Durham, England by providence foregone

Grow up to be the squash coach we all count on?

 

The coffee drinking, proud father and grandfather

Got a lot farther by working a lot harder

By being a lot smarter

By being a self starter,

By age 12, he started his long journey as a squasher

 

And every day while friends were playing footy, he started

To glance across the waves, at a former Brit colony

Inside, he was longing for something to be a part of

The brother was ready to beg, steal, borrow, or barter

 

Then tournaments came, and competition reigned

Our man saw his future that could not be constrained

Put a racquet in his left hand, connected it to his brain

On court, a hurricane, or a runaway freight train

 

Well the word got around, they said “this kid is insane, man”

Took up a collection just to send him to the mainland

“Get your education, don’t forget from whence you came,”

And the world’s gonna know your name. What’s your name, man?

 

Coach Bryan Patterson

My name is Coach Bryan Patterson

And there’s a million things I haven’t done

Just you wait…just you wait

 

As a U19, won the Drysdale Cup, the youngest ever

Years later, see BP in the Euro Cup, much better

Hittin’ balls, across four walls, he stood tall

Backhanded drop shots, his opponents would fall

 

Moved on to the professionals, reached as high as 16th in the world

But he had a mentor side, something new inside

A voice saying “BP you gotta fend for yourself”

He startin retreatin’ and readin’ the coaching books on the shelf

 

There would have been

Nothing left to do

For someone less astute

He would woulda been dead or

Destitute

Without a cent of restitution

Stared working, clerking

For the Brooklyn Heights Casino

Then to Philly in Chestnut Hill,

Coaching kids, watch him go

 

Scammin’ for every lesson he can get his hands on

Plannin’ for the future

See him now as he sits in the

Drivers seat of run down old van

In the Bronx you can be a new man

 

In the Bronx, you can be a new man

In the Bronx, you can be a new man

CitySquash really needs a new van!

CitySuqash…needs a new van!

 

Coach Bryan Patterson

Kids are waiting on the courts for you

You could never back down

You love to make them RUNNNN!

 

Coach Bryan Patterson

When CitySquash sings for you

Will they know what you overcame?

Will they know you rewrote the game?

The world will never be the same

 

 

The van is in the parking lot

See if you can spot him

Another immigrant comin’ up from the squash world

He took kids on trips across the world

No one was forgotten

 

LANIQUE AND CM: We played for him

CHRIS: Me? I coached with him

MICAH: Me? I fought with him

CALEB: Me? I annoyed him

PETER: And me? And I’m the friend who wrote this rap for him!

 

There’s a million things I haven’t done

But just you wait!

What’s your name man?

Coach Bryan Patterson!

 

 

 

 

 

Cris Margaret (’16) and Lanique (’16) expertly MC’ed the night’s event

 

 

 

Sisters Eslin, a sophomore in high school, and Stephany, who’s in fourth grade, sang a duet together

 

 

 

Sophomores Joan and Yoskart ended their Single Ladies dance performance with a joke

 

Dec
12

A Super Day of Writing

 

On a snowy Saturday, energetic 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from our Bronx and Brooklyn sites entered the doors of the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company in Gowanus. After some time perusing the capes, masks, and “heroic gauntlet gloves,” our students opened a secret door to reveal the real reason for their visit: the 826 NYC Writing Center. One of six innovative “store”/writing center combinations founded by Dave Eggers and Ninive Calegari across the country, 826 NYC’s mission is to encourage the exploration of endless possibility through the power of writing.

 

 

CitySquash team members each helped to write the last few pages of a story about a kid named Black Vengeance who was searching for his/her missing parents. An artist followed along and even created illustrations for the books. Each student was able to take home a physical book that contributed their own creative ending. Many thank to our awesome program leader Nico and all the staff and students who traveled during the snowy weather for making it an afternoon to remember.

 

 

 

Nov
28

Battle of Brooklyn Raises over $100,000!

 

This past weekend’s Battle of Brooklyn was a smashing success. On Friday, the Heights Casino hosted the kickoff event with a fierce and fun Doubles Competition on the newly-renovated doubles court. Then on Sunday, over 70 competitors convened at Poly Prep for the final day of Singles Competition to decide which team would earn the title of Overall Squash Champion.

 

Several matches came down to the wire and were decided by a 5-4 score line. In the end, Team Doherty prevailed in the final against Founder’s Team.

 

On the fundraising side, the Brooklyn Beasts, captained by Mike & Christina Gantcher, defended their title from a year ago by raising $25K for their team, edging No Ball Left Behind, led by Silvia Campo & David Hermer, who raised $22K for the cause.

 

In total, $105K was raised by all teams, more than tripling the fundraising total from the inaugural event a year ago. These funds will help ensure that we are able to continue to grow our Brooklyn operations while pushing our team members to fulfill their full potential. As student speaker Giana McIntosh said, “CitySquash is far more than just an after-school program. It has given me a second chance, it has given me opportunities, and most importantly it has given me a second family.”

 

Special thanks to our wonderful facility hosts, The Heights Casino and Poly Prep, as well as our other incredible team captains–Jess & Peter Nicol, Laura Trevelyan & Toby Goldston, Peter Kelly, Buzz Doherty, Sanford Schwartz, Ambriel Bostic, and Sarah & Spencer Robertson.

 

See below for some of our favorite pictures from the event.

 

 

CitySquashers from both Brooklyn and the Bronx took part in the competition

 

Silvia Campo & David Hermer’s No Ball Left Behind competed hard and earned 2nd place in the fundraising competition

 

Captain Laura Trevelyan and her Howe’s Hounds team

 

Captain Peter Kelly and Team Orange v2.0

 

Jess & Peter Nicol led Team Nicol to a strong showing

 

CitySquash Founder & Board Chair Sanford Schwartz with the Founder’s Team

 

Captain Ambriel Bostic and team Hit and Run

 

Brooklyn team members Ashanti, Angelina, and Catherine helped to ref the weekend’s matches