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Jun
08

Mentors and Mentees Connect through Baking Club!

Starting this winter, as part of our Mentor Game Night series, a Baking Club for mentors and mentees was started. Mentors and mentees learned new recipes and fun facts about baking, such as the different kinds of flours and the difference between light and dark brown sugars. Team members received the ingredients they needed for each recipe so anyone could join to participate in the baking. Some of the favorite recipes we did were Ginger Bread Cookies, Oatmeal Raisins Cookies, and Chocolate Chip Cookies. Our most challenging recipe was Fudge Brownies. Thank you to all of the mentors who joined us. We had a great time connecting with you and your mentees while learning to bake together!

 

Photo above: Mentors & mentees showing off their end product! Top Row (L to R): David (mentor to Jesus), Alex (mentor to Chasity), Chasity. Middle Row (L to R): Jesus, Henry (mentor to Janthony), Janthony


 

Photo above: Jesus, Janthony, and Keisi

 

Apr
26

Three CitySquash College Students Named College Squash Scholar Athletes!

Three CitySquash team members were recognized as College Squash Association (CSA) Scholar Athletes for the 2020-2021 season (see list below). The Scholar-Athlete Award is given to varsity juniors or seniors who have earned at least two varsity letters, achieved a high academic standing with a GPA of 3.5 or above and would have been eligible to compete this season. Congratulations to Genesis, Nicole & Luigi for this achievement and their hard work throughout the school year! 

 

Genesis Lara Granados
Mount Holyoke College ’21
Nicole Lara Granados
Mount Holyoke College ‘21
Luigi Pasquariello
Connecticut College ’21

 

Photo Above: (L to R) Luigi Pasquariello, Genesis Lara Granados & Nicole Lara Granados

Apr
06

Another Round of School Acceptances!

 

Another seven team members gained acceptances to private schools for the 2021-2022 school year. With these acceptances, CitySquash has had 105 successful school placements to selective independent schools since our founding. We are proud of the hard work this group put into their applications, and are excited to be sending students to Church Farm School and White Mountain School for the first time. The full list of school placements is as follows:

 

Randy Guzman Berkshire School
Pablo Paxtor Church Farm School
James Vasquez Indian Mountain School
Aaliyah Sampson Kent School
Ashanti Amastal Loomis Chaffee School
Jesus Fierro Trinity-Pawling School
David Paxtor White Mountain School

 

Congratulations again to our accepted team members! We can’t wait to cheer you on as you begin this next chapter.

 

Photo Above: Aaliyah Sampson & James Vasquez showing off their acceptance letters! 

Jan
27

CitySquash News!

Alan & Dainalee show off their Early Decision acceptance letters!

 

Early Decision Acceptances 

 

December brought good news for CitySquash team members Alan Lopez (Bronx Center for Science & Mathematics ’21) and Dainalee Velez (Millbrook School ’21), who gained Early Decision college acceptances to Colby College and Bates College, respectively. We are proud of their hard work and perseverance throughout this challenging remote college process, and could not be more excited for them to both be Maine-bound! Alan will join two CitySquash teammates at Colby, and Daina will be the fourth CitySquasher to attend Bates. Both plan to play on their schools’ respective varsity squash teams in the fall. We look forward to more good news on the admissions front for the rest of our high school seniors as they await more college decisions in the coming weeks.

 

 

Team Members Return to Squash 

Middle school team members practice their technique on public handball courts after months without being able to play squash. 

 

After months of only virtual interactions and no squash, CitySquash team members were able to return to some in-person sessions and squash play this fall. The Heights Casino, Lifetime Athletic, M Squash, Pyramid Squash and Westchester Squash generously opened their doors to small groups of our players, enabling them to get on court for the first time since last March. High school senior Roberto Cruz noted that, “with all the problems this year, playing squash recently has been a really important outlet.” We are so grateful to all of the clubs who have made these opportunities possible!

In the Bronx, we have also been able to utilize public outdoor handball courts to run weekly in-person squash and fitness sessions for all team members. An additional benefit of these sessions has been having some CitySquash college students and alumni help to lead them. College sophomore Sh-Kyrah Stevens appreciates the opportunity to work with her younger teammates and says, “the kids are wonderful and it has been amazing to see how much potential and talent they carry. Being part of their journeys as CitySquashers is an honor, and I can’t wait to see them develop as players and people.” 

 
 
 
5th Battle of Brooklyn Raises over $165,000
 
Members of the winning team, Team Love All, celebrate after winning the 2020 Battle of Brooklyn!
 
The fifth Battle of Brooklyn will be one to remember in its virtual format! Seven teams made up of over 120 people from around the world competed in fundraising and virtual challenges, and ended up raising $166,154 for CitySquash’s Brooklyn program. The challenges included a dance, jigsaw puzzles, burpees and team videos, and the Finals Showdown for the top-four teams featured a trivia competition put on by Tailor-Made Trivia. After a hard-fought competition, Team Love All, co-captained by Silvia Campo and Greg Pitaro, came away with the 2020 Battle of Brooklyn title. 
 
The event would not have been possible without the hard work of all of our captains: Kelly Campelli, Silvia Campo, Will Cembalest, Jess Davis, Clare Kearns, Peter Kelly, Mimi & Whitten Morris, Greg Pitaro, Sarah Robertson, Izzy Ronda, Lindsay Stanley, Laura Trevelyan and Callie Worth. Thanks to all who participated to make it such a fun and energetic week, and to all who supported the event. We hope to see everyone back on court for the sixth Battle of Brooklyn! 
 
 
 
Virtual Game Nights Bring Mentors & Mentees Together 
 
Mentors & mentees catch up on Zoom before starting a Friday night of competition. 
 
Throughout the fall and winter, CitySquash mentors and mentees have enjoyed remaining in touch through our Friday Virtual Game Night Series. The games have included Escape the Room, Jeopardy, Bingo, Pictionary and Scattergories. Ninth grade team member Ashley Montesinos says the game nights are a “great way to get my mind off school” and have “helped my relationship with my mentor, Lauren, because we are able to communicate much more and spend some quality time together.” Lauren says, “I love the Mentor Game Night Series because it has allowed me and Ashley to connect even more than before COVID-19. It’s so easy for mentors and mentees, who could be located anywhere right now, to join a Zoom call and have fun together!” Thanks to all of our mentors who have participated and provided support for their mentees throughout this challenging time!
Oct
19

A Virtual Black & Orange Competition!

From October 5th-10th, we held our annual Black & Orange competition virtually. Usually a one-day event held at Fordham University, this year’s Black & Orange mixed virtual academic and athletic activities and challenges for team members and their families to complete on a daily basis, and culminated with World Squash Day!  Team members participated in the Facemask Challenge, Words Unscramble Challenge, Juggling, and Volleyball, among other activities. In celebration of World Squash Day, our closing challenges were “Hit Us with Your Best Trick Shot” & “Squashing It on World Squash Day,” where team members showed off their squash skills from home!  At the end of the week, Team Black came out on top and took the win with 1160 points! Congratulations to Team Black and thank you to everyone who participated and made the most of this year’s virtual format! To see more photos and videos from the week, check out our Instagram page (@CitySquash).

 

Elementary school team member Jhonny masked up with his stuffed animals at home to complete the Facemask Challenge!

Sep
25

Six CitySquash Team Members Recognized as US Squash Scholar Athletes

 

Six CitySquash team members earned the US Squash Scholar Athlete Award for the 2019-2020 academic year (see list below). The Scholar Athlete Award recognizes high school students who have excelled in the classroom by maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher throughout the year, and on court by playing in at least three US Squash accredited tournaments. Caleb and Giselle were both recognized as Scholar Athletes for the second year in a row, while Alan, Elizabeth, Madalein and Sachary earned this recognition for the first time. Congratulations to our six Scholar Athletes for their hard work throughout the school year!

 

Madalein Amoako Episcopal High School ’22
Elizabeth Barroso Bronx Center for Science & Mathematics ’20
Caleb Boateng Brunswick School ’22
Giselle Ciriaco Suffield Academy ’22
Alan Lopez Bronx Center for Science & Mathematics ’20
Sachary Rodriguez Celia Cruz High School for Music ’23

 

Photo Above: Top Row (L-R): Elizabeth Barroso, Sachary Rodriguez, Caleb Boateng, Giselle Ciriaco; Bottom Row (L-R): Madalein Amoako, Alan Lopez

Jul
14

CitySquash News!

CitySquash team member Michelle stops by the office to pick up to-go meals thanks to a new partnership with World Central Kitchen made possible by the Cura Collective

 

 

Celebrating the Class of 2020

 

Nicole celebrates her graduation from SUNY Geneseo 

 

Despite the cancelled graduation ceremonies, CitySquash’s College Class of 2020 had plenty to celebrate as they finished their multi-year CitySquash journeys and became CitySquash Alumni. With our five newest graduates, our Alumni cohort grows to 44. Congratulations to the Class of 2020! 

 

Miguel Betances – Niagara University 
Nicole Cedeno – SUNY Geneseo 
Jose Fernandez – St. Lawrence University 
Elaine Hualoto – Lehman College 
William Pantle – Fordham University 

 

We are also proud of our 12 high school graduates for successfully finishing their high school careers and moving on to college. We wish them the best of luck as they begin their next chapters in the fall! 

 

Karla Domingues – Colby College 
Mikael Garcia – Lehigh University 
Kevin Guadarrama – Borough of Manhattan Community College 
Joan Gutierrez – Borough of Manhattan Community College 
Tita Hicks – St. Lawrence University 
Alexander Lorenzo – Connecticut College 
Brandon Ortega – Borough of Manhattan Community College 
Frankie Pasquariello – Niagara University 
Melanie Pestana – St. Lawrence University 
Yoskart Rodriguez – Borough of Manhattan Community College 
Eslin Silva – Bronx Community College 
Kelsey Tejada – St. Lawrence University 

 

 

Alex Lorenzo named a U.S. Squash High School All-American 

 

Alex during a match with his Mercersburg team this year, where he played in the top spot all season

 

Alexander Lorenzo (Mercersburg Academy ’20) became CitySquash’s first team member to be recognized as a High School All-American by U.S. Squash. Alex joined CitySquash in the 6th grade and won a scholarship to attend the Eaglebrook School before entering Mercersburg as a 10th grader. At Mercersburg, Alex played in the top spot on the ladder and served as a Team Captain both his junior and senior years. We look forward to seeing Alex’s continued success on court as he suits up for the Connecticut College Camels next year!

 

 

Karla Domingues wins SEA Tyler Griffin Student of the Year Award 

 

Karla proudly sports her new Colby t-shirt after gaining early admission there 

 

Recent high school graduate Karla Domingues (Episcopal High School ’20) won the Squash and Education Alliance Tyler Griffin Student of the Year Award at SEA’s annual End-of-Year Ceremony. The award is given to two graduating high school seniors from SEA member programs who embody the overarching values of the SEA network: sportsmanship, effort on court and in the classroom, respect and concern for others, integrity, character and leadership. Karla is CitySquash’s first recipient of this honor and will begin at Colby in the fall. Congratulations, Karla!

 

 

Virtual Summer Camp

 

A group of elementary school team members show off their summer reading book during a camp session 

 

CitySquash’s annual five-week summer camp is underway in a new format: virtually! Team members tune in daily through Zoom and engage in level-specific math and reading lessons, yoga and fitness, extra tutoring and virtual field trips and other activities on Fridays. In the first week of camp, team members mastered seven new math skills on average and read 480 hours collectively in their summer reading books. A benefit to the virtual format is that team members from the Bronx and Brooklyn can participate in camp together, strengthening the ties across CitySquash’s two sites. Another benefit to the virtual world is the ability for team members to take classes across the world! Eight CitySquashers are participating in courses from the African Leadership Academy, based in South Africa. A huge thanks to our volunteers who are dedicating hours of their own summers to helping our team members, and to the Cura Collective and World Central Kitchen, who are making possible weekly deliveries of 100 to-go meals in the Bronx and Brooklyn. 

 

 

New Staff Faces and Positions 

 

L to R: Morgan Solender, Alexandra Boillot, Colin Murfree 

 

CitySquash is excited to welcome a new staff member, Morgan Solender, as Director of Middle School Academics in the Bronx. Morgan recently graduated from Washington University and worked for the past two summers with CitySquash as an Academic Enrichment Intern. Morgan takes over for Colin Murfree, who has become the Bronx Program Director after serving as Director of Middle School Academics and Academic Chair for the past five years. Alexandra Boillot, who has been the Bronx Program Director for the past six years, is stepping into a new position for the organization as Director of Development. 

May
20

Alex Lorenzo Receives High School All-American Honors

 

CitySquash team member Alex Lorenzo was recognized as a 2019-2020 U.S. Squash High School All-American, becoming the first CitySquasher to achieve this honor. One of 44 other high school players to receive this honor for 2019-2020, Alex qualified through his senior season with Mercersburg Academy in the Mid-Atlantic Squash Organization. Alex has played in the top spot on the Mercersburg ladder for the past two years and served as a Captain for both his junior and senior seasons as well. This year, he helped lead his team to a second place finish in Division V at High School Team Nationals. He started playing squash in the 6th grade when he joined CitySquash and quickly fell in love with the sport, attending as many extra practices as possible to improve his game. With CitySquash, he is a two-time Urban National Champion. We look forward to seeing Alex suit up for the Connecticut College Camels next year and realize his goal of becoming a college squash player. Congrats, Alex!

 

Alex with his Mercersburg team after coming in 2nd in Division V at HS Nationals this year!

 

Alex with his CitySquash teammates after winning the High School Boys Division at SEA Team Nationals this year!

Apr
29

CitySquash Launches Virtual Activity Club!

 

Extracurricular clubs have become a staple of CitySquash’s normal programming, and clubs offered have included Art Club, Music Club, Game Club and more. When CitySquash transitioned to virtual programming as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, two of our dedicated mentors, Stephanie & Ali Butera, came up with a plan to continue offering clubs to CitySquash team members virtually! With the help of Ali and Stephanie, mentors to Malika (7th grade) and Stephany (6th grade) respectively, we have been able to add Activity Club to our weekly schedule, and continue to provide team members with a creative outlet during this difficult time. Stephanie & Ali help plan easy, arts-based DIY projects on a weekly basis that require very few materials so all team members can participate at home. Projects have included making fortune-tellers and origami figures. A portion of Activity Club is also dedicated to thanking those working on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. Students have written thank you letters to workers at City Meals on Wheels who are continuing to deliver food to the elderly, and to doctors and nurses at Jacobi Medical Center. See below for photos from Activity Club and a huge thanks to Stephanie & Ali Butera for making Activity Club possible!

 

Photo Above: Rodrigo tries on his new mask! 

 

Stephanie & Ali Butera enjoy a sweet treat with their mentees, Stephany & Malika, after CitySquash’s Mentor Game Night!

 

Nicole shows off her fortune-tellers!

 

3rd grader, Brianna, focuses while writing a thank you note to a doctor at Jacobi Medical Center!

Apr
09

Caleb Earns US Squash Junior Sportsmanship Honorable Mention!

 

CitySquash team member Caleb Boateng received the US Squash Junior Sportsmanship Honorable Mention Award for the 2019-2020 junior squash season in the BU17 division. Caleb was one of 20 juniors recognized across all divisions for displaying outstanding sportsmanship throughout the season.

 

Caleb joined CitySquash in 2011 as a 3rd grader, and is currently a sophomore at the Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT. The level of sportsmanship, respect, and love for the sport that Caleb shows at every practice and match has always been an inspiration to his younger teammates. When asked to define good sportsmanship, Caleb shared, “good sportsmanship in any sports is playing the sport. At the end of the day, it’s not about what your opponent does, but it’s you against the ball.” Caleb added, “Sportsmanship is important to me because I know that others watch how everyone acts on court, and my behavior on court reflects not only myself but also my family and CitySquash. It’s important to keep your composure and set a good example for others, especially for younger players.”

 

CitySquash is thrilled to congratulate Caleb and his family on this great accomplishment!

 

Picture above: Caleb on his way to a CitySquash practice at Fordham University

 

Caleb reaches for a shot at the 2019 SEA Team Nationals