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Oct
27

The CitySquash Team Returns for a New School Year!

A 9th grade practice group is all smiles under their masks after coming in from an afternoon of squash and academics at NYSC White Plains.

 

A Year of New Beginnings
 
Programming looks a little different this year but team members are excited to be back to a (new) normal after-school routine of academics and squash. In the Bronx, this new routine includes academics at partner school P.S. 205 or Belmont Library, and squash at either Westchester Squash or New York Sports Club White Plains. In Brooklyn, team members attend academics at partner schools PAVE Academy and Brooklyn Leaders High School, and play squash at the Eastern Athletic Club and Heights Casino. On weekends, team members practice, compete in tournaments and matches, complete community service projects and go on other trips. After being confined to virtual programming for the whole 2020-2021 school year, this in-person routine is a relief, despite the increased travel for squash! Bronx 9th grader Ariana says, “I’m glad that I’m back with my team and practicing more to get stronger and better!”
 
Our fall programming would not be possible without the squash clubs, partner schools, and public libraries welcoming us to their spaces. A huge thanks to everyone involved in setting up these new partnerships and helping our team members get back on court. Onwards and upwards for the CitySquash team!
 
 
A Week of Trips to Kick-Off the School Year
 
In place of our annual overnight team retreat to Lake Placid this year, the week before school was marked with different day trips around the city. All team members got to choose from an array of trips that were mixed by age to encourage new relationships and team bonding at the outset of the school year. The Bronx and Brooklyn sites also teamed up for a trip to the Brooklyn Zoo to provide some of the same cross-site interactions that the team retreat usually provides. Bronx team member Haydee said “I got to know new people so much better” through the trips she went on. In total, there were 13 different trips during that week, including a Yankee game (see above photo of Coach Bryan Patterson and John Solano), Bronx Zoo Tree Top Adventure, Turtle Cove Golf Center, and Chinatown to explore the Chinese culture through food. Malika, another Bronx team member in the 9th grade, said of the Chinatown trip that “the boba was amazing, and so was the ice cream.” The only complaint of the week? The Yankees’ loss to the Blue Jays!
 

Middle schoolers clean up a local park as part of a service day with Bronx River Alliance.

A group of team members practice on Maspeth Welding’s outdoor squash court in Queens.

A day of fun and fall activities abound athe Queen’s County Fair.

 

 

Moving Up & Moving In!

With the start of the school year came new starts for 15 CitySquash team members beginning college and entering new independent schools. Eight matriculated to college, six students entered new boarding schoolfor high school and one middle schooler went away to a junior boarding school for the 7th grade. In addition to these team members, a high school team member who had started virtually athe Masters School last year finally got to move into campus and begin her boarding life. We wish these students and the entire CitySquash team the best of luck athey return to in-person learning. Here is to a great 2021-2022 school year!

 

Pablo Paxtor is greeted by Guillermo Moronta, Associate Director of Admissions & Director of Squash, on his first day at Tabor Academy.

Sep
13

Summer Highlights

Stephany & Camille enjoyed outdoor games as part of their daily camp routine. Camille said, “I like when we play sports and am always excited for our field days.” Stephany loved “being able to see [her] friends and spend time together.”

 

CitySquash returned to in-person programming this summer for the first time since March 2020! Summer camp in the Bronx and Brooklyn kicked off on July 6th and ran through August 6th. Team members went daily for academic enrichment and squash instruction, and traveled on Fridays and weekends for field trips and squash tournaments. The return to in-person was welcomed by all after over a year of virtual programming. High school team member Randy said, “it feels great seeing all of my teammates once again and being able to be excited to get on court with each other.” Another high schooler, Alexis, added, “after not playing for such a long time, it’s great to be back at it, especially the games.”

 

Above: CitySquash alum and new Director of Elementary School Academics, Bianca, helps Luxe with a math problem.

Below left: High schoolers pose for a photo mid-practice at NYSC White Plains.

Below right: A group in Brooklyn works on their swings at The Heights Casino.

 

 

 

Travel has always been a big part of the CitySquash experience and it’s been great reincorporating field trip, tournament and summer camp travel this summer. Field trips included touring the Vassar College campus (see above photo), walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, and geo-cashing in Central Park. We are grateful to the external camp partners who have enabled over 65 team members to travel for sleepaway experiences at camps including Camp HerrlichCamp Tecumsah and Squash + Beyond Camps.

 

Kimberly & Nioby take a break between matches at the MSquash Summer Bronze. Sixteen players were able to compete in U.S. Squash tournaments this summer.

 

 

This summer would not have been possible without our partners who opened their doors to us – The Heights Casino, Jonas Bronck Academy, NYSC White Plains & StreetSquash. From all of us, a huge thanks for your generosity!

 

 

 

Two CitySquashers recognized with Squash + Education Alliance Awards

Alan Lopez was a recipient of the Squash + Education Alliance Tyler Griffin Student of the Year Award. Given to two graduating seniors, the award recognizes students who best embody the overarching values of SEA – sportsmanship, effort on court and in the classroom, respect and concern for others, integrity, character, and leadership. Alan is off to Colby in the fall, where he will compete on the Varsity Squash team.

 

Eric Garcia won Squash + Education Alliance’s Future Star Award, given annually to one 8th grade student in the SEA network who shows a strong and consistent commitment to their program and an extraordinary level of effort, respect, concern for others, integrity, character, and leadership. Eric will enter 9th grade at Leaders High School in Brooklyn in the fall.

 
 
 
 
Jul
01

A School Year to Remember

Twin sisters Genesis and Nicole graduated from Mt. Holyoke together, wrapping up a cumulative 22 years with CitySquash!

 

Hats off to the Class of 2021!

 

Despite a year unlike any other, our Class of 2021 wrapped up their college careers successfully and graduated in both virtual and in-person ceremonies. Congratulations to our five graduates, all of whom are first-generation college graduates! 

 

CLASS OF 2021

Nicole Lara Granados – Mt. Holyoke College 

Genesis Lara Granados – Mt. Holyoke College 

Alexandra Limas – St. Lawrence University 

Mariela Mendoza – Bowdoin College 

Bianca Troche – St. Lawrence University 

 

 

It’s Never Quiet on the Placement Front 

 

As another school year comes to a close, we are thrilled to celebrate the many acceptances our college seniors and those applying to private schools received. All eight of our graduating seniors are headed to four-year colleges next year and three of them will continue their squash careers and suit up for their school’s varsity teams. Another seven students gained acceptance to private high schools, bringing CitySquash’s total of successful school placements to 105. Congratulations to all and we can’t wait tto follow you through your next chapters! 

 

COLLEGE PLACEMENT 

Elizabeth Barroso – Colby College 

Anthony Cruz – SUNY New Paltz

Roberto Cruz – SUNY Oswego 

Fatima Hernandez – Lehman College

Dalia Hipolito – Siena College 

Alan Lopez – Colby College 

Xitlaly Santos – Lehman College

Dainalee Velez – Bates College 

 

PRIVATE SCHOOL PLACEMENT

Ashanti Amastal – Loomis Chaffee School 

Jesus Fierro – Trinity-Pawling School

Randy Guzman – Berkshire School

David Paxtor – White Mountain School

Pablo Paxtor – Tabor Academy

Aaliyah Sampson – Kent School

James Vasquez – Indian Mountain School

 

Fatima celebrates her graduation from Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics.

 

Year-End Awards & Leadership Positions

 

Dainalee Velez was awarded the inaugural Casertano Cup at the Millbrook School Commencement ceremony. A special Commencement prize, the Caserano Cup is given for growth and perseverance in pursuit of the best self and the common good. 

 

Giselle Ciriaco was voted Student Body President at Suffield Academy for the 2021-2022 school year. A rising senior at Suffield, Giselle has served as Class President for the past two years. Giselle says she is “honored and excited to represent the Suffield student body” and wants to “focus on mental health awareness and being united.”

Jun
28

Virtual CitySquash Reads!

This year’s CitySquash Reads was based on Jonah Winters’s book “Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx”. The event was held on June 3rd virtually, and team members from the Bronx and Brooklyn came together to discuss the book and engage in activities based off the book including jeopardy, crossword puzzles and a poem writing session.  Luke, an 8th grade team member, said his favorite activity was “the jeopardy game because that’s when we got to go against each other to see who knows the book better” while Samantha, another 8th grader, said “my favorite part of CitySquash reads was being able to interact with our friends in various ways!

 

Thank you to all who participated and helped make the event a success.

 

Team members gathered on Zoom to discuss Jonah Winter’s book “Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx.” 
Team members’ knowledge of the book was put to test in jeopardy!  
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