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2014 June Update
SquashBusters' 18th spring has been a remarkable one. Headliners include college acceptances for 21 of our 24 seniors, a record-breaking $1m Derby, and a spectacular Lawrence team on the rise. The program finishes the year with 168 middle and high school students and another 46 in college – 8 who graduated this spring and another 38 on track to do so in the coming years. This September, a new 7th grade Boston team joins the family as well as a fresh cohort of Lawrence students. Our alumni continue to watch over us. Rarely a day goes by when an alumnus/a is not on court or in class helping the next generation. Amidst our ongoing, frenzied program pace and daily dedication to impact the lives of our current students, we also continue to explore the next frontier – a permanent home in Lawrence and an expansion to Providence, Rhode Island. SquashBusters is a program on the move! Thank you for your caring, kindness, and belief in all that we do.
The 2014 MFS SquashBusters Derby shattered fun and fundraising records over the weekend of May 2-3 in Boston as legends of all types took to the courts in support of SquashBusters and its kids. Under the leadership of Co-Chairs Jeannie Blasberg and David Drubner and through the incredible efforts of 72 fundraising team players, the 8th annual Derby raised a record total of $1,041,000, nearly $300,000 more than last year. Major credit for the success is due to Rob Manning, the Derby’s top fundraiser, Amrit Kanwal, MFS Investments and the entire Wallbanger team for raising $351,000+ of the total.
The tone of the Derby weekend was set early with the confirmation that hardball stars Mark Talbott, Ned Edwards, Clive Caldwell and Mike Pierce were joining in as team players for the Doubles leg on Friday at the University Club. In a major expansion of Derby competition and talent, sixteen doubles teams went at it in two flights of play. In the B playoff Lucky Strike’s pairing of Vijay Chitnis and John Boukamp earned top honors, while the A flight was won by Wallbanger’s powerhouse team of Dan Roberts and Jon Hyett.
The Derby’s annual cadre of elite pros joined their teams for the singles on Saturday, including Peter Nicol, Jonathon Power, Martin Heath, Chris Walker, Viktor Berg, Clinton Leeuw, Ali Farag and Paul Johnson (as a last minute replacement for an ailing Dan Sharplin). Round robin play by all four teams in their respective Belmont and Preakness pools was topped off by the pro matches late in the day. As Derby guests enjoyed mini matches between these rivals and old friends, as well as tasty treats from squash-playing chefs Ming Tsai and Evan Deluty, the match results were calculated and finalists announced. Wallbanger, led by captains Charlie Humber and Jon Hyett, had again trounced their opposition to enter a 6th final in a row, while John Blasberg’s Salubrious crew topped fundraising stars Sandy Tierney’s and George Bell’s Derby Worthy by a nose to complete the finals playoff.
Aided by a bonus point earned by Roberts and Hyett in the doubles, Wallbanger’s remaining player roster of Manning, Kanwal, Humber, Drubner, Tucker Jones, Pat Malloy, Michel Bayard, Martin Heath and SquashBusters students Benny Sanquintin and Savannah Bell dominated Salubrious 7-2 to earn their 6th Derby title.
Congratulations to the Class of 2014!
SquashBusters is proud to maintain our commitment to college access and success as 24 students graduate from the program and solidify their college plans. Our senior class, the largest ever at SquashBusters, is an exceptional group of individuals who have worked incredibly hard this year completing 1000’s of applications, essays, interviews, and scholarships. 21 students have already enrolled in college and 3 are still deciding. This spring’s program graduates will be attending a wide variety of colleges near and far including Bates, Northeastern, UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, Purdue, St. Lawrence, and Roger Williams. We are so proud of all that they have accomplished and look forward to helping them continue to achieve success in college.
SquashBusters not only helps students get in to college, we make sure they can afford to go. The class of 2014 earned more than $430,000 in grants and scholarships so far! On average, 91% of our students’ financial need will be met through their financial aid awards and outside scholarships. In addition, SquashBusters’ college graduates will face a significantly lower four-year debt burden ($14,460) when they enter the work world than the typical college graduate ($29,400). This success is the result of SquashBusters working closely with students and families to fill out financial aid paperwork, apply for scholarships, and make smart financial decisions about college.
Over the past 7 years, SquashBusters has maintained nearly a 100% college matriculation rate as a result of the intensive support we provide throughout the college application process. From SAT classes to summer college prep sessions, college visits, financial aid support, and one-on-one college mentors, SquashBusters gives each student the individualized attention they need to put their best foot forward in their applications and make good decisions about college.
Once students are in college, SquashBusters is committed to providing continued support until they graduate. We are thrilled to congratulate our 8 alumni who graduated from college this May including Tesfa Hailu from Tufts University, Rodney Galvao and Ashley Brooks from Bates College, Darryl Soto from Colby College, Ana Maria Lopez from Emmanuel College, Kadineyse Ramize from Bryn Mawr College, Jhonatan Guerra from Babson University, and Rochelle Galvao from Smith College.
SquashBusters Lawrence finished strong in our second program year. Our enrollment grew from 34 to 48 students from our two partner schools, the Emily G. Wetherbee School and the Arlington Middle School. Our team expanded to three full-time staff members with the arrival of Academic Coordinator, Audrey Guerrero (SquashBusters Class of 2009) and Squash Coordinator, Barrett Takesian who joined Program Director, Dora Lubin. With the help of 66 different volunteers from Brooks School, Phillips Academy, and the Andover/North Andover communities, the SquashBusters team members continued to grow on court and in the classroom. The team trained hard from September through June, always striving to show respect, effort, and preparation to earn their way into the next travel opportunity. Our squash competitions ranged as far south as Philadelphia for Urban Team Nationals and as far north as Bowdoin College for a match against local Maine programs. During our travels, students had the opportunity to take college tours at Northeastern University, Bowdoin College, and Tufts University. In addition to squash and college visits, our students participated in community service projects with Food for the World, Colonial Heights Nursing Home, and Groundwork Lawrence.
Our inaugural fundraiser, The Mash-Up, raised more than $250,000 from 285 donors to support the Lawrence site. We truly appreciate the generosity of our supporters, volunteers, and partners who have enabled our program to continue expanding. We look forward to continuing to grow next year, as our first class of students enters high school and a new group of sixth graders joins the team.
In the meantime, SquashBusters Lawrence has an exciting summer ahead of us. We will run four weeks of programming for our students at Phillips Academy, which will include squash training, teambuilding activities, and college visits. In addition to our own programming, SquashBusters has helped connect our students to a variety of outside camps and programs. This summer, 13 of our students will participate in summer opportunities outside of SquashBusters, including Camp Dudley, Camp Encore/Coda, NUSEA Squash Training Squad at Deerfield Academy, TOG Squash Camp at Tabor Academy, West End House Camp, and West End House Girls Camp. We are incredibly grateful to these programs and to our supporters for making these experiences possible for our students.