A Note From Our Program Director
Dear SquashBusters Family,
We hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy during these uncertain times. On March 12th, with the health and safety of our students and community in mind, all three SquashBusters sites made the decision to shut down all programming. While we are not running our typical programming at Northeastern, our commitment to the students and families we work with has not diminished. We are providing multiple opportunities each week for students to participate in remote team meetings, fitness opportunities, and other community building activities. We are also in regular communication with families, checking in on mental and physical health, as well as ensuring students are on top of schoolwork while at home. This, in addition to regular communication with teachers and other community partners is helping us determine the best ways we can continue to serve our student population during this period of quarantine.
With the safety of our students and families foremost in our minds, we will continue to follow the recommendations of local and federal health authorities regarding a return to programming. Regardless of when we can return to normal programming, SquashBusters Boston will continue to dedicate our time and efforts to serving our 145 youth in the city in the best way we know how. Enjoy some highlights from the winter months – we hope we’ll have more to add before too long.
Program Director, Boston
Exciting Results for the Class of 2020
The SQB Boston seniors have been hard at work since June applying to a multitude of post-secondary opportunities. Students attended 8 weekly sessions last summer to work on the various pieces of the application process, and they have continued to meet on this topic twice a week since then. With the support of the college mentors – volunteers from within the SquashBusters network – students received support writing their personal statements, filling out financial aid paperwork, scheduling college visits, and ultimately submitting their applications. In addition to college applications, students also explored different post-secondary employment opportunities and scholarship opportunities.
This year SquashBusters’ twenty-one seniors submitted over 200 applications to more than 50 different colleges. To date they have already received over 90 acceptances. We are excited to announce that five students have already been accepted to and will enroll at Boston University, Bowdoin College, Dartmouth College, and Wesleyan University. We are very proud of the hard work that these students have put in both this year and during the entirety of their high school years, and we are thankful for all of the dedication that the SquashBusters community has exhibited helping these students throughout this process.
A Different Kind of Workout
A huge thank you to Louis Casiano SQB’13 and Elvis Lora, co-directors of Utopia Dance Company, who hosted a series of fun and exciting Salsa and Bachata dance classes for SQB students and parents earlier this winter. Everyone had a great night dancing Salsa, with 13 parents & students learning the basic steps. Students then participated in either two classes of Bachata or Salsa and treated us to a live performance at the end of our T-Week. In addition to dedicated squash players, we definitely have some part-time dancers in our midst. To continue our learning and encourage everyone to stay active, Utopia Dance Company has shared online classes so we can continue dancing together and moving forward. Enjoy some clips on our YouTube Channel or click here if you are interested in trying out a virtual class !
Another Successful Squash Season
In mid-January, the SQB Boston boys’ and girls’ varsity teams traveled to Hartford, CT to play in the 2020 HEAD U.S. High School Team Squash Championships held at Trinity College and Wesleyan University. After a few days of training with SQB coaches and Nick Taylor, a former professional player, hopes were high and our students were anxious to get the tournament started. The girls’ varsity team, which was originally seeded 13-16 in Division 2, showed an immense amount of grit and determination, coming away as the consolation winner. This means that the girls are currently ranked 25th in the entire country! The boys’ varsity team, which was seeded 13-16 in Division 3, also showed that they were not to be trifled with, having close 4-3 losses on three separate occasions. The boys eventually finished 12th beating their original seed. This tournament provided a first opportunity for a number of students to compete in a national championship of this scale and to come together as a team in this way.
In early March, 55 SquashBusters Boston students competed in the 18th Urban Team Nationals in New Haven, CT. Hosted annually by Squash and Education Alliance (SEA), the tournament took place at Yale University and Choate Rosemary Hall with 88 teams representing 20 urban squash programs from across the country. For many of our middle school students and some high school students, this tournament was their first overnight opportunity. Despite some nervous jitters during their first match, everyone managed their wins and losses with a calm and composed demeanor by the end of first game. Our students were also eager to display their squash skills by taking advantage of empty courts that were unused between matches, trying to squeeze in as many free plays with students from other programs as possible and forming new friendships. The weekend was a huge success overall. There were some big wins, including the national championship title that our Division A HS girls team were able to capture after a 3-2 nail-biting finals against SquashHaven. As always, everyone displayed strong sportsmanship on and off the courts and it was definitely a weekend to remember.