RSA, Sanders Initiate Scholar Athlete Scholarship Program
With both moral and financial support from City Councilman James Sanders Jr, The Rockaway Sports Association (RSA) has established a pilot program called Student- Athlete Scholarship Support (S.A.S.S.), which will provide assistance to high school students to attain a college scholarship
Principal Morris says that he is enthusiastically given the go ahead for the school to be involved in the program. The S.A.S.S. will initially be a six month pilot plan which intends to expand any athletic opportunities for student-athletes in any sport.
As part of their outreach, the S.A.S.S. will publish a sports publication that will highlight the academic and sports accomplishments of student-athletes. Telephone/written communication and personal highlight videos are will be included in the package that will be sent to the colleges.
The S.A.S.S. will also have website that displays the student’s biographical information and sports highlights. An athlete’s email address will be available for coaches to contact the students-athletes and their parents.
Randall Ramchatesingh and Nicole Pierce are the first student-athletes from Beach Channel High School to be selected. Ramchatesingh is a member of the boys’ varsity tennis team and Pierce is a part of the swimming and crew co-ed programs.
Ramchatesingh helped the boys varsity team win the PSAL B Queens Divisional Championship. Pierce is an accomplished swimmer who is one of a few females to be part of the boys swimming team and a four year member of the award winning crew-coed program.
Greg Carter, a graduate of Far Rockaway High School and the founder and president of the RSA will run the program. For more than 10 years, the RSA has implemented sports programs from baseball to lacrosse for young kids and teenagers throughout the community.
He believes that in the last few years some high school coaches have not kept up on their end to promote students-athletes who may be worthy of obtaining a scholarship. Some of those students, who have done well in both academics and athletics, may be losing out on the chance to receive a good college education according to Carter.
“This will open the door to any student to see that the community is willing to help, the school wants to help, the guidance counselors and parents want to help. The elements are here to help.”
Carter wants Far Rockaway High School to be included as a part of the scholarship program and hopes to be working with them soon
Councilman Sanders, who was a member of Community School Board 27 in the early 1990’s, wholeheartedly gives his support to the program.
“The Rockaways are blessed with an overwhelming amount of scholar athletes in any sport you can excel at. It’s just lately we haven’t had a chance to receive the prominence and promotion that we needed,” the councilman said.
“I always like the ability to help propel them into the future as far as they can get and as willing as we can help them. Academic is the basis of all of these things and the good lord has given them the natural ability to work on their talent. And we the community will support them.”
Carter and the S.A.S.S. program believe that a constant parental involvement is necessary to make the program work. Fran Pierce, a guidance counselor at the BCHS and mother to Nicole, also believes that is important.
“It’s an important for the parent to become a part of the progress. You want to know if you’re kid can work well with the coach from that university,” Pierce said
“If you look at the university team bios, a lot of the kids come from the same high school. Once a coach gets a good kid who is focused, who is academically motivated and athletically motivated, they won’t hesitate to go back to that school and recruit more.”
According to Ramchatesingh, the program should not only help him gain more chances but other Rockaway students-athletes down the road will benefit as well.
“Rockaway isn’t noticed by anyone. Even the people who live in New York don’t know we’re here. So it’s a great opportunity to go out and do what we do best.” In the future, Nicole Pierce believes crew and swimming will be seen by students-athletes as just as viable an option to receive a scholarship as well as major sports such as basketball and football.
“My goal is to open crew to the entire world. I think that Amy opened a lot of things,” Pierce says about Amy Grosshandler, a teammate who graduated in 2003 and received a scholarship to Barry University, a Division II school in Miami, Florida.
“This past year, we had Martin Perak and Michael Herscovici go to Division I at Syracuse (University). That’s great because most kids in the school ask if we have a crew team.
“I want to feel comfortable with the best program that can give me the best chance to succeed,” Pierce says.
Any local student-athlete, can apply to and for the SASS program by e-mailing the Rockaway Sports Association at firstname.lastname@example.org