Why I’m Excited About Athletics this Year

August 29th was the first day of school. On that first day, many emotions were detected in the students, both hopeful and doubtful. However, for a student-athlete, the cheers and excitement of last year accompanied them as they came into a place that signifies triumph. The triumph in being the New York City Charter School Athletic Association’s (CSAA) Middle School Champions in both soccer and softball. The triumph of meeting the standards in the new Athletic Policy. The triumph for some in almost becoming champions but falling just short of victory. For those teams, the agony felt in defeat, will serve as a motivator because the next shot will be the first shot, the next strike will be the first strike, the next assignment will be the first assignment.

In the weeks and months to come, fresh faces will emerge and take on the responsibility in the form of new coaches, new students, new teachers. Zealous student-athletes and coaches will reignite the passion for their respected sport. The passion that only caring for something so much, can bring out in an individual. The passion that allows teachers, parents, coaches, and of course the student-athlete to rise to the occasion. This team of people cares enough to make sure that the student is the priority. The Athletic Policy was developed because we needed accountability for our student-athletes. Some athletes responded to the challenge by being responsible and attending study sessions, asking teachers for extra help, and spending more time studying. They showed restraint and studied when they could have easily been participating in another activity. Most importantly they showed integrity and did not fold under the pressure but instead continued to build their leadership skills.

Why am I excited about athletics at Inwood Academy this year? Additional sports such as middle school girls field hockey are expanding the athlete pool. The High School Varsity Girls Basketball Team was accepted this year to the Public School Athletic League (PSAL), another exciting change for our athletics program. Sports that have seen much success at Inwood Academy, such as wrestling, softball, and soccer, are patiently waiting for another opportunity, especially the High School Varsity Basketball Team. A team with five freshman starters who came one win away from a CSAA HS Championship. Teachers have given of their personal time to help students reach academic goals and standards. Parents have increased their overall support. All these sacrifices are what makes us family and will ultimately help us succeed.

How well will we perform this year? We can be encouraged; we can have a pretty good idea but reality is that it is impossible to say. One thing is certain, those that are truest to themselves and the program are granted its highest tributes. We do not evaluate our year by wins and losses but by the development of character.

This is Inwood Academy Athletics! We are the Inwood Academy Trailblazers!

Go Trailblazers!

It was a great season to be a member of Inwood Academy’s Trailblazers.

The new school year brought about exciting changes to our programming along with bringing together many familiar faces while welcoming new ones. As we completed the first season our third year of athletic programming at IAL, we couldn’t be more pleased with the accomplishments of our scholar athletes and coaches.

Our Middle School (JHS) flag football, volleyball, and track teams returned this season, and we added a few new teams to the Trailblazers roster, JHS wrestling, girls High School (JV) basketball, and boys JV basketball. Combined, these teams are represented by eighty-one student athletes who all actively participate in team training and games and thirteen phenomenal coaches, four of which are our treasured volunteers.

The new Middle School building’s gym is the Trailblazers new gem. It’s allowed us to increase our practices times and our level of play. Our JHS volleyball team went undefeated in the regular season winning the Manhattan Regular Season Championship and came in second place in the Tournament Championship. Our first year JHS wrestling team produced an All-City Champion in the 210 pound weight class and is working hard to add more championships in the winter season. Both the girls and boys JV basketball teams had winning seasons, too.

As the Athletic Director, one of my proudest moments of this past fall was seeing how supportive the parents were in their child’s interest in sports. They happily came to our first athletics parent meeting, met with their child’s coaches, and made commitments to help their teams out by volunteering their time. I was also very proud to see the student athletes on our JHS and JV teams volunteering their time during IAL’s Season of Service, including their help with running a food drive in November, which distributed more than 10,000 pounds of food to families in Northern Manhattan. And the field trip the JV girls basketball team took early in the season, attending the Our Future, Our Rights – Youth Rising #UpForSchool rally, which was a United Nations event held at New York University. Our girls joined 300 other young activists demanding that world leaders keep to their promise that all children would be in school by the end of 2015.

My goal as Athletic Director isn’t simply to produce championships for our school, it’s to produce mature young people who can serve and lead others well.

By Kenneth Tejeda, kenneth.tejeda@inwoodacademy.org

Celebrating Student Athletes at Inwood Academy

Last Monday, June 16th, we took the time to highlight and reflect on a great athletic year. Our Athletic Awards Ceremony embodied the phenomenal second year of athletics at Inwood Academy. We were thrilled to be able to celebrate the hard work and achievements of our eight teams. What made the evening exceptional was the surprise interruption, during the ceremony, of our baseball team as they had just returned from winning the 2013-2014 Charter School Athletic Assocation Jr High Baseball Championship — our first championship for the school! We are very proud of the baseball team for such a great feat. We ended the evening with two very special awards. First, we awarded the Coach of the Year Award to our Soccer Coach, Jessie Hernandez, who did an unbelievable job this past season with our scholar athletes. We then awarded the Trailblazer Award, which embodies all of the values and standards of the Athletic Program, to two 8th grade scholar athletes:  Sam Eklund, for his commitment in leadership to his teammates as well as in his academics as he was an honor roll student, and Arafat Yusifu, who won this award for the second year in a row for being an honor roll student and being successful and unbelievably hardworking in three athletic teams. It was an unforgettable evening and we are excited for what’s to come in the 2014-2015 school year! By Kenneth Tejeda, kenneth.tejeda@inwoodacademy.org, @ialtrailblazers