The San Miguel Academy’s rowing program was honored Oct. 16 by the New York Giants as part of Hispanic Heritage Month at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Twenty San Miguel rowers from Newburgh were presented on the field with the Local Latino Achievement Award and watched the Giants host the Baltimore Ravens.
“The New York Giants organization has always stood for integrity and hard work,” said Father Mark Connell, executive director and rowing coach at San Miguel. “San Miguel Academy rowers are especially proud that the Giants have singled them out for Latino Achievement. Our rowers work hard six days a week, both in the classroom and in the boat. We are all grateful that our student-athletes have been recognized by the New York Giants and the NFL.”
San Miguel’s rowing program, which was featured in Catholic New York and its Catholic Sports Scene blog in the spring, was represented for the first time in a regional and national rowing event.
The program’s under-15 boys quad boat won its division at the USRowing Northeast Youth Championships in Lowell, Mass., and qualified for the USRowing National Youth Championships in Sarasota, Fla., where it placed 11th.
“When I heard we were going to the Giants game to be honored, I was excited for the hard work that we did and happy for everything that my team has done,” said San Miguel sixth-grader Emiliano Cervantes. “As the coxswain, I motivate my team to work together and keep trying. I tell them to not give up and take more power with their strokes.”
San Miguel Academy, a Catholic co-educational middle school for inner-city students in Newburgh, was founded in 2006, and the rowing program started in 2010. Sixty-four students are enrolled in the school, with more than half participating in the rowing program.
“It is such an honor to be nominated by the Giants for Hispanic History Month,” said Caitlin Giampaolo, humanities teacher and rowing coach at San Miguel Academy. “With so many of our students having diverse cultures and coming from different backgrounds, it is such an incredible opportunity to be recognized by a great organization such as the NFL. All of our rowers work extremely hard, every day, to hone their craft.”
Sixth-grader Isabella Luna shared the importance of the academy and its rowing program in her life.
“Our coaches are inspirational because every time I think about giving up, they tell me to keep going,” she said. “Before I started rowing, I used to give up pretty easily. I tell myself to keep rowing and keep trying because it’s all worth it in the end.”