News, Press

Urban Squash Students Selected To Attend Prestigious College Programs

Two local San Diego students have been selected as the National Urban Squash Association (NUSEA)’s nominees for summer academic opportunities at two of the most illustrious private schools in the Atlantic Northeast. Sabrina Herrera from Paradise Hills (92139) and Lexa Lara from Shelltown (92113) were selected along with an additional 34 underserved students from across the nation to take part in these enriching summer experiences.

Sabrina will be traveling to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and Lexa will be attending The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, much to the delight of Access Youth Academy Executive Director Renato Paiva.

“To be selected for one of these summer learning opportunities in what is a very competitive pool (students from 18 programs nationwide) is a big deal and testament to the strong and passionate essay applications. Students had to submit an essay of their students’ interests, qualities, and what makes them unique and a statement outlining their reasons for wanting to attend a summer school program.

“Once enrolled in summer school, students get to personalize their programs of study by working with dedicated teachers and having access to the full Academy campus. Sabrina and Lexa will be able to experience dorm life, set their curriculum schedule and engage with other students from across the nation and around the world.” Mr. Paiva said.

Both students attend the Preuss School at UCSD and are part of the Access Youth Academy program, which is a 12-year promise to underserved students who are first generation college bound.

“These rigorous boarding schools have been something that has never came up as an opportunity for me so this is an unbelievable experience. When I get older I want to feel like my hard work helped get me somewhere in life and strive to accomplish things for my family so they can feel like their sacrifices weren’t in vain. Ms. Lara (8th Grade) said.

“When I first heard about this opportunity I felt excited and grateful. The mere idea of having a chance of attending a summer opportunity is a once in a lifetime opportunity and will also expand my knowledge and find my passion to inspire and change the world in my own way” Ms. Herrera (freshman) said.

 

News, Student Blog

Access Youth Academy’s Yan Liu Wins the Inaugural William E. Simon Award

Article originally posted by the National Urban Squash and Education Association (NUSEA).
A big congratulations to Yan Liu, a graduate of San Diego’s Access Youth Academy and a senior at UC Berkeley, as the first recipient of NUSEA’s William E. Simon, Jr. Service & Leadership Award. The William E. Simon, Jr. Service & Leadership Award gives one graduating college student per year the opportunity to travel abroad and volunteer for an international affiliate of NUSEA.
The award was established in honor of NUSEA’s founding board chair, Bill Simon, and aims to highlight the importance of leadership and service, deepen ties between urban squash programs in the United States and abroad, and provide a once-in-lifetime opportunity for an urban squash graduate. Each NUSEA member program was permitted to nominate one graduating college student.
Yan is a 2013 graduate of Access Youth Academy and a senior this year at Berkeley majoring in Public Health with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. She plays college squash alongside some of her Access teammates and volunteers weekly with SquashDrive in Oakland where she tutors and mentors youth. “Yan Liu is an extraordinarily driven and passionate individual,” AYA Academic Coordinator Soraya Ramos. “As she continues to achieve her dreams at UC Berkeley, Yan remains connected to her humble beginnings, to squash, and to the community that helped her get there.”
Yan echoed that spirit of gratitude when notified about the award. “When I applied to the Simon Leadership Award, I had one goal in mind: to give back to the urban squash community,” explained Yan. “I want to use my experiences and accomplishments to serve as an ambassador to guide the young urban squash players on an international platform. I am very excited to be able to experience a different culture, meet new people and learn from the program that I’ll have the honor to work with. “
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