Feb. 8, 2010
Bronx, N.Y. -
On a day when the NFL will crown a champion, Fordham University recognized 275 student-athletes as champions, including 21 members of the football program. The Rams in attendance were honored for compiling a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher at the Sixth Annual Breakfast for Champions in the McGinley Center Ballroom. The event was sponsored by the Fordham Athletic Department with assistance from the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and the Office of Academic Advising.
The 275 in attendance represented over 50% of the student-athletes at Fordham and is the largest number of student-athletes to attend a Breakfast for Champions.
After opening remarks from Frank McLaughlin, Executive Director of Athletics, Director of Athletic Administration Charlie Elwood recognized the top team performer for each varsity program.
Bridget Carroll, FC '10, President of SAAC and a member of the Cross Country/Track and Field programs, spoke to those in attendance about the works of the SAAC program and how the decision was reached to donate $1,500 to CitySquash. CitySquash is a not-for-profit after-school enrichment program based in the Bronx at Fordham University. The organization helps motivated and talented young people from economically disadvantaged households in the Bronx fulfill their academic, athletic and personal potential.
"CitySquash is such a great and unique program that totally transforms the kids," said Carroll. "I started tutoring with them two weeks ago and witnessed firsthand how they respond to having a Fordham student-athlete with them in class."
Carroll then introduced Tim Wyant, Executive Director of CitySquash, who spoke of the program before Carroll presented him and Sanford Schwartz, Founder and Chairman of CitySquash, with a check for $1,500 on behalf of the SAAC.
Wyant, a four-time All-American and two-time captain on the varsity squash team at Harvard College who played professionally for two years, was hired by CitySquash's Board of Directors in 2002 to launch and run the organization. He gave those in attendance a brief history of squash, explaining how it came to the United States from England as a sport for those of means, being played at exclusive country clubs and prep schools.
Wyant then spoke of the CitySquash program and how it works with the local elementary, middle and high schools to get the students involved in the sport, as well as helping them with academics and getting them involved in community service.
"Do kids in the Bronx want to play an elite game?" Wyant asked those in attendance. "We actually found that recruiting students was one of the easiest things we do. The students around here have so few extracurricular activities to be a part of that they embraced the program."
Students who participate in the CitySquash program all have a B average in school and 29 of the middle school students from last year received scholarships to some of the more prestigious private schools in the city. Also, all of the students who started with the program in 2002 are now in college, attending such school as Cornell, Wesleyan and Hobart and William Smith.
Wyant extolled the Fordham community for its help in the success of CitySquash, from providing the courts for the students to compete as well as classroom space and tutors for the students to learn. He also shared with the Fordham student-athletes his experience at the university with CitySquash.
"I remember walking on to campus the first time with the kids from the program," said Wyant. "I remember the looks on their faces as we entered through the Bathgate Avenue gate, walked past the building and saw the open lawn of Edwards Parade. It's a moment I'll never forget because even though the students didn't know it, the seed was being planted in their minds that will be cultivated over the years, allowing them to realize that they could come to a prestigious school like Fordham."
"I'm deeply grateful and appreciative for what Fordham has done for CitySquash," continued Wyant. "You are an inspiration to our students and I hope you realize just how much a difference you can make."
Following the check presentation, Schwartz addressed the crowd, congratulating the Fordham student-athletes for their athletic and academic accomplishments and thanking the school for its help with CitySquash. "Not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for Fordham. Without Fordham, none of this could have ever happened."
Carroll then stepped up to the microphone to explain that SAAC has two upcoming events to raise funds for a national and international charity. The national charity is the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital which will benefit from the third annual St. Jude Carnival Night on February 24th, while the international charity that has been selected is the Asayo Wish Orphanage in Uganda. SAAC will sell raffle tickets to gift baskets this Friday and Saturday, February 12th and 13th, to raise funds in order to send athletic equipment to the children at the orphanage.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University, wrapped up the brunch with a three-part talk. First, he recognized the CitySquash program, joking about how the CitySquash students are "the only people on campus shorter than I am."
Secondly, Fr. McShane spoke to the student-athletes, praising them for their work, on the athletic fields, in the classroom and in the community.
"We are immensely proud of you," said McShane to the student-athletes. "You represent Fordham with class and character in everything you do. You are a standing rebuke to what people think when they think about athletes and for that we are grateful."
Lastly, Fr. McShane wrapped up the brunch by leading the crowd in reciting the Lord's Prayer.
Included in the 275 were 27 student-athletes who were recognized as four-year Breakfast for Champions attendees.
Chelsea Berry (Rowing)
Lauren Bustos (Women's Soccer)
Kathleen Bowens (Rowing)
Bridget Carroll (Women's Cross Country/Track)
Justin Coombs (Men's Swimming)
Ryan Coombs (Men's Swimming)
Frank Curry (Football)
Martina Featherston (Women's Tennis)
Courtney Fedge (Women's Soccer)
Erin Fisher (Softball)
Chris Granucci (Men's Track)
Katelynn Grey (Women's Swimming)
Catherine Groene (Women's Track)
Clifton Hilario (Men's Cross Country)
Brittany Hogan (Women's Soccer)
John Korevec (Men's Cross Country/Track)
Lucien Monson (Men's Swimming)
Brigid Moriarty (Women's Cross Country/Track)
Patrick Murray (Men's Soccer)
Caitlin Napoli (Women's Swimming)
Chris Paolino (Men's Soccer)
Eric Prendergast (Men's Swimming)
Vincent Servello (Men's Track)
Elizabeth Stall (Women's Swimming)
Paul Szczepaniak (Men's Cross Country/Track)
Michael Taddei (Baseball)
Kat Stack (Cheerleading)
Also recognized were the following that have the highest grade point average for their team:
Baseball - Joe Russo
Men's Basketball - Ryan Munson
Cheerleading - Cindy Poiesz
Football - Clarke Munson
Golf - Charles Smith
Rowing - Stephanie Narduzzo
Men's Soccer - Aaron Markowitz
Women's Soccer - Katie McDermott
Softball - Jennifer Mineau
Men's Swimming - Chris Schneck
Women's Swimming - Caroline Passaro
Men's Tennis/Squash - Eli Plangger
Women's Tennis - Brittany Russell
John Korevec - Men's Cross Country/Track
Bridget Carroll - Men's Cross Country/Track
Megan Arend - Volleyball
Martin De Jong - Water Polo
Below are the 21 football student-athletes honored at the 2010 Fordham Breakfast for Champions: