By Ivette nieto, Tatiana Batalla and Casey Cummings, Sánchez-Casal Academy.
The graduation is an emotive time where 13 student-athletes become adults, they become independent and they start a new journey that will open doors for their future. They are going to college to pursue their dreams of studying a college career and playing for the tennis team. They earned scholarships by working hard on and off the court, they earned a high school degree by putting time and effort on school, by learning and by enjoying. They have experienced and lived unique moments that they will take with them for the rest of their lives. Sanchez-Casal academy will always be like a second home to all of them, they are student-athletes, they are friends, they are family and now is their time to do great things. Casey Cummings a young student-athlete from Hawaii has been in the academy for 2 and a half years and that has been named player of the year, is one of the graduates graduating with the spring class of 2019. The future of Casey is held at Tufts University in Boston and her big plans in 10 years is working in the United Nations or as a US Supreme Court Justice. Her graduating speech was inspiring and from Sanchez-Casal we want to share it with you.
“The first time I had ever heard of Sanchez Casal was in November of my Sophomore year. I had just turned 16 and my mom had asked me if I wanted to visit a tennis academy in Florida. Of course, I answered yes, I had always dreamt of training at a tennis academy. However, what I have never told anyone is how scared I was to come.
I remember landing in Fort Lauderdale on a Friday afternoon, the drive to Naples seemed to last forever. Yet, I was so nervous that the drive didn’t seem to last long enough. On Saturday morning I remember walking to the courts for my first day of training. Where were court 28 and 29? Honestly, I have been here for 2 and a half years and it still takes me a while to figure that out. For a solid 2 weeks I thought Victoria and Pitu were the same person, I could not tell the difference between Mariana and Luisa, and I thought Cacho was weird for riding that damn scooter everywhere.
As students we are always complaining about having to be at the club at 6:15 for breakfast, however many people are here way before us to make sure the club is ready for the day. Thank you to the maintenance staff and cleaning ladies. Thanks for making sure everything is working, but also for painting the wall of 22b that one time we painted it gray… Also, I would like to thank everyone in the kitchen. Thank you for all the raviolis this year and Veronica your food will always be my favorite! Next, I have to thank Xavi and Rogelio for their help. Both are always willing to help us and solve any issues we have. So, thank you Xavi for finding my phone that one time it got stuck inside the panels of the van. Romy, Vivi, Ivette, and Tati, thank you for everything you have done. You four have been so welcoming and are part of the reason that ASC is my 2nd home. I will miss bothering you guys in your office because I’m pretty sure I will not be able to go bother admissions in my university next year.
Lucas, the energy you bring every single day to the tennis courts is inspiring. You show up each day as if you have drank more coffees than Anna Li and we all know that is impossible. Your passion for tennis is something I will take with me to college. Victor, watching you give your best as a coach whether you are on the court with the red ball kids, the 6th graders, or the best boys is something that I am sure not only inspires me but so many others. I would like to thank you for not only speaking and teaching the importance of building the correct values of humility, respect, honesty, discipline and hard work but for also demonstrating those values with how you approach your own life. Lazaro, I have always admired how hard you work. You are here early in the morning stringing racquets and then you are on the court all day giving lessons. I will miss you when I am in college but maybe I can still hear your loud voice from Boston.
Alberto and Imanol, you guys were never officially my tutor, but you always took so much responsibility in helping me. Especially thank you Alberto for taking me to the Casino for my 18th birthday. (We made $11 that night). Flavia thank you for being a good role model for us. I am glad we got to share many moments together and I hope there are more to come. Eva, what will I do without you? Thank you for being someone I can trust and for always helping me when I am overwhelmed. Without you, I think many of us would go crazy and you are always there to calm us down. Pavel, thank you for your continued help throughout my time here. For making tennis fun and for helping me love to be at the net. Derek and Kennedy, being in a place like that gym brings me so many terrible memories, but through all the academy laps and burpees I became such a better athlete. Because of all the work we in the gym, I honestly feel so much more prepared for college next year.
Thank you, Emilio, for everything you have done for my family and I, without your help I would have never been able to live these past few years in the same way. This year I had the chance for you to work with me as my tutor, and I think I started to understand so much more about how I need to play on the court. Simona, thank you for always being supportive of me and for also building all of these kids from all over the world into the friendships we have today.
Dad: I know that mom always steals the spotlight from you but thank you for always supporting me no matter what I do. I know it is hard for you to stay in Hawaii and keep everything from falling apart without any help. You have always been so understanding and supportive of anything that I have ever done. Even if you did not agree, you let me learn from my mistakes and offered advice. You taught me how to stay calm and never to let anger get the best of me.
Mom: A lot of people say that I am a hard worker, but when they say that, I hope you know it is really a complement for you. You always taught me that children are a reflection of their parents. And it is true, all the values I have learned are from watching how you treat your life. You never had to tell me to work hard, or to be respectful, or to be committed, you showed me this every day. Whether it was the fact that you worked 3 different jobs to afford the costs of my tennis and education, or when you gave every one of your students our home phone number so they could call you for math help anytime they needed it. In 7th grade, when I was applying to Midpac, I had to write an essay on my hero. I was too embarrassed to tell you then, but I wrote about you. As I go on to college, I hope I can be a decent reflection of the person you are, because your hard work, respect and commitment are three values that I wish someday to possess in the way that you do.
I would also like to thank some of my friends who have made my years here unforgettable and irreplaceable. Cacho, Clara, Adele, Victoria, Dagmar, Pitu, Aleksa, Kitty, Sophia, and Giulia. Who would have thought it would end like this? These past few years have been filled with memories but if you would have asked me 2 and a half years ago when I was sitting at Orange Bowl, shy and quiet, I would have never thought we would end up with the relationships we have, all sitting here to celebrate our graduation together. My favorite memories could be the time we hid a hippo in Dagmar’s backpack, the time Julian Dassler hid in AP US GOV class, watching Pitu dance to wrecking ball, or getting Chick fil A with Clara Adele and Cacho. The friendships we have made are honestly one of the best parts about my time here and I know that these friendships will last a lifetime.
Now that I have thanked everyone, I would like to congratulate all the seniors. Paul, Zach, Matt, Jack, Alex, Julian, Vicente, Fernando, Cacho, Clara, Dagmar and Victoria. Let’s take a moment to remember the beginning of the year. We were all standing in this same room, our legs aching from standing so long. Even Pavel was leaning on Eva for support. No one knew where we would be going to college (except for Dagmar) and many of us were strangers. Fast forward to now and I am sure we can all picture dozens of lifelong memories ASC has helped us collect. So, congratulations on a great year full of adversity and accomplishments. In many graduation speeches, they usually say “We made it” which is true- we did make it. However, what is special about our class from ES International School and ASC is that we did not just make it, but I am sure that we will continue to “make it” and do “great things” whether it be on or off the court due to all the experiences that we have had these years. Today is a sad and emotional day because many of us are saying goodbye. But what makes ASC special is that when we leave, we always find a way back. ASC has become a second home for many of us. So, congratulations and let’s celebrate this big accomplishment!” – Casey Cummings
Ivette Nieto and Tatiana Batalla
Marketing department, Sánchez-Casal Academy