As Emilio Sánchez Vicario says, “Our academy graduates go to Harvard, they go to Columbia… but they also go to Wimbledon.” This is the main goal of the Academy, and to achieve it there is only one true method: offer the best high performance tennis training combined with an excellent academic education.
1258 kilometers of driving, 10 universities, 6 northeastern states and 111 tennis matches. We have just returned from the annual ASC-ES International School University Trip. This is not a typical university trip. Ours reflects exactly who we are – in both mission and values — as a tennis academy and a school.
Conversations, ideas, exploration, victories, disappointments, wins, losses, laughter, tears, discovery, and growth… the essence of our Academy embodied in the lives of 9 of our student-athletes.
It was 2014 when I first came across Academia Sanchez-Casal. I had just finished 10th grade and was frustrated with my daily life in India. I always felt like there was something holding me back and that I could perform better, both as an athlete and as a student. So, when I decided to join ASC, I came prepared to work hard and take my tennis to a new level, but what I got was truly something extraordinary. The two years I spent here was the most enriching years of my life. The quality of the tennis and fitness training was second to none, which was helped by a good, private international school. The coaches and staff made me feel as if I were a part of their family, so much so that 2 years after I graduated as the valedictorian of my class, I felt the urge to return to ASC as a coach.
A normal day at Academia Sanchez-Casal, Florida is not exactly a true statement. For our annual students, the day seems to be anything but ordinary. With three-hour practices in the morning, then school along with study hall in the afternoon, most can agree that being an ASC Florida annual student is more than just tennis practices and school assignments. As athletes, they must focus on their personal goals of whether they will go on to play college tennis or become a professional tennis player. As students, it is a different matter, they need to focus on their grades and their overall performance in school. Having the ability to balance out their passion for tennis and academics brings them a step ahead in life. However, the question still remains on what is life at the Academy? I have the answer to that question from past and present annual students: Emilio Sánchez, Victoria Sánchez, Adéle Fernández, Ritwik Chatt, and myself Ana Gabriela Canahuate Torres.
This June 22nd, 2018, a very special day will be celebrated here at the Sánchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona. A fresh new group of students will graduate, after 12 intense academic years, and it will be time for them to face the next stage in their lives. It is both a happy and a sad day as we say goodbye to people who have become part of our family.
In a few months, Laura López, who started tennis training in the after-school program ten years ago, will achieve her dream of attending Boston College to play college level tennis while working towards a university degree. We had time to talk to her and hear her story; a story that she is happy to share with our current student-athletes, and anyone out there who might have the same dreams.
I have two teenage kids who play sports. Both of them compete in the sport they chose, both of them study languages and, of course, as an absolute priority, both of them go to school and attend to their academic obligations. All of these activities will reap their benefits, not only now, but also in their future, and I am convinced that it is the best training at all levels that I can provide for them. However, it can be tough for them to keep up, as they often do not have time for anything else, and sometimes I wonder if it is all too much.
If I had to choose a metaphor for the university placement process, it would be a puzzle. Over the course of high school and a junior tennis career, many pieces fit together finally resulting in a complete picture.
Many students’ lives today are filled with technology which gives them infinite access to information and resources, enabling them to pursue their interests in their own way and at their own pace. The opportunities are limitless.
Sánchez-Casal Academy is more than a high-performance center; it’s a place full of stories and dreams. It is the starting point for young tennis players and students who dream of a brighter future ahead.