By Ivette Nieto and Tatiana Batalla, Marketing Department at ASC Florida
There are only a few weeks for the long-awaited graduation of our students-athletes at ASC Florida, we wanted to interview our senior students and know their stories of how they got to Sanchez-Casal, what their expectations are in this new university stage, and their advice for young people who seek to balance tennis with their studies; they told us how all the effort was worth it in the end after so many years of sacrifice and hard work. Clara March, Aleksandra Caricic, and Casey Cummings of the Sanchez-Casal Florida Academy.
How was your ASC Experience?
Casey- I first came here mostly to focus on my tennis career. After my first year in ASC I learned a lot , I made good friendships , and I had great coaches and mentors . I came to ASC because Emilio Sánchez came to Hawaii to give a clinic and met my mom , I was playing an ITF tournament at the time. Emilio talked to my mom about the possibility of coming to the academy to combine school and tennis at the highest level. I decided to give it a try and I now, I can say that I fitted in with the level of tennis and with everyone here at ASC.
Cacho- It has been an unforgettable experience. I first moved here because my parents decided to move to Naples, Florida and my new house was inside the academy so my parents became friends with Emilio Sanchez. I was playing soccer at that time but later I decided to start playing tennis for the academy and I am now happy with that decision.
What are your expectations for college?
Clara- I feel nervous about going to college but, I also feel prepared because I am going to be playing for the tennis team. My current schedule will be very similar to my college schedule with classes and tennis combined so that is going to be easy for me to be able to start well.
Casey- I believe it will be an easier transition. I am ready for college, I think I will have an easier time because all the situations that made me learn here and all the preparation I had to be a student athlete. I believe that, in college, I will be more in a comfort zone because training in ASC helped me be prepared to train at the highest level, compete at the highest level and have school homework done on time.
Cacho- I believe college will be a new experience on top of this one. Being in the academy for 5 years made me be prepared to face new challenges so I feel ready for my new step in life.
What was your hardest moment at the academy?
Clara- My hardest moment of the academy was right at the beginning because I left my house at a young age so it was hard to get used to the schedule. Day after day keeping up with my school and tennis routine was hard because of my young age. It was all worth it because I got to become who I am now and achieved what I have achieved.
Casey- My hardest moment was my first semester. I grew up in Hawaii having the same friends that had the same culture and were from around my house so It was so easy to get along. When I came here, everyone was from a different culture with different backgrounds so it was a whole new situation to adapt to.
3 things that Sanchéz-Casal helped you to grow with?
Clara- Discipline was one of the main ones because of the routine I follow in Sanchez-Casal and all the norms imposed from all my tutors and coaches . The ability to meet new people and be open minded since in Sanchez-Casal, there are different students with different cultures and at the end we all have to get along. The third one is Independence, not to have an adult telling you at all time what to do or how to do it.
Casey- The first one was not to compare myself to everyone,. Training with the same people everyday makes you realize that not everything is about competition. When I was in Hawaii, I was competing at an individual level and also training at an individual level so that made me compare myself to other tennis players around me. I learned how to focus on myself now. Another one is being out of my comfort level. Before, I wouldn’t have that many situations where I was uncomfortable . Coming here made me try new things, be around new people. The last one is time management because we have so many things to handle so you can’t procrastinate.
Cacho- To know my personal value, to know that I can learn something from every situation and to see that other people can help you along the way ( friends and coaches ).
What would be your advice to kids that think it is hard to combine school & tennis?
Clara- When I was in Valencia I had to make a choice, either to keep studying at a high level with my academics or to keep playing at a high level with tennis. This program helped me combine both academic and tennis both at a high level. This academy gave me the opportunity to a good, academically placed college and at a good athletic level.
Casey- Before I came here I would always sacrifice school because I had tournaments and training so I would have to miss school and I wouldn’t be able to catch up. My advise now would be, don’t sacrifice anything if you push yourself in both you will achieve whatever you want and what you deserve. Ultimately at the end, I never thought I would achieve my current level academically and I ended up doing well in both school and tennis. This academy was also really helpful due to location because when I was in Hawaii I had limitations of tournaments so I would always be traveling and missing school. This academy is in a good place and has a good program that also helped me to have things easier.
Cacho- I would advise to take the best chance you get to do well in both at your maximum level. It is not easy to combine both school and tennis but if you limit yourself you won’t be able to achieve where you want to be in a future. This academy helped me to find one of the best offers for college that lets me combine my college degree with being on a tennis team performing at a high level.
Ivette Nieto and Tatiana Batalla
Marketing Department at ASC Florida