By Daniel Muñoz, Head of Communications & Media at Sánchez-Casal Academy.
When Emilio Sánchez Vicario and Sergio Casal first started the Sánchez-Casal Academy, their idea was to create a high performance program in tennis and school studies. Sixteen years later, many Sanchez-Casal alumni are the protagonists of personal, professional and sporting success stories, and one of them is Mike Vermeer, who initiated his journey at Sánchez-Casal and ES International School in 2005.
Mike spent nearly seven years in the academy and school, in which time he learned the keys to high performance, which are dedication, effort, determination, and values, some of which only made sense to him many years later.
Mike played the Davis Cup with Luxembourg, where he met another ASC alumni, Andy Murray, in the qualifying round against Great Britain. The Sánchez-Casal Academy is proud of both of these alumni, each with their different goals, but both endowed with the same values of high performance and success.
Mike later enrolled in the University of Columbia, and this was an important moment in his development. This was when he faced that difficult moment in a tennis player’s life – like Johanna Konta, another ASC alumni did earlier this year during Wimbledon (J. Konta, The Guardian: “There are moments where you fight against your passion“ ) – and he decided to quit tennis, abandoning his passion, and leaving his rackets in the locker room.
After his first year at university, he decided to face his demons one day and asked if he could hit some balls with the tennis team. His plan was not to begin playing again; rather, it was just to see how it would feel being back on court. Mike’s love for the sport was quickly revived and within just a few days, he had officially joined the team.
After that, Mike never looked back. He contributed enormously to Columbia University’s tennis team. Columbia is one of eight universities to play in the prestigious Ivy League Conference, and its men’s tennis team won the title of Ivy League Champion for each of the three years that Mike played with them.
If you see the footage of Mike being interviewed for Columbia University TV, you will see how tennis and studies have combined to provide a perfect mix of personal, professional and athletic experiences, all of which endowed him with an enviable confidence and maturity.
You might also ask how Mike did in school. Well, he spent hours and days in the library of the university, dedicating himself to his studies with the same determination and spirit of triumph that have shaped Mike’s character in tennis. Mike demonstrated the same values in academics as those he learned at the Sánchez-Casal Academy.
Most recently, Mike won a very important “set”: the Cum Laude title, and a professional position working for an international company in United States. Well done Mike.
This June, for the first time in 16 years of ASC history, we held an Alumni Dinner at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona, and it was attended by alumni from all over the globe. Many students’ stories have been written in these 16 years, and many of those were re-lived when we met on this special day. The students who graduated in June 2016 are included in these stories, as they take the important step towards the next chapter of their lives.
Head of Communications & Media at Sánchez-Casal Academy