Last June, a class of 12 students graduated from the Academia Sánchez-Casal and ESIS Barcelona. In the next months, they will start a new journey. Most of them will pursue a university career in the United States and/or Europe, combining sport and studies.
“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.
As the Class of 2019 prepares to graduate from ASC/ ESIS, a wide variety of opportunities await them in life, most immediately at colleges and universities throughout the United States. The 13 seniors, comprising the largest Academy class from Naples to graduate thus far, have accepted offers from some of the finest academic and athletic programs in the nation, among them Tufts University, Michigan State University and Brigham Young University.
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 Caricir, and Casey Cummings of the Sanchez-Casal Florida Academy.
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.