Snow days at the Boys and Girls Club

This week’s cold weather and icy conditions have forced many Coast schools to close with some students getting a few days off from classes this week.News 25’s Jaylon Morris takes us behind the scenes at the Boys and Girls Club in D’Iberville to show us how kids are getting a mental work out.D’Iberville High School Student Tracy Roberts Tores said, “You see it snowing and it’s like, for some people, they have never seen snow so it’s amazing. It’s the first time they’ve ever seen it.”Yes, snow can be amazing, but parents on the Gulf Coast must wonder what productive things their little ones are doing while they are at work. Could it be studying? “Not really,” said Tracy.Or possibly reading? “um, yeah. Text messages.”Don’t worry parents. Staff members like Maria Nichols make sure the kids at this Boys and Girls Club on these snow days are hitting the books. “We have certain curriculum that we continue to do on a regular basis and one of those is the STRIDE program which I run here.”The computer-based program helps students to enhance their skills in math, science, and language arts, but after the lesson kids are serving other lessons on the basketball court.Although snow days can be a swish, most students don’t want to think about rebounding to their regular school activity. D’iberville Middle School Student Jarvis Brown said, “Well to be honest, not really, because I want to spend my time home with my family so we can have fun, go out and eat ya know.” Continue Reading

To the boys and girls and moms and dads of Warren County

While the winter moon tries to pierce the purple dark of night, the soft but hazy colored lights along Candy Cane Lane glow red against the snow covered path. The wind is playing crack the whip around the house and the snowflakes are flying like feathers in a fury. The piles of fluffy white snow are billowed on the rooftops like dollops of frosting on a Christmas gingerbread house.As I walk up the white path to the house, only the crunch of the snow beneath my fur-trimmed boots can be heard between the whips of the North Pole wind. Once inside the door, I brush the snow off my clothes, remove my boots and red jacket and warm my backside by the flickering fireplace.I’m sitting here all snuggled and warm, my striped colored sock feet warming my toes by the crackling logs that are afire with a holiday flaming log. Mrs. Claus has just handed me a hot-buttered rum and my aching bones are gently settling into the comfort of my favorite overstuffed chair.I just left the barn with the deer sound asleep in piles of warm, dry straw, their stomachs bulging after an evening meal of oats, mash and carrot sticks. Like the children “all nestled” in that famous Christmas Eve story, these beautiful beasts are dreaming of their night before Christmas and their adventurous flight ahead as they embark upon their journey to bring joy to children and adults everywhere in the world.From the rooftops of London to the clay tiles of Tuscan villages, from the sands and pebbles of Mexican beaches to the Fjords of Norway, these reindeer will make their rounds as swiftly as the postman in which their appointed rounds are not swayed by “snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night.”Santa’s workshop is as quiet as a church mouse. The hammering, sawing and singing that takes place during the day has come to an end as the elves are busy snoring in their own little beds. With only a few finishing touches left on some of the more complicated toys, this year’s Continue Reading

Ballet star talks success with Bronx Boys and Girls Club members

Ballet star Misty Copeland helped the Boys and Girls Club of America kick off its annual Youth of the Year program in the Bronx Wednesday. The winner will be chosen in September and awarded $60,000 in college scholarships, as well as a chance to meet with President Obama. Copeland took questions from the youngsters and talked about success. "My story's so relatable," said Copeland. "For people to know that I started at Boys and Girls Club, to know that I came from poverty, to know that I'm one of six children of a single parent home, and African-American, which is also rare in the world of classical ballet." The children were enthused to meet Copeland and the current Youth of the Year, Trei Dudley. "I'm going to start looking up to them because they started probably the way that we're going to start and maybe become something, just like (they) are," said Beyonce Dennis, 12. Briana Aponte, 11, said she and her peers could relate to the superstars because of the common experience of being in the program. "They push us to do our hardest and work our hardest to achieve our dreams." Dudley said speaking to the kids "helps to reinforce to everyone that great futures are starting and Boys and Girls Club is the cause of that." She said she was impressed by the Bronx boys and girls. Copeland said that as an ambassador she follows in the footsteps of Denzel Washington, Jennifer Lopez, Kerry Washington and Cuba Gooding Jr. J-Lo rose up through the same Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. "I'm just here to represent what they can go on to be," said Copeland, and "to back the Youth of the Year." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

PSAL boys and girls soccer all-stars win Mayor’s Cup soccer trophies, beating Independent teams in championship games

When it comes to athletic achievement, the PSAL sometimes gets overlooked in favor of the CHSAA and Independent schools. But the city’s public school soccer teams definitely have a leg up on the competition – and they proved it recently. The boys and girls PSAL soccer all-stars both won the Mayor’s Cup on the weekend of Nov.16-17 at Poly Prep in Brooklyn. The PSAL girls beat the CHSAA team on Saturday, Nov.16 to advance to the title game against a team made up of Independent all-stars. In that championship game, Alison Dowdle of Long Island City and Kelly Bouzi of Cardozo each scored goals in the PSAL’s 2-1 win over the Independent team. On the boys side, Amara Sesay – who led Martin Luther King to the PSAL title earlier this month – scored both goals in the PSAL’s 2-1 win over the Independent stars. The PSAL boys had received a bye into the title game because of its championship in the previous Mayor’s Cup. “Awesome is definitely the word I would use to describe the performance of the New York City Public Schools Athletic League,” said PSAL boys coach Jack Thelusma, who coaches Bushwick during the regular season. “Both PSAL All-Star squads merit tremendous compliments for winning the 2013 Mayor's Cup.” Sesay was named Most Valuable Player after his two-goal performance in the finale. “All the senior soccer players from the PSAL boys and girls All-Star teams played very hard and conducted themselves extremely well throughout the entire tournament,” Thelusma said. “I am very proud of them.” Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Boys and girls are not on the same page about elite city high schools

The city’s brightest boys and girls are increasingly going separate ways in high school — and New York needs to know why. Every year, about 27,000 eighth-graders take the highly competitive admissions test for eight schools that are considered among the best in the five boroughs. The test takers split roughly 50-50 between boys and girls. But boys win 60%, and girls get 40%, of the 3,700 ninth-grade classroom seats at Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, Staten Island Tech, Brooklyn Latin, the High School for American Studies at Lehman College, the High School for Math, Engineering and Science at City College and Queens High School for the Sciences at York College. Meanwhile, girls are taking command at excellent high schools that admit students based on grades, state test scores, essays, interviews and other entrance exams. These schools include Millennium, Baruch, Bard, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank McCourt and Townsend Harris. Girls far outnumber boys at all of those. An astonishing 70% of Townsend Harris students are female. At Millennium, 64% of the students are girls; at Bard and Eleanor Roosevelt, 63%. The question that demands answer is whether the boys and girls are self-segregating after enjoying equal shots at schools that seem best suited to help them achieve goals in college and beyond. If so, fine. The object is not to tailor student bodies to match the makeup of the city’s population, but rather to ensure that all comers are comparably prepared to meet admissions standards and feel welcome at all schools. The Education Department should start an inquiry by examining the flow of students into the eight schools that use the admissions test. The students who are most likely to ace the exam are those who have ranked in the top 5% on their eighth-grade math standardized tests. But, according to the department, the boys in that group have done better than the girls on the high school admissions exam, so the Continue Reading

Boys and Girls club hits century mark with star-studded affair

An incubator for some of Mount Vernon’s best and brightest reached a major milestone recently with the help of a Queens elected official. Alumni of the Boys and Girls Club of Mount Vernon recently celebrated the centennial of the facility, once a frequent hangout of comedian J.B. Smoove of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and former Yankee Ken Singleton. “It’s like a fraternity,” said Lowes Moore, the club’s executive director and former member. “All the people that came through the club end up doing a lot of positive things.” Denzel Washington, who grew up in Mount Vernon and has been a major backer of the club, was slated to attend the gala but fell ill, event organizers said. Washington’s college roommate, state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Jamaica), was honored during the March 24 ceremony for his support of the club. Famous alumni of the club credited its core values of education and integrity for shaping their formative years. “For me and my friends that went over, it was a chance to bond,” said Ken Singleton, former Yankees outfielder and current broadcaster. “I have lifetime friendship from it.” Funnyman J.B. Smoove, one of the stars of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” said his time at the Boys and Girls Club helped craft his comic touch. “I’m the most positive, outgoing person just from being around there,” said Smoove, whose real name is Jerry Brooks. “It brings you out of your shell.” Smoove said places designed for youth interaction have taken on a new relevance with the rise of social media. “The world is getting a little separated,” he said. “We gotta keep some of these traditional values going.” [email protected] Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Surprise sets aside $2 million for Boys and Girls Club

What the city did:The Surprise City Council voted to place $2 million into an Arizona Community Foundation revenue fund opened on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club of Surprise. What it cost: $2 million Why the city did it: In 1989, the City Council began talking about opening a Boys and Girls Club in Surprise. There have been discussions for about 25 years, and in 2014, the Surprise City Council set aside $2 million in the Fiscal Year 2015 General Capital Fund to build the club. Valley non-profit Chicanos por la Causa has proposed to build a commercial building along Hollyhock Street in the Original Town Site as well as a 20,000-square-foot club facility at the Roy Villanueva Community and Recreation Complex. It believes rents from the commercial building will cover the construction of both the commercial and the club buildings. As a result, the $2 million does not have to be used to build the project, but it will take an annual budget of about $500,000 to operate. Money must be raised to assure the ongoing operations of the club, and placing the $2 million in the Arizona Community Foundation revenue fund will generate about $160,000 a year for club operations. The Arizona Community Foundation manages operating and endowment funds for hundreds of community service organizations in Arizona. Fund yields have ranged from 5.3 percent over one year, to 10.7 percent over three years, according to Surprise. Continue Reading

Beacon HS boys and girls soccer teams celebrating historical wins in PSAL soccer championships

There is such a thing as a great Monday, after all. Just ask Beacon's boys and girls soccer players, who couldn't wait to attend school Monday. They got a hero's welcome to the Manhattan school, just one day after the Blue Demons made PSAL history by becoming the first school to win both the boys and girls ‘A' championships. Both games were played at St. John's University. "Best Monday ever," said senior defender Jesse White, a keystone on the boys team. Added senior forward Joseph Nikic: "Best Monday of my life." The top-seeded girls team kicked off the memorable Sunday with a 2-0 victory over No. 3 Tottenville. Camila Kirtzman netted a goal in the 30th minute, and Jennifer Angione added the insurance score in the 67th minute to pave the way for the shutout. Beacon sophomore midfielder Ella Kim had just watched her older brother Emmett, a senior who plays for Hunter, break his leg in the closing minutes of the Hawks' 3-0 win over Monroe in the boys ‘B' championship. Emmett underwent surgery later Sunday at Jamaica Hospital, and Ella dedicated the team's championship victory to him. "I just knew I had to work for him," she said. "It was amazing that both of us made it to a championship." Once Beacon's girls carted their trophy off the field, the boys got on. Little did they know: They'd be on the field for a long time. The fourth-seeded Blue Demon boys' 4-3 win over No. 2 Francis Lewis in penalty kicks, a victory preceded by 100 minutes of scoreless soccer and two overtime periods, was nothing short of epic. With the shootout tied at 3-3, Beacon sent Nikic up to the line. The senior forward netted a hat trick in a 3-2 quarterfinal win over Adams, and scored the winner in overtime to give Beacon a 2-1 semifinals victory over defending-champion MLK. Nikic knocked in the winning goal, cementing his school's historic Sunday. "It's great for the school," Beacon coach Alec Mahrer said. "Great for the soccer program and great all Continue Reading

Jefferson boys and girls both wiped out in the semis, but surf still looks good

Jefferson's boys and girls basketball teams went into last week with high hopes of securing back-to-back time slots at the Garden to play for the PSAL championships. Instead, both Orange Wave squads were sent rolling back to East New York in a span of less than 24 hours, each having been defeated in the semifinals. “Rough week for Jefferson; a rough one, big dog,” coach Lawrence Pollard said following the Lady Orange Wave’s 56-53 loss to Manhattan Center last Wednesday; just a day earlier, the boys had fallen to Lincoln, 75-60. Despite the dual defeats, the tide remains high for Jefferson’s boys and girls. Both squads expect to return key components to help lead another run next season. Without one senior on its active roster, the Lady Orange Wave will return all of its players, including leading scorer Alicia Cropper (20 points per game) and key role players including Rene Blake, Clifasia Gowins and Danielle Pearson. If Takima Lucky — who sat out most of the season due to academic ineligibility — picks it up in the classroom, the Lady Orange Wave should come back even stronger. “Takima Lucky is a great player and we’d love to have her, but Takima Lucky has to decide that this is something she wants to do,” girls co-coach Seldon Jefferson said. “Only she can decide.” The Lady Orange Wave finished atop the Brooklyn ‘AA’ Group 2 with a 14-2 record during the regular season, and rolled over Grand Street and Midwood before falling to No. 7 Manhattan Center in the semis at Hunter College. Jefferson had no answer for Lady Rams’ point guard China Crosby, who scored a game-high 26 points, and costly misses from the charity stripe washed the Wave away for good. “The first half, I think we missed about 12, 13 free throws,” said Jefferson, “so that definitely hurts any ball club.” Although Jefferson’s boys will lose dependable seniors such as Continue Reading

Christ the King’s boys and girls basketball teams both heading to New York State Federation Tournament in Albany

Nikki Kerr had a hard time describing the feelings the Christ the King cheerleaders had on the sidelines when the Royals’ boys and girls basketball teams both won New York State Federation championships in 2010 in Glens Falls, the only time in state history a school has accomplished that feat. Now, as the Christ the King cheerleading coach, the CK graduate and her team cancelled their previously scheduled competition at St. Francis Prep this weekend to go to Albany instead. There, the school’s girls team will play in the Federation tournament for the first time since it made history five years ago, while the boys team is looking to become the first team to ever win three consecutive Federation championships. "Our girls would rather see their school win something like state and experiencing that rather than being at a one-day competition that's solely for themselves," Kerr, a 2012 Christ the King graduate, said. "It's a completely different dynamic of just seeing both teams there and everyone being so happy for each other." The success of both teams has been the source of plenty of excitement for the Middle Village, Queens, school since the teams won CHSAA championships two weekends ago. For the boys team, getting to the Federation tournament has become an expectation. For the girls, at least this year, it's a little more of a surprise. "I told them, you bunch of misfits lost seven games but you've done it, you were able to figure it out," Christ the King girls' coach Bob Mackey said. "They've been able to put aside individual goals and play as a team, and that's really the key. Once they did, good things happened." The Christ the King girls' team will face PSAL champion South Shore and McDonald's All-American Brianna Fraser in the Friday's ‘AA’ semifinal matchup. The Royals defeated the Vikings 66-53 in January, but Mackey isn't putting any thought into that game. "I'd rather play somebody I haven't seen. Continue Reading