In Their Own Words
Students Reflect on the
7TH GRADE - MCMICHAEL
year has not been my best year, but it is a year I will always
remember…This year has given me the power and knowledge I need to be
able to concentrate and be a leader in the Military Academy. How, squash taught me that before I
can lead I must be able to follow. Squash taught me how to be a leader by
letting me teach the new comers the rules of squash. And then I taught people which made me a
leader and being a leader is an expectation I need for the school of my
6TH GRADE - MCMICHAEL
year at Squash was a fun and excellent sport. It is as fun as my swimming team. We have
a lot of fun with team leaders. We
feel a lot safer with the team leaders around… You taught us a lot of
things like squash, it is a pleasure for you to
take us places like Boston and other places. I like how you buy us food and the
supplies. Squash is a great sport
for me. Squash is a great sport for
anyone that wants to play… Steve is a caring and funny person. If you
get to know him, you will know that he is funny. At my first day at Squash I didn’t
know how to play until SquashSmarts came in and taught us how to play it...
You give us raffles, food and other things… I want to thank
SquashSmarts for coming in my life and helping me with my homework,
teaching me how to read. I like
academics because you teach us how to type, read and write journals. It is a pleasure how you teach me how to
read. I didn’t know how to read at first,
but you taught me how to read. Thank you.
9TH GRADE - SIMON GRATZ
My name is Tempest Bowden
and my experience is different than everyone else. I have been in this program for 3
years. One thing I love the most was
the squash part of the program. I
was the #3 player on the team because I lost my spot to a boy named
Kareem. So I played him again and I
got my spot back as the #1 player on the team. I couldn’t take being at the #3
couldn’t take it not one bit… Academics were more
organized this year because we have the classroom now. It has air conditioning and heat, so
we’re good on that part. I
remember going to some special events like the Sixers’
game with Chase. That was super fun… The team has changed. We have some new faces, from Drew School
and McMichael School. They all have
great personalities…I have met so many people, but only because they
either volunteered on a weekday or a Saturday. Our volunteers teach us so much. I learned more things almost every squash
gets more difficult as we get better because you constantly learn new
stuff. It’s hard... Our staff are wonderful people. And you know what,
they have a lot of patience because I would not have been able to do this
job. I believe that the
staff likes healthy snacks because the other snacks are nothing but
sugar. Little do they know that the
healthy snacks are sometimes nasty. The only snack
I like was the carrots and pretzels.
I love them, though… This year we are going on the Urban
Individuals. I hope to win since
I’m going to be playing Under 17 this year for the first time
[Editor’s note: by now, you all know that Tempest is the U17 National
Champion!] The kids Under 15 was as breeze, I don’t know about Under
17. I say all of this to say that though
we had bad times and good ties, we still get a lot
of work done. That’s how I saw my experience in SquashSmarts during
the year 2004-2005.
7TH GRADE -DREW
is something that keeps my heart pumping and keeps me in shape. I
didn’t like doing the court sprints because it tires me out…
Academics are to improve your educational skills like math or
reading… Special Events are like an award for me because of all my
hard work… Teammates support me by cheering me on during a match,
whether I win or lose the match… Volunteers are there to help you out
with problems you might have… The staff is there to keep everything
in order and to teach you drills and special shots. You might also have to
do extra work of court sprints while you’re doing work or out of
breath… Snacks are to keep you healthy and to give you the energy you
need… Tournaments are places where you go to meet new or old
competition. It’s also like a
quiz to test how much you improved.
Sometimes it can be hard to keep focused while under pressure of
winning the last point for your team… If there were someone who was going to join
squash I’d tell them it’s good for your health. It’s fun exercise. You can meet new people,
see different sights and experience wins and losses.
8TH GRADE - MARTHA
has been an amazing experience for me because I have been to Maryland and
Boston. On Friday we are going to
Groton, MA. I’m starting to
win my squash matches and also getting along with my teammates…
Squash has been the 1st sport I have enjoyed playing besides football,
basketball, hockey, soccer, and swimming.
Squash is almost better than those sports that I enjoy. In squash, I travel often. The other sports I played I didn’t
travel as much as in squash… My teammates are nice sometimes. The trainers and my teacher, Ms. Julie,
are very nice. My special thanks are
to the following: Ms. Molly, David,
Steve, Tony and Ms. Julie. At the
Urban Individual Nationals, I am going to try to bring home a trophy. [editior’s note: Curtis won the consolation plate trophy a
three-game sweep in the finals!] I wish my teammates the best of luck on
7TH GRADE - DREW
has been a learning experience for me and my teammates. Even though this
was my first year at SquashSmarts, I learned many things from SquashSmarts. SquashSmarts is a program that is full of good
personalities. It has
been a blessing to work with them for a year. It has been an honor and a pleasure to
work with Ms. Julie, Steve, David and Ms. Molly, etc… Academics is the main idea of SquashSmarts. I really thanks
the volunteers in SquashSmarts for all their help they give when I needed
it. For example, my homeworks, searching stuff on the internet and my class
works… The fun things I enjoyed doing in SquashSmarts is special
events. I also learned so many
things from it, for example, our trip to Maryland, Lawrenceville, Boston
and Haverford College, etc. It was so exciting to meet so many children and
adults, getting to know them and shaking hands with them. It was hard fro some of my teammates but
not for me… My teammates and I had so much fun on our trips, for
example, practicing, cheering on a teammate and doing community service.
9TH GRADE - PARKWAY GAMMA
have been in the SquashSmarts program for 3 years. For the past three years SquashSmarts has
helped me both physically and academically.
The staff and tutors have been helping academically by giving me
help with school projects and homework.
getting the help that I needed I have done 10 times better in school by
getting the honor roll on my last two report cards... They have helped me physically by helping
me improve my footwork to get to the ball quicker. By learning better footwork, I have
improved in the other sports I like such as Basketball… This past
year at SquashSmarts has been fun and exciting because of the many things
we have done. We went to
Massachusetts for the Urban Team Nationals.
At this tournament 5 people on each team play against different
teams such as StreetSquash, City Squash and SquashBusters. At least 3 people on one team have to win
their individual matches in order for the team to advance onto the next
level. Both years that I went to the
team nationals I had a spectacular time because I met new people and played
a lot of fun games… Overall this year was my best year because we
have more teammates, volunteers and special events. We also have more time for squash. I hope that all my years at SquashSmarts
continue to be like this year.
7TH GRADE - DREW SCHOOL
This year is my first year
and it is awesome. I like the fact
that we get one on one help in the classroom. When I come in to the squash classroom all I have to
do is sit and pull out my homework and there is someone asking me if I need
help. I also like that we
have computers to work on because the one at my house does not always
work… When you took us to Boston for the Tournament it was cool. I
liked it when we got to meet other teams and their coaches. I also liked it when I beat them. One thing I did not like is the
breakfast. I would like bacon, egg
and cheese for breakfast… On the squash courts I think I am the best
so you should give me more private lessons.
If you give me more private lessons then I can win the next
tournament. One thing that I would
like to change is our hours. If we
have more hours then we will get better faster.
7TH GRADE - MCMICHAEL
My time here at
SquashSmarts has been nice, and squash is a good sport for me. The people are really nice to me, and
I’m nice to them. I really
like trips that we go on, like the Boston trip. There we discovered the “Midnight
Runners.” The one thing I hate about squashSmarts
is that I get accused for acting silly when it’s not me acting
silly….I really like the matches I play in because they really are
good match ups… I always learned fundamentals from all the other
squash teams. I like SquashSmarts
and the people there like Dok, Julie and Steve
and the tutors. I planted a garden
with Ms. Julie and it is nice. I
went to the Sixers’ game and I got floor
seats and I was seated in the MVP box and that’s why I like
7TH GRADE - DREW SCHOOL
This year at SquashSmarts
made me happy, sad, mad and upset, but through everything, I liked
it… I like Lauren the volunteer because she helped me no matter what
my problems were. I liked Ms. Julie
because she made me feel happy when I was sad or mad or hurt. She made me feel more
happy when I was already happy!
She is a person who I would want to be around all the time. That is why I like Ms. Julie… When
we went on tournaments, they were not fun because I kept getting sick and
was not able to play my matches. If
I could go to a tournament and not get sick and be able to play my matches
I would probably treat people much better. (editor’s note: Brittany survived the Urban Individuals
without getting sick and thrived by winning 2 matches…she was also
very kind and supportive of her teammates!!!)….If somebody asked me
what I thought about SquashSmarts I would say “SquashSmarts has its
ups and downs. For many people
squash is better. For others, Academics are better. I like academics better but you might
like squash better.”
7TH GRADE - DREW
though this is my first year I loved most things in SquashSmarts except for
the snacks. Squash is the best
aspect of in this program. I learned
a lot about squash like what is squash.
How do you play it? Where do
you play it? And much more. The next
best thing is the special e vents we had likej
the Maryland Navy tournament and Boston SquashBuster
Tournament National teams. I slightly don’t like academics, but like
Ms. Julie. The volunteers and teammates are fabulous. I got along with most of the people. All the volunteers help me with boasts
and drives. The staff helped me
train and be a better person. I love
playing squash and like doing boasts.
I ‘like’ academics and reading books. The special events themselves were fine,
but having pillow fights, talking and eating together with my friends was more fun. I don’t like snacks because most of
the time I don’t get what I want.
Although sometimes when I get yogurt I love it!...
I would encourage anyone to join SquashSmarts because it’s a great
opportunity to meet new people and places.
6TH GRADE - MCMICHAEL
My year at SquashSmarts
was fun and exciting for me. We
practiced and played our best at what we had been doing and I thank you for
all of your help. You and the staff
are helpful at what you are doing… You can never hate someone if they
don’t hate you. You
taught us how to play and we are happy to be playing squash because some of
us like squash and some of us don’t like squash… Some people
have difficulties because some people get angry if they get it wrong. I will keep my temper and be respectful
to one another and be patient. I
will shake hands after all 3 games.
I will not throw my racquet at the wall or throw it at someone. I will keep on trying to win my matches
and do what is right not wrong. I
will listen to the coaches and what they say… The thing I would tell
people that are interested in joining the program is that there is a lot of things you will have to do to fit in with
this program, like caring, playing hard, and teamwork. If you don’t
like to do those things, I suggest you don’t try out
because it is going to be a waste of your time.
7TH GRADE - DREW
Squash has been a learning
experience. It’s a great way to exercise. For example I learned the
basics of squash… Academics is sort of fun, but we always have tot
type, read and write. After a while
it’s not that bad… Special events we went to West Philly High
and painted. I thought it was fun because I like to paint… Teammates
I think they support me a little bit when I win… The staff is David,
Ms. Julie and Steve. They started
SquashSmarts… The best snacks are apples and stuff because
they’re good for you.
8TH GRADE - MARTHA WASHINGTON SCHOOL
This year at SquashSmarts
my teammates and I were doing much more than last year. I like the squash and the
volunteers. This year at
SquashSmarts we got a lot of new students.
The new students were way better than I thought. This year at SquashSmarts was better than
I thought it would be. This year I
got to go to more tournaments than usual.
It was very fun. The
tournaments that I went to this year at SquashSmarts were the U.S. Junior
Open and U.S. Navy and the U.S. Future Stars. This year I got to meet more
of new students and new volunteers.
What I like the most about his year is the tournament that I went
to. The tournaments I went to this
year were hard. I played some of the
top players in the country… The thing I didn’t like this year
was the running. I didn’t like
the running because we ran too much and it made everyone mad. That’s why I didn’t like
it. I changed more this year because
last year I was number three on the team. This year I was number one, but
I’m number two now. I changed
in academics… If I could change anything about SquashSmarts it would
be some of the volunteers because some of the volunteers are very ignorant.
For example, if you call them for help, some of them would just ignore you
and go to a different person and help them instead of helping you... If
someone asked me to join the SquashSmarts team, I would say it would be
great to join SquashSmarts because it would help you in school with your
class work and you would be learning a new sport to play.
9TH GRADE - PARKWAY HIGH
Over the past years that I
have been in SquashSmarts I have learned physical and academics things from
squash. The things I learned from
here is the lesson people go through everyday...
The most thing I learned is how to maintain my
attitude during and after a match. I
say that because when we all went to the team nationals I lost a match and
didn’t get mad or upset that I lost the match or game as long as I
try my best and play hard... The thing I would change in this program is
the time on the weekend. I say that
because I am a person who does not like to wake up at 8:45 or 9:15 am on a
Saturday. I would much prefer 10:00 or 11:00 am.
8TH GRADE - MCMICHAEL
My 3rd year at
SquashSmarts has been an interesting one. From November to June has been an
experience I’ll never forget. In November we recruited new teammates
who at first seemed to be treated differently. But we realized there was know difference…
In December a lot of new players had their first squash match which went
pretty well. We also went to the
Navy Future Stars Tournament. Also
this year we celebrated the grand opening of our classroom with a little
party. The best part of this year was going to Boston, MA to Urban Team
Nationals. My team was the only team
who won 5 games straight… My least favorite month was when nutrition
month came in May. In May we had a
lot of fruits and vegetables for snacks. Some of the snacks I didn’t
eat, like the carrots… My squash game improved like crazy. My game has gotten so good now I have
time to develop my trick shot. I
would change the color of the classroom.
I would make it red, white and blue.
I would tell people who want to join to make sure they are ready to
stop everything else and then join. but if we are supposed to be equal, they should have had
to explain themselves to us. On a
scale of 1-10 I would give this year an 8.
7TH GRADE - MCMICHAEL
My experience this year was great. I
learned a lot of things over this last semester. I learned how to hit the
ball and where it is supposed to go.
Even when I have a bad day I love knowing that I can come to
SquashSmarts… The Academics were great too (well, not like
squash.) I learned how to use the
keys and type up all the things I want… But what I really like better
than squash and academics was going to the tournaments. I love traveling
especially to Boston, Massachusetts.
I loved that experience. I
want to go again. I can’t wait
until next week. .. Now the staff (well, helpers) were cool too. David, Ms. Julie and Steve were the most
helpful. I like working with them
very, very much… Now for camp I don’t know if I’m
interested in that. I want to be
lazy this summer... If I could change anything about squash it would be the
snacks. I myself don’t like
eating bagels and carrots and oranges.
Now they need to serve more watermelon and strawberries, but beside
that I like everything else.
7TH GRADE - MCMICHAEL
SquashSmarts is a very
good place to go and play squash and have fun. I’ve learned many new
things since November when I first started squash. In squash I also learned how to serve the
ball, hit drops shots, boast, and a whole lot of
other things. Every time I come to squash I feel like I just found a sport
that I am good at. I think that I
did make a lot of achievements.
Squash has been a very fun experience to me. When I first joined I was very happy that
I was one of the people who were chosen to be on the team because I was
trying to get in SquashSmarts ever since the 5th grade. It was such a relief to know that me,
Crystal Brown, was about to be a part of a real squash team. I also look forward to playing squash
again next year… Academics is a very cool
place to go and be a part of because in that part of the program you get to
learn new things. Like for the past months that I’ve been in squash
and also being a part of academics, I got better at a lot of different
things like spelling, typing, definitions and a lot more. But there’re also rules in
academics that you have to follow.
Like no eating, don’t speak loudly, stay in your seat, so
it’s like you’re in school in a classroom at school. In this class you have to treat others the way you
want to be treated with kindness and respect… Trips are
very fun to go on with SquashSmarts.
They keep you busy, focus and it gives you something to do. It keeps you up and ready to move, I find
that fun. Sometimes I get into
little arguments with people in squash because I catch an attitude with
them when they say or do something rude to me. Otherwise, I am a nice person. I show respect for others and myself, and
I stay on my chill mode. I have fun and enjoy myself.