In late April, the Marianapolis boys’ and girls’ varsity lacrosse teams partnered with Harlem Lacrosse for two days of mentoring and community service. Harlem Lacrosse describes itself as a not-for-profit organization that empowers children who are at risk for academic decline and dropout to reach their full potential, both on the field and in the classroom. It has partnered with six schools in Harlem, the Mattapan and Dorchester neighborhoods of Boston, and Baltimore. It will be launching two programs in Philadelphia this fall.
“Knowing that Harlem Lacrosse seeks to place select students they work with in secondary schools, specifically boarding schools, I connected with Joel Censer, Harlem Lacrosse's Director of Advancement, about two and a half years ago,” explained Mr. JD Rogers, Assistant Director of Admission at Marianapolis. “Joel has headed up the organization's high school placement efforts and we have met numerous times both in New York and here on campus with applicants.”
From this relationship, 25 Harlem Lacrosse students visited Marianapolis from Boston on April 25. The students had the chance to tour the school, participate in a Q&A session with the Admission Office, and practice with the girls’ and boys’ lacrosse teams.
The girls team practiced basic stick and ball handling drills. “My team was so impressed with the level of skill that the Harlem girls had that they got them into a shuttle drill and even had them shoot on goal,” explained girls’ varsity head coach Michelle Parker. She went on to say that it was great to see the Marianapolis players give some pointers to Harlem Lacrosse as they were getting ready for their first game.
The boys team also practiced catching, passing, and shooting drills. “We were able to help them by teaching them ways to shoot the ball and how to properly catch a pass,” commented Matthew Hauver ‘17, co-captain of the Marianapolis boys’ varsity lacrosse team. “When we played wall ball, I was able to talk to a few of the kids and teach them to aim for a certain spot and try and hit it every time, which would make their passes more accurate.”
Two days later, Matt and fellow Marianapolis lacrosse captains, Emily Sheridan ‘17, Emily Maguire ‘18, and Kyle Longo ‘17 donated their time and efforts in Boston by cleaning up the Young Achievers School’s grounds with Harlem Lacrosse students. In addition, they had the chance to practice and speak with the Harlem Lacrosse students about the importance of school, making right choices, eating healthy, and playing lacrosse.
Emily Maguire ‘18 had a very meaningful experience with the Harlem Lacrosse students, “After speaking and answering questions with the kids from Harlem Lacrosse, they seemed to be more intrigued about what the next steps they needed to take in order to find personal success on the field and in the classroom.” Emily will be volunteering with Harlem Lacrosse this summer.
Following the two successful days, Mr. Rogers said that Marianapolis hopes to build off these programs and “evolve the already great relationship with Harlem Lacrosse and add new and unique programming that provides experience and education to the Harlem Lacrosse children, while giving Marianapolis students further leadership opportunity.”
Ms. Eliza Halmo, Program Director at Harlem Lacrosse Boston, agrees with Mr. Rogers’ sentiments saying, “The Marianapolis partnership is valuable because it shows the students that there are different paths to success, which may differ from the ones they see in their neighborhoods, while also giving them the chance to meet and engage with high-achieving student-athletes who serve as positive role models for them. Providing these various experiences gives the students the freedom to shape their own futures.”