From July 10-17, 18 high school students selected from SEA’s national network of students will spend eight days in New York City and Washington, D.C. meeting with leaders in government, journalism, education, policy, and the nonprofit sector, visiting museums and national landmarks, and playing squash as a part of the 6th annual Citizenship Tour. This year’s participants hail from 10 cities. “Meet” our amazing students below!
Access Youth Academy
San Diego, CA
Maria was born in San Diego but her family roots are from Mexico. Her mother is from a small fishing village in Guerrero and her father is from Acaupoloco. Maria has been making her family proud with her diligent work habits, achieving a 4.125 GPA and setting an excellent example for her two younger sisters. Maria joined Access Youth Academy in the 7th grade, and has utilized its resources to the fullest extent. Academically, she has improved tremendously over the years and is a very committed student. Outside of Access, Maria is in the Spanish National Honor Society, Model United Nations, and works in the media group of Robotics Club. While Maria is still figuring out where she wants to attend college and what she wants to study, her interests span from humanities to the sciences. When she’s not busy studying, Maria delves into her true passion, the world of music. Not only does she listen to all types of music, she also makes her own – writing lyrics and creating beats.
Bronx, New York
Born and raised in the Bronx, Mauricio was no stranger to adversity as a First Generation American in a low income household. He had to work especially hard at a young age to overcome the stereotypes he was born into. His parents weren’t given the opportunity to finish high school so he acted as a role model to his two younger sisters and continues to aid them in everything he never had help with. Some would call it luck and others would call it fate, but in the 6th grade, Mauricio learned of Streetsquash through a presentation at the partner school he attended. He also learned he had been chosen to participate in a test prep program by his middle school for the SHSAT. With the help of the program, Mauricio was accepted to Brooklyn Technical High School and was able to join StreetSquash after finishing the prep program in 8th grade. It took until his junior year for Mauricio to truly fall in love with the sport, during one of the most difficult times of high school. He hopes to pursue a career in physics and to keep himself engaged and involved with the politics of his community and the country as a whole.
New Haven, CT
My name is Sebastian Arango Chiquillo, and I was born in Barranquilla, Colombia. I then spent 3 years living in Venezuela, after which I came back to Colombia at the age of 10. After 10 years of living in Colombia with my family, I moved to New Haven Connecticut with my mom and my sister. My family and I came to the United States in hopes of getting a better education and a happier life. Creating a path for my younger siblings, I went to Truman School and John C Daniels Schools. In the 4th grade I joined Squash Haven. I immediately loved the sport and became fully committed to it. In addition to being a member of Squash Haven, I also play club soccer and participate in a weather balloon launch in high school. When I graduate from Connecticut College in 2023, I hope to be in a financially stable situation and continue to play squash and soccer with my friends. I also hope to continue serving my community and ensuring that other families have the opportunity to succeed.
Elizangi Araujo is a 17-year-old rising senior at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in Boston, Massachusetts. She has been a part of SquashBusters since the 7th grade. Along with reading, Eli loves to watch movies. Eli has always wanted to make a difference in her community and she knows that the Citizenship Tour will give her the tools to do so.
Israel was born on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois and went to 3 different elementary schools called Kozminski Academy (6years), Ashburn Academy (1 year), and St.Sabina Academy (3 years), and attends Gary Comer College Prep for high school. She started at MetroSquash in the 5th grade and took a break from 6th through 8th grade to pursue other interests. When she started her freshman year of high school, she returned to MetroSquash with zest for squash and a sense of agency over her academics. During these past few years of being engaged at MetroSquash, Israel has grown and made an impact by receiving the Student of the Month award and being part of the yearbook club. In 2020, she hopes to attend Xavier University in Louisiana where she will study pharmacology. Israel aspires to open her own pharmacy because she wants to be her own boss and offer a unique approach with her business. Israel believes that being a pharmacist is one of the most important jobs because medication helps people heal and overcome their illnesses.
Naima was born in Berkeley, California, but her family originated from El Dorado, Arkansas. Naima’s family wanted access to better education and job opportunities, so they decided to come to California to accomplish these dreams. Naima grew up in a single household most of her life until she got older and started seeing her dad more often. Naima later adapted to living in a household with her stepmom, brothers, and sisters. No one on either side of Naima’s family has attended four-year college. When Naima graduates in 2020, she wants to become the first to break the cycle, by attending and graduating from a four-year college and majoring in criminal justice. Naima attends school at Envision Academy of Arts and Technology in Oakland, which prepares and focuses on ensuring all students go to college. Naima discovered SquashDrive through a friend and fell in love with the sport of squash and how all the players interacted with each other. Naima enjoys how SquashDrive’s staff contribute to and care not only about the sport, but each student’s education as well. Naima is interested law, criminal justice, and spends her free time training with her track team.
Access Youth Academy
San Diego, CA
Angel is a native San Diegan, being raised by his mother who came to America from Guerroro, Mexico. Angel might be the youngest member in his family, but he is setting the bar high with his 4.0 GPA and excelling athletic abilities. He joined Access Youth Academy in the 8th grade, and has been prevailing both in the classroom and the squash court ever since. When he graduates from the Preuss School UCSD in 2021, he hopes to attend UCSD and get a degree in law. His goal is to become an immigration lawyer because he wants to give back to his family and his community who have been impacted by the current immigration system. He aspires to make the immigration process more smooth and humane. Angel is also passionate about finding a solution to homelessness, as it is a widespread social problem in the city of San Diego. Outside of Access, Angel is a star soccer player and an avid movie buff.
New Haven, CT
Jocelyn Feliciano was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. While growing up in New Haven, Jocelyn was introduced to multiple youth-related programs including TAG (Talented and Gifted), U.S. Grant, and her most impactful, Squash Haven. She began her squash journey in the 5th grade and continued her pursuit for better education at an all-girls boarding school in Simsbury, CT. At The Ethel Walker School, she led the squash team as their #1 squash player, earning “The Most Valuable Player” award for all four-years. Her love for squash and her dream for achieving a greater future is motivates her to succeed. At her school, Jocelyn was an active member in multiple affinity clubs including The Latin American Students Organization (LASO), Black Student Union (BSU) and participated in clubs such as Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K), and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). Her most active role was being Head of Community Partnerships and overseeing the entire community partnership program. She recently graduated from Ethel Walker, and is looking forward to continuing her education at Dickinson College, where she plans on playing for the Varsity Squash team and majoring in Political Science and Pre-Law.
Destiny Gabriel has been a part of SquashBusters Boston since the 7th grade. She is a rising senior at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in Boston, Massachusetts. Destiny loves reading, music, and science. When she grows up, she wants to pursue a career in microbiology. Destiny deeply appreciates the differences of those around her and she uses empathy to fuel her dream of supporting everyone, equally, through science and healthcare.
New York, NY
Leslie was born in the center of the hardworking city, Manhattan, New York. She was raised uptown in Washington Heights with her older brother and sister. Her mother enrolled Leslie and her siblings in Catholic school for elementary and middle school. In 8th grade, Leslie joined StreetSquash Harlem and grew a love for the sport and her community at the program. Despite her siblings attending Catholic high schools, Leslie attended one of the top public schools in NYC, Millennium High School. During her time there, Leslie joined the Girls Who Code and Hispanic Media clubs. Throughout high school, Leslie discovered her passion to advocate for social justice. This fall, Leslie will attend Connecticut College, where she intends to major in Government and play for the women’s squash team. With an immense amount of support and resources, Leslie is dedicated to building a life for both herself and her mother, who sacrificed much for her children and never got the chance to take advantage of the same opportunities.
My name is Daniel Islam and I am seventeen years old. I am an eleventh grader currently attending Science Leadership Academy at Beeber in Philadelphia. I used to live in a South Amercan country called Guyana where I grew up playing squash. Earlier this year, I moved to Philadelphia to finish my eleventh and twelfth grade years in school. I have been playing squash for about five years now and I loved the game ever since I started to play it. I won several tournaments in Guyana, and once in Philadelphia, I joined SquashSmarts through the recommendation of my school. In school, survey of law was one of my most interesting courses. In my old school before I came to Philadelphia I got a three term honor roll. In the future, I want to pursue business and entrepreneurship options. I am looking forward to the Citizenship Tour and the opportunity to meet with changemakers in the United States.
New Haven, CT
I was born in a small town in the capital of Guinea called Hamdallaye. After 3 years of living there with my family, my father moved to America because of his job as an Accountant for a corporation based in Guinea. When my father visited America, he realized how different the way of life is here and how many opportunities there were waiting to be grasped. After almost a year of him stationing in America, the corporation he worked for in Guinea had shut down due to governmental issues, so he chose to bring the rest of us to America. He knew that America could offer us higher education and overall a safe community for us to strive in. When we arrived in America, my father put me and my siblings into public school, while he attended college for a better degree and my mom worked as an engineer for Medtronic. Following in my older siblings footsteps, I attended East Rock Community Magnet School located in New Haven, Connecticut. In 5th grade, rather than playing soccer like all of my other siblings, I decided I wanted to try something new. This when I decided to join Squash Haven and play squash, a sport that I never knew existed. Shortly after, I fell in love with the program and the sport. Squash Haven united me with old friends and allowed me to discover places and things that I would have never discovered on my own before. When I graduate high school in 2021, I hope to attend a notable college to pursue a degree in software engineering. I strive for a good life. A life where I can support myself and my family. A life where I can travel around the world and see things I’ve never seen before. A life in debt of gratitude for Squash Haven.
Access Youth Academy
San Diego, CA
Lexa was born in Oceanside, California to two loving parents who immigrated to America from Mexico. Her father from San Luis Potosi, and her mother from Guadalajara, moved to America for more opportunities. Their goal for a prosperous future for their children is happening before their eyes as Lexa attends the Preuss School UCSD, has a 4.25 GPA, and is on the path to attending a great college. Lexa will be the first in her family to attend college, setting a solid path for her younger brother to follow. Lexa hopes to attend UC Berkeley when she graduates from high school in 2021, and is interested in studying neuroscience or forensics. She has remained committed to Access Youth Academy for the last five years, joining in 7th grade. Outside of school, Lexa is passionate about social issues that impact her life directly, like immigration rights and global warming. In her free time, Lexa enjoys exploring fashion, trends and makeup.
Alex was born and raised in the streets of the Bronx, New York and is a rising senior at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. In December 2000 Alex’s parents arrived in Texas and managed to navigate their way to New York where they began their journey in a new world. They came risking everything, even their own lives, in order for a better lifestyle for the future of their family. Alex’s parents, not speaking any English, managed to put both Alex and his brother in school and provide a roof over their heads. His parents worked countless labor jobs in order to support them. In middle school, Alex attended M.S.45 where he was introduced to CitySquash in 6th grade. He immediately fell in love with the sport and became committed to the program. Without CitySquash he would never would have been able to achieve the goal of attending boarding school and improving his squash game. CitySquash has allowed him to accomplish the goal his parents hoped to achieve through all the countless hours they worked. In 2020 he will be the first from his family to attend college and hopes to attend a notable university, pursue his interest in astronomy, and play college squash. He strives for a life where he can be financially stable and work to help immigrants develop a foundation in the U.S. without many hardships.
Ingri Morales Sanchez
Kids on Point
On June 3, 2003, in Shelbyville Kentucky, a baby girl named Ingri was born. After living there for 4 years she moved to North Charleston, Sc. She lived there with her hardworking mother and smart older brother. At the age of 7, she moved to downtown Charleston, SC with her mother and brother to start fresh. At the age of 8, her older brother joined a program named Chucktown squash. As she admires the interesting things and trips that her brother did with the program she knew she wanted to join when she was old enough. When she turned 10, she joined Chucktown squash with her brother. As the years passed she learned new information, met some amazing people, and even formed some bonds with the staff. As time passed she loved squash more and more. She would get her little brother to join the summer camp so that he would one day follow in her and her older brother footsteps. With the support of her squash team, she knows that she will be pushed and helped with her future major of medicine. With this, she wishes to help people and be able to make a difference.
Fernanda was born in the great city of Mexico City, Mexico. She moved to the United States when she was 3 years old. While growing up, Fernanda became increasingly interested in immigration policy and reform. For the most part Fernanda has grown up in Berkeley, California, and lives with her parents and two brothers. Currently, Fernanda is a rising junior at Berkeley High School. Fernanda has been a part of SquashDrive since the 7th grade and has enjoyed both the squash and academic aspects of the program. She loves the community that she has built with her teammates at SquashDrive. Fernanda is also a member of a program called Youth and Government, where she builds leadership skills and works with other youth delegations in California. Overall, Fernanda loves learning and talking about different world issues.
Keon Rosado is a rising senior at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore, MD. He is an identical twin and has an older sister. Last summer, he was given the opportunity to take part in the Overland Summers’ program: New England Hiking and Service where he had the privilege of giving food to families in need, mentoring third and fourth graders, and volunteering at a local food pantry followed by him hiking and helping to maintain certain trails associated with the Appalachian Trail. Keon believes in being a service to the communities around him. He aspires to become an automotive engineer to which he hopes to earn a lot of money to start a non-profit which gives back to those in need. Keon plans to double major in engineering and social work. The drive, ambition, and selflessness that Keon possess will assist him in transcending to major heights of success. Some of the hobbies that interests Keon is studying different types of cars and studying various policies in our government that impact society.
Idalis Wilson was born on the East side of Chicago but currently lives on the South Side. She is the older sister of Dylan – a caring and generous younger brother. She began her education at O’keefe Elementary School then went to Bret Harte for middle school and now is a 10th grader at South Shore International College Prep. When Idalis graduates from high school, she plans to attend college to study criminology. She hopes to pursue a career in forensic science. Idalis joined MetroSquash in the 7th grade after hearing about the program through her cousin. She begged her mom to sign her up and the rest is history in the making. She has continued with MetroSquash into high school because of the help she gets with homework and all of the different opportunities she’s been exposed to, like the SEA Citizenship Tour. And of course, because of squash! Her favorite tournament thus far was the Toronto Team Tournament. Although she didn’t win, it was a great experience leaving the country for the first time.