On July 11, 18 urban squash high school students from 12 different member programs will gather in New York City to kick off the Fifth Annual Urban Squash Citizenship Tour. These civically-minded students will embark on an 8-day trip from New York City to Washington DC with a stop in Philadelphia. Along the way, the group will meet with leaders in government, public service, education, and journalism, and of course, save time for squash!
See below to “meet” some of our 2018 Tour students! To see our itinerary and learn more about the Citizenship Tour, be sure to visit our Tour webpage.
Kiara Batista was born in Cape Verde and moved to the United States at the age of 6. She recently graduated from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science and will be attending UMass Amherst as a college freshmen in the fall! She is 17 years old, almost 18. She has been a part of SquashBusters ever since her freshmen year of high school in 2014. She loves playing squash, soccer and debating.
Her dream is to become a human rights or immigration lawyer in the future. She dreams of helping out the people in her community as a lawyer. She loves learning about current issues, government and history. It is her favorite subject in school along with calculus!
Sidzel Ramirez is a rising senior at Maybeck High School in Berkeley. She is the middle child of two sisters and lives in Richmond, California. Sidzel joined SquashDrive when she was in the fifth grade and will be part of the first graduating class from the program.
During her time with SquashDrive, she has played local and national tournaments including the Howe Cup in Philadelphia. Sidzel attended Exeter Summer and is thrilled to be participating on the Citizenship Tour.
Currently, Sidzel is working diligently to begin the college search and application process. She loves any courses that involve math and science. Sidzel will be a first generation college student and hopes to study criminal justice.
Sidzel is most passionate about immigration and rights and is excited to learn about legislation and current topics regarding this issue. She loves living in the Bay Area, and spends time with her family and friends and loves to dance!
Joshua E. Morales-Zayas
Josh Morales-Zayas is a rising college freshman attending Fairleigh Dickinson University in the Fall. He was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico but moved to North Philadelphia at the age of 3, with his mom and brother. Josh first joined SquashSmarts in the sixth grade and has been part of the program ever since. SquashSmarts has helped him develop into the student-athlete he wanted to be, through many opportunities such as elite squash camps and intense academic courses year round. Josh loves sports as a whole, and he plays a little bit of everything. Baseball is the only sport that competes with squash in his heart. Josh likes “chilling” with my friends and family, he am rarely ever inside my house. As a college freshman, Josh wants to major in either economics or business as he looks forward to having a career in Commercial Real Estate. Lastly, Josh and his parents always enjoy long talks about the world that surrounds us, and how it may change; because of that he is looking forward to conversations about current events that occur especially in today’s corporate America.
Access Youth Academy
Richard Montalvo is 16 years of age and is a fellow member of Access Youth Academy – based in San Diego and affiliated with the Preuss School UCSD.
Richard has been a part of Access Youth Academy for the past four years and has had an impact on those around him on and off the court. On court, you can feel his competitiveness to do better no matter the outcome of the match. While off the court, Richard is a very passionate person who will always be open to help others succeed.
Although Richard aspires to become a future engineer, he also keeps an eye on political related matters and thus believes that with the Citizenship Tour it will help him gain more background on politics.
Shaheed Muhammad is a rising junior at Metropolitan Business Academy. Shaheed has been on the honor roll his entire sophomore year and plans on continuing his streak in the coming years. Outside of school, Shaheed enjoys exercising, painting/drawing, and listening to his favorite songs. He likes to express his creativity through journal writing and filling his bedroom walls with photos and drawings. Shaheed has been participating in Squash Haven for five ongoing years now and his favorite part is group book discussions; some of his favorite new books are “Of Mice and Men” and “The Color of Water.” Playing squash has also become a lot of fun for him, playing matches with his peers and coaches is always a good time.
Shaheed is looking forward to going to the citizenship tour because of the inspiring successful people he will be meeting. This is going to be a very informative journey and he’s hoping this trip will give him a better idea of what sort of career path he will wanna study throughout college.
Access Youth Academy
Rahel was born in a beautiful part of Ethiopia in Africa called Yirga Chefe. After 5 years of living there with her family, she moved to San Diego, California with her parents and two brothers. She and her family had come to America with dreams of a higher education and a happy life. Her parents put her in school and worked hard labor jobs to provide for her family. Following in her older brothers footsteps she attended The Preuss School UCSD. In 7th grade she joined Access Youth Academy. She grew a love for squash and AYA and became fully committed to it. Apart from Access Youth Academy, She is in the Fashion Club and also the President of her class. When she graduates in 2020 she hopes to attend a notable university to pursue a career in law and play for the squash team. She strives for a life with financial stability for herself, her family, and the disadvantaged, whilst making critical political and social changes in the world such as racial and gender inequality.
Itzell Cervantes is a rising senior at Wilbur Cross High School. She was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. She joined Squash Haven her freshmen year in high school with her two sisters who were already on the team. She is an active participant on court and in the classroom she has always been able to make a strong presence in the room. Eager and dedicated to learn, she is able to gain experiences offered at Squash Haven. In addition to Squash Haven she enjoys immersing her self into different languages and working with children. The opportunity to be on the Citizenship Tour will explore her interest in social awareness.
Leslie Flores is a rising Senior at North High School. She was born and raised in Denver, Colorado with her younger sister and older brother. Leslie has lived in Northside Denver since she was a little girl. She is really passionate about her community and her native roots.
Leslie has been a part of Impact360 since she was in 6th grade and plans on continuing her involvement with Impact360 in the future. Leslie loves to hike, travel, learn about other people’s cultures, and try new things. She is a caring, organized, and an open minded person.
When she graduates she plans to go to a four year college in Colorado or the East Coast. She wants to study International Studies with a focus on Human Rights through which she hopes to gain knowledge and information to fulfill her passion of helping people in communities around the country and the world.
Piera Miller is a rising senior who looks forward to learning more about how people are working to improve our society today. She is a member of SquashDrive and was recruited by Coach Lauren Patrizio in the 5th grade. Since then she hasn’t stopped playing squash. She has a younger brother who also plays squash and an older sister who is a great supporter. Piera strives to do well for her family and wants to give back to her parents and family members who have helped her throughout her life.
She is a dancer, singer, songwriter and a leader throughout her school. She works as a student ambassador and has been a part of her student leadership class since the sophomore year. She hopes to make a difference in the world through her sports and her musical capabilities. Piera has worked hard to be a great student, listener, learner, squash player, dancer, singer, and leader. She is eager to learn and excited to ask questions on what it truly looks like to fight for what you believe in.
Lynette Guerrero is a rising senior at Lawrence High School. She joined SquashBusters in the 6th grade when it first started in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Being one out of twelve siblings it was important that she found something that could be her own. Aside from squash, Lynette has played for her school’s field hockey team since her freshman year. After being part of her school’s National Honor Society for one year, she was recently selected to be part of their student governing board. After high school, she plans to be the first in her family to attend a four year college and be a second generation college graduate.
Kids on Point
Jerrica Manigault is a rising Junior at Allegro Charter School of Music. Jerrica was born in Claxton, Georgia. Jerrica has lived in Charleston, South Carolina for 14 years. Jerrica has one sibling, a 18 year old brother. Jerrica plays competitive squash and does community service work, as part of the Kids on Point team at the College of Charleston. She has been a part of Kids on Point for 6 years, first joining the program when she was in 5th grade. Other than squash, Jerrica enjoys to draw and she hopes to become an artist when she grows up.
Before joining Kids on Point in 5th grade, Jerrica did not have anything productive to do after school. She would usually watch hours of tv. Academically, she was not reaching her full potential. Through her commitment to Kids on Point her grades improved dramatically. Jerrica was shy when she was younger, but over time- through meeting a diverse array of people- she broke out of her shell. Kids on Point have opened many doors and opportunities for Jerrica. For example, she has been able to travel to many places such as Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Charlotte, Washington DC, and New York. She can see herself being a positive role model to the younger students at Kids on Point.
Racquet Up Detroit
Jaz Little is a seventeen year old student from Detroit, Michigan. She is a rising senior at one of the top three high schools in Detroit, Cass Technical High school. She takes her academics very seriously and her current cumulative overall GPA is a 3.85. Aside from her academics she is a very outgoing, determined, and sweet person. Failing isn’t a option for her; she has to give her all into everything she does. She loves her friends and family and will do anything for them, especially when it comes to her mom and younger brother. Jaz has been a active participant in Racquet Up since 2013 when she was recruited in the sixth grade. She describes it as being the best blessing that has ever happened in her life. Racquet Up has provided her endless opportunities and new experiences that she appreciates and loves. She’s been to places that she’d never thought of going, and is exposed to more positive environments.
Seth Madison Canales is 15 years old and has been apart of CitySquash for 6 years. He has 7 siblings, a mix of step and half sibilings. He was raised by his mother and stepfather who he considers a father. He is a rising junior at Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics.
Seth joined CitySquash in the 6th grade. Ever since he has loved the game and has learned so much. CitySquash has taught him many core values that have helped him in his past and will help him in the future. CitySquash has also helped him find what he wants to do in the future. Since he is always meeting new people and talking he found out he loves talking and interacting and so he wants to become a real estate agent. He hopes to go to college to study marketing, business, and Econ at either FSU, St. Lawrence, Alabama University, Fordham University, Trinity, or Siena.
Deon Rosado is a rising junior at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore, MD. Being the youngest of three siblings along with having an identical twin, he has his own identity. Last summer, he had the opportunity to be a part of University of Baltimore’s Philosophy Camp where he expressed his love for learning how things can affect other people and the ways he can help better the world. He believes that individuals should open up their minds to new perspectives of life. He always had the love for equine studies, architecture and fashion. With his determination, compassion and all around free spirit, Deon has dreams of double majoring in those fields of study to build a brand that is beyond his name.
Gilberto Viveros Flores
Gilberto Viveros Flores born in Puebla, Mexico but raised in St. Paul, Minnesota is 17 years old and an upcoming senior. Gilberto has been playing squash with Beyond Walls for 5 years now, he enjoys playing squash and traveling to play in tournaments. Gilberto is a pacifist and wants to see world peace. He likes to study and loves all animals making him want to become a veterinarian in the future. Gilberto likes to meet new people, travel, go to the theaters, anything about superheroes, play soccer with friends, go for a walk, and play video games.
Xitlali Zuniga-Romero is a rising senior at Westover School. She was raised in the Bronx, New York with her mother and two younger brothers. First joining the program in the 3rd grade, She has been a part of CitySquash for 8 years
She enjoys listening to music, lacrosse, swimming, and writing poetry. Because of Citysquash, Xitlali is able to aspire to many dreams and search for what’s best for her. She loves science and hopefully can become a trauma surgeon in the future.