On Sunday, May 22, San Miguel Academy rowers qualified for the National Youth Championship with a solid first-place finish in the U15 4x division at the USRowing Northeast Youth Championships in Lowell, Massachusetts. The San Miguel Academy team finished sixteen seconds ahead of the second-place finisher and just under a full minute ahead of the third-place boat. The Northeast division is one of the most competitive in the country. Two San Miguel Academy doubles teams competed in the U17 division and finished in 8th and 9th place, an impressive feat for two 14-year-old and two 12-year-old rowers!
In the past year, the San Miguel Rowing Program has flourished and found its competitive edge thanks to the support and attention of Arshay Cooper. Through his foundation, the A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund, San Miguel Rowing has been given the opportunity to compete in an otherwise cost-prohibitive sport. A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund, under the umbrella of the George Pocock Rowing Foundation, supports the work of Arshay Cooper in expanding the sport of rowing into under-resourced communities.
San Miguel Rowing was established in 2010 with a small group of boys in borrowed equipment and hand-me-down boats. None of them were especially comfortable around water but they embraced the challenge. Over the years, the program has grown to over 40 rowers, boys and girls, who train year-round on Ergometers and, weather permitting, on the Hudson River. San Miguel Rowing is now among the largest middle school rowing programs in the country, as well as the largest minority rowing program. Despite these notable distinctions, the boys and girls of San Miguel rowing would not be able to afford the sport and the financial challenges of competition were it not made accessible to them by the A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund and private donors. The quad team rows in a boat donated by Patrick Donnelly in memory of his brother Thomas and two doubles teams are in Hudson-class boats donated by A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund.
In July 2021, San Miguel Rowing competed in its first race, the Independence Day Regatta in Philadelphia. Less than 12 months later, the team is heading to the USRowing Youth National Championships, which will take place next month in Sarasota, Florida.
San Miguel Program is able to offer life-changing opportunities such as the rowing program because of the generosity of donors, foundations, and organizations. We are grateful for the support and belief in our mission to break the cycle of poverty through education.