The San Miguel Rowing program creates access to educational paths that support the mission of San Miguel Program: to break the cycle of poverty through education. It has proven to be significantly beneficial to obtaining continuing educational opportunities for our students in both high school and college. In March of 2022, two 8th graders were accepted to Northfield Mount Hermon School and each was awarded the Ashay Cooper Scholarship for Rowing, a highly selective four-year merit scholarship. Other school where San Miguel graduates have rowed or are currently rowing include: Canterbury School, Dominican College, Fairfield University, St. Benedict’s Prep, Suffield Academy, SUNY Maritime College, and Vermont Academy.

The rowing program was established in 2010 with a small group of boys in borrowed equipment and hand-me-down boats. Over the years, the program has grown to over 40 boys and girls– more than half the school–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 through foundation grants and private donors.   

In May of 2022, the San Miguel Rowing quad team qualified for the USRowing Youth National Championships, finishing first in the U15 division at the Northeast Championships, one of the most competitive divisions in the country. At the National Championships in Sarasota, Florida in June, the team finished 11th overall. 

Having been a non-competitive program for many years, San Miguel Rowing started racing in 2021 thanks to the support and encouragement of Arshay Cooper and his foundation, the A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund. In May of 2022, the San Miguel Rowing quad team qualified for the USRowing Youth National Championships, finishing first in the U15 division at the Northeast Championships, one of the most competitive divisions in the country. At the National Championships in Sarasota, Florida in June, the team finished 11th overall. 

 

Special thanks to rower and author Arshay Cooper for his support of rowing programs such as San Miguel Rowing which serve underrepresented communities. Growing up on Chicago’s West Side in the 1990s, Arshay escaped the violence in his neighborhood through rowing.  His memoir, A Most Beautiful Thing, chronicles his experience rowing crew with teammates from rival neighborhoods and gangs on the first all-Black high school rowing team in the United States. 

We are deeply grateful to Arshay Cooper and A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund for providing San Miguel Academy with two new Hudson doubles and a fleet of ergometers for year-round dry land training.

San Miguel Rowing in the News

San Miguel Academy Rowers Honored at Giants Game
NY Giants Honor San Miguel Rowing Program with $25k Check and Local Latino Achievement Award
New York Giants Present $25,000 Check to San Miguel

Hudson Valley Press article
by Jennifer Warren

Arshay Cooper Rowing Scholarship
Rowing sets Newburgh Teens on new paths as they enter high school
Newburgh Middle School Rowing Program Sets Students Up For A Brighter Future
2022 USRowing Youth National Championships: San Miguel Academy

In October 2021, we welcomed Arshay Cooper to Newburgh and our boat launch in Cornwall, NY to dedicate two new Hudson doubles, made possible by Arshay and the A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund. He spoke with enthusiasm to students about the benefits of rowing. He described the formative impact of the sport on his life trajectory. As team captain, Arshay was an integral part of the band of brothers they became. His story was featured in the 2020 documentary, A Most Beautiful Thing, narrated by Common. The film was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and Critics’ Choice Award, among other accolades. In the documentary, as in his memoir, and when speaking to our students, Arshay’s message about the advantages of rowing is clear: it promotes team-building, physical fitness, and social-emotional development.   Watch a video of the dedication on Vimeo.

In association with the George Pocock Rowing Foundation, the A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund supports the work of Arshay Cooper in expanding the sport of rowing into under-resourced communities.  

San Miguel Rowing competes in regattas, including the Overpeck Fall Classic and the Head of Schuykill. After San Miguel, some of our rowers have continued with the sport through high school and college