YONKERS, NY -- On Wednesday, May 15th STEER held its 5th annual Graduation Banquet. The evening brought together student-athletes, families, community partners, and STEER advisors from three different school districts. Within Port Chester, Yonkers, and the Bronx, STEER serves five schools: Port Chester Middle School, Port Chester High School, Palisade Preparatory School, Careers in Sports High School and Wings Academy.
The evening began with introductions of the 16 student athletes onboarded in New York this spring. From Port Chester seven new student-athletes were presented: Sebastian Alvarez, Rabel Badia, Kelly Barrera, Brayan Coyt, Nicholas Dorazio, Steven Hightower, and Camila Napoli. From Palisade Preparatory six new student-athletes were presented: Daniela Blum, Raheim Bryant, Rayshawn Bryant, Jalen Higgins, Jadin Pereyra, and Daniela Santana. From Careers in Sports three new student-athletes were presented: Yeneli Payano, Elizabeth Martinez, and Jeral Mendoza.
Following these introductions, Dr. Hector Morales-Negron, Director of Peak Mental Game recognized student athletes that have completed the online course by presenting them with certificates and medals.
The night went on to honor two members of the STEER community that have made significant contributions towards supporting the student-athletes this previous year. The Humanitarian Award was presented to Kelly LeGaye, a founding member of STEER’s Advisory Council for Empowering Girls. Throughout the past year, Mrs. LeGaye has helped develop the council’s programming efforts including coordinating an interviewing workshop in partnership with Goldman Sachs. This year’s Byron Womack Award for Excellence was awarded to Coach Sean Stahn, Palisade Preparatory’s STEER Captain. Coach Stahn has consistently gone above and beyond to support his student-athletes as well as his fellow STEER advisors at Palisade Preparatory. Coach Stahn was also recognized earlier in the evening for completing each course level of the Peak Mental Game program, taking the courses alongside the student-athletes.
At the center of the night’s highlights was STEER’s Class of 2019. This year’s class of twenty-three seniors is the largest to date for the organization. In addition, this is also the first class to include graduates from all four high schools STEER operates in: Port Chester, Palisade Preparatory, Careers in Sports, and Wings Acaedmy. The seniors were honored in traditional STEER fashion by receiving their alumni jackets.
Closing out the evening was the inaugural awarding of Byron Womack scholarships through the Byron Womack Scholarship Fund. The Byron Womack Scholarship Fund was established in honor of the legacy and life work of STEER’s late executive director, Byron Womack. The fund will serve to further support our student-athletes by providing scholarships towards their higher education pursuits and expanding programming opportunities for them during their time enrolled in the program. Six scholarships were presented to members of STEER’s graduating class. Denika Foster, an incoming student at SUNY Cortland, was awarded the Byron Womack Community Service Scholarship. Ayenaliz Velasquez, an incoming student at Ithaca College, was awarded the Byron Womack Academic Scholarship. Tyla Dupree (College of St. Rose) and Adrian Rosario Beato (Ithaca College) were both awarded the Byron Womack Leadership Scholarship. Lizandro Espinosa (Monroe College) and Luis Martinez (SUNY Mohawk Valley) were both awarded the Byron Womack Advocate Award.
Congratulations to STEER’s Class of 2019!
The New York State Council on Women and Girls will be honoring female high school athletes from across the State who are planning to participate in athletics while in college. The event, part of Governor Cuomo’s Celebration of Women in NYS, will take place when the WNBA’s New York Liberty take on the Connecticut Sun at the Times Union Center in Albany on May 19, 2019 at 2:00pm.
Student honorees will have the opportunity to participate in a reception with players and women leaders from across the State and a half-time on-court ceremony. In addition, honorees’ names, their high school, the sport they will be playing, and the college they will attending will appear on the continuous ticker in the arena throughout the game.
STEER student athlete Ayenaliz Velasquez is an honor student and a two-sport varsity athlete at Port Chester High School. She was an outstanding player on the Soccer Team and two-year co-captain of the Track and Field Team. She achieved a new personal record in her main event, the long jump, in May 2019. At 5’2” she jumped 17’2”. Not only does she plan to continue her success athletically at Ithaca College next Fall but she is excited to continue her academic studies as an Athletic Training Major. Ayenaliz is passionate about helping others and giving back to her community! She also has embraced her musical talent throughout her high school career. She plays the trumpet and is Drum Major of the Port Chester High School Marching Band. She is also a leader of the STEER for Student Athletes Program.
Congratulations Ayenaliz “Nani” Velasquez, for all your accomplishments! You have made
STEER proud in your time in the program.
On Saturday, May 11th, 2019, STEER hosted its first College Fair in partnership with the Carver Center’s teen program in Port Chester, NY. In the past, STEER has facilitated events centered around the college process but this was this was the
organization’s first time sponsoring an event of the sort. “Accessibility, in terms of location and subject matter, for our student-athletes is something we always keep in mind when developing programming,” says Susana Garcia, Assistant Student Support Administrator at STEER. ‘It’s really exciting to bring a college networking opportunity directly into one of the communities we serve.”
The college fair encouraged the STEER student-athletes to connect with representatives from schools in the tri-state area including: Monroe College, Keane University, The University of New Haven, LaGuardia Community College, Westchester Community College and SUNY Purchase. In addition to speaking with admissions representatives, local college undergraduates were present at the event to speak about their experiences as current students. Among the college volunteers present was STEER graduate, Karmen Pantoja, a current sophomore at Chapman University in California. Karmen spoke about her experiences transitioning to college life, her recent return from a semester abroad in Rome, and her current search for a summer internship in the political science field.
After our student-athletes spent time speaking to representatives and volunteers Purchase College Athletic Director, Chris Bisignano and his team of college coaches, spoke about the college admissions process, and how to avoid pitfalls when navigating the recruiting and admissions process. Bisignano and his coaches placed emphasis on the importance of academic excellence and character when it comes to recruiting. Following the Purchase team, current soccer players at Westchester Community College answered questions for our student-athletes, including what a college training schedule looks like, how they manage academic and sports, and what extracurriculars they are involved in after college.