The San Miguel Rowing Program was honored by the NY Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. San Miguel rowers were invited onto the field during a timeout and presented with the “Local Latino Achievement Award.”
Ann Mara Cacase, representing the Mara Family and the Giants Organization, presented San Miguel Rowing with a check for $25,000 wearing a special ‘San Miguel’ Giants jersey. San Miguel Rowing, part of San Miguel Academy of Newburgh, is one of the largest hispanic rowing programs in the country. Last June, San Miguel Academy rowers placed 11th overall at the US Rowing National Youth Championships in Sarasota, Florida after qualifying for Nationals in May with a solid first-place finish in the U15 quad division at the USRowing Northeast Youth Championships in Lowell, Massachusetts. The Northeast is one of the most competitive divisions in the country.
San Miguel Academy of Newburgh was founded in 2006 to break the cycle of poverty through education. 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 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, and has proven to be significantly beneficial to obtaining continuing educational opportunities for San Miguel Academy students.
“It is such an honor to be nominated by the Giants for Hispanic History Month. With so many of our students having diverse cultures and coming from different backgrounds, it is such an incredible opportunity to be recognized by a great organization such as the NFL,” said Caitlin Giampaolo, a humanities teacher and rowing coach for San Miguel. “All of our rowers work extremely hard, every day, to hone their craft. The rowing programs’ motto is “hard work pays off.” All of our rowers dedicate their time and effort to our program in hopes of a better future. We appreciate this opportunity and recognition as we continue to make a name for ourselves, and build our program into a successful future.”
“The NY Giants organization has always stood for integrity and hard work. San Miguel Academy rowers are especially proud that the Giants have singled them out for Latino achievement,” said Father Mark Connell, Executive Director and rowing coach for the San Miguel Program. “Our rowers work hard 6 days a week, both in the classroom and in the boat. We are all grateful that our student-athletes have been recognized by the NY Giants and the NFL.”
“Our coaches are inspirational because every time I think about giving up, they tell me to keep going. Before I started rowing, I used to give up pretty easily. I tell myself to keep rowing and keep trying because it’s all worth it in the end,” said sixth grader Isabella Luna. “In rowing, you all have to work together and keep trying in order for the boat to move. My boat came in third in our first regatta. We were really excited. It shows that hard work pays off.”
“When I heard we were going to the Giants game to be honored, I was excited for the hard work that we did and happy for everything that my team has done,” said sixth grader Emiliano Cervantes. “As the coxswain, I motivate my team to work together and keep trying. I tell them to not give up and take more power with their strokes.”