My exclamation joined the chorus of others before the reader could finish his name. Terrance Rose walked across the stage withhis trademark grin and swagger, recognizable to anyone who knowshim, to receive his diploma. This past August 27th, he joined 83 peers at the inaugural commencement of Stella and Charles Guttman CommunityCollege. Terrance finished his associate’s degree with a cumulativeGPA of 3.3 and a commitment to academic, athletic and personal excellence. His evolution and growth is a glowing example of what we hope will happen for all our StreetSquash students.

Terrance began his career at StreetSquash as a thoroughly average seventh-grader, hovering in the mid-to-low C range on his report cards. Though he often found himself being reprimanded for, in his words, “goofing-off,” it was clear that he had the ability to excel if he could focus his seemingly inexhaustible energy. The one place where the glimmer of his real commitment came through was on the squash court. He rose quickly through the ranks to the top of his class and by ninth-grade he was playing at the varsity level. His love for the game kept him committed to the program and he continued showing up every day he could, despite continuing to struggle in the academic program.

By the end of Terrance’s tenth-grade year, the idea of playing college squash began to inform his chosen trajectory. With a newfound fervor, he applied himself to his schoolwork and training for this next step. However, it became evident that it was a classic case of too little, too late; his dream to go on to a college, and play squash there, looked unrealistic given his mediocre high school grades. Terrance, the consummate optimist, moved to plan B. Working with the College Access and Success team, he decided to attend a community college for two years, work at StreetSquash, continue training, and then transfer to a college where he could play.

For two years, we watched as Terrance delicately balanced his academic requirements with his commitment to coaching and helping out at StreetSquash. He regularly checked in with the College Access and Success team, making sure his trajectory remained true to his dream. He researched and contacted schools that fell into his range and took all the necessary steps to complete his goals.

On Saturday morning, June 7th, I woke up early and noticed a voicemail on my phone from Terrance and decided to check it. “LEEETTTT’SSS GOOOOOO!” began the message. “T-Rose here telling you that I GOT IN!” I didn’t need to hear anything else. Terrance had already been accepted to some excellent four-year schools but he had set his sights on Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Displaying an incredible amount of tenacity and patience, he had secured his shot. Terrance will join his fellow Statesmen in January to begin his collegiate squash career and continue his academic dream. We could not be more proud, and cannot wait to see all that he will continue to achieve in the future.