The George Washington squash team continued its community-service efforts on Monday afternoon by welcoming the youth squash group SquashWise to the Lerner Health & Wellness Center for an afternoon of instruction and competition.
SquashWise is a program based in Baltimore, Md., that combines academics and squash. Abby Markoe, a GW squash alumnae who was a member of the very first varsity squash team at the university is the founder of the organization.
"We work primarily with Baltimore middle and high school kids," said Markoe. "They have never played squash prior to joining the program and they are expected to stay all the way through 12th grade. We do tutoring, mentoring, squash, fitness and college prep."
A group of 15 students enjoyed individual instruction from GW Squash players Jackie Shea, Anna Gabriela Porras, Chris Bell, Maya Nair and Becca Imrich and coaches Wendy Lawrence and Adam Pistel, before taking to the courts for a series of scrimmages. The students were all smiles as they competed on the Matthew J. Grossman Squash Courts, where the Colonials play their home matches.
"Most of these kids will be first-generation college students so today's trip is both educational and recreational," Markoe identified. "We are able to talk about opportunities and what it takes to get into college."
As a member of GW's first varsity squash team, Markoe has been following the Colonials' progress from a distance.
"They have gotten much stronger as a team since I first started," said Makoe. "I remember when we started the team we didn't have enough players so I asked my roommate, who had never picked up a racquet before, to join the team. And she did! And she played No. 9 all season! So its good to see the team doesn't have to resort to that anymore. My dream is to see one of these kids eventually play for GW."