It is particularly gratifying to reflect on the achievements of this year’s basketball team as we approach Stevenson’s Sixth Annual Spring Gala. Stevenson’s annual Spring Galas support Stevenson’s mission to take students at the level of skills and emotional development they have when the first arrive, and help them expand their skills and gain maturity that will lead them towards a fulfilling future. Stevenson’s basketball team displayed the kinds of gains that students make at Stevenson, and the value of supporting Stevenson.
This year’s basketball team was coached by Sports Director Nick Alexander and Dean Ric Couchman. As with any classroom teacher at Stevenson, the coaches identified themselves as teachers with respect to helping students improve their skills, and as counselors with respect to helping students learn to manage their emotions. In keeping with Stevenson’s unique program which celebrates every student, there were no try-outs for the basketball team. Instead, any student who wanted to play was invited onto the team. The coaches also recruited additional team members by identifying students who would benefit from the program. The team members grew individually and coalesced as a group, supporting each other and gaining confidence. Other students and teachers became inspired by the successes of the team, which made it to the finals of the Metro League. When the team was leaving school on the way to the finals, students and teachers spontaneously came out of their classrooms and lined the hallways and stairs, cheering for their team.
The ten-member team included Nathaniel Gayle, Max Friedman, Chris Schroeder, Paylen Saunders, Jake Beck, Lukash Shehigelski, Shelton Rice, Jonathan Romano, Solomon Cravens, and Kelvin Duarte. The team captain, senior Nathaniel Gayle, said the most important lesson he learned from basketball this year was remaining focused during a game and not letting his emotions throw him off. Another senior, co-captain Max Friedman, related that his competitive nature in sports activities sometimes led him to become upset and angry during a game. He is grateful to Nick, Ric and his fellow team members for helping him learn to keep his poise during games.
The final game was against the undefeated Winston Prep. Again, the coaches applied Stevenson’s mission by giving play time to every member of the team. Senior Chris Schroeder related how moved he and the other senior players were by the younger players, who, led by Jonathan Romano, chanted, “Seniors, Seniors,” and played their hearts out in tribute. Although the team did not win the final, it gave Winston a strong challenge and displayed the gains each team member made during the season. The next day, at the Stevenson Friday Community Meeting, students and staff again cheered the team members and thanked them for making all of us in the Stevenson community proud.
All of us in the Stevenson Community extend our heartfelt gratitude to those who give their support to Stevenson.
The race Chris Schroeder most wants to win is the race against his best time. Chris competes hard in every event. As long as his times improve and he's contributing to his track team's success, he is satisfied. The junior recorded a gold in the 800m, silver in the 400m and bronze in the 1600m for Stevenson at the Metro League Track Championship in Astoria Park last semester.
This summer Chris continued to challenge himself, as he completed his first two triathlons in Queens and Staten Island. Chris hopes to continue running in college though he hasn’t chosen the college he would like to attend.
“He will have a future running in college when more get to see the special qualities that make up this young student athlete,” declared one of his coaches, Nick Alexander. "He is able to maintain strong focused despite any distractions. I have never heard Chris complain during a workout and he is constantly challenging himself.”“Chris is every coach’s dream,” said head coach, Ric Couchman. “He is highly disciplined; takes in the training concepts and applies them in every training session and event. Actually the word ‘embrace’ better describes Chris's approach to training under his coaches' guidance, no matter the situation”.
Chris demonstrated that he was able to focus on his schoolwork while concentrating on his athletic training. This past year, even while competing he earned a spot on the Honor Roll.
Chris acknowledges the impact Stevenson Track Head Coach, Ric Couchman, has made on his performance. "He has always been there, beginning from the first day of practice, even before school began. He runs with us, even on the hottest days. You have to be inspired by that".Ric, a demanding coach who ran in his youth and still runs competitively today, has pushed the right buttons in order for Chris to continue lowering his times in the upcoming season.