Since May of 2006, Academics in Motion has been bridging the gap between the two, helping to make the dreams of sports superstardom, a very real possibility in the Bronx.
This week, the not-for-profit organization that uses athletics as a conduit to greater personal and academic performance for children in lower socio-economic neighborhoods will be honoring students from Columbus and Kennedy high schools for scoring on the court and in the classroom.
Former NBA player Lenny Elmore, from the Indiana Pacers will join AIM founders, Terry Quinn and Jim Presbrey, to host the First Annual Awards Dinner to celebrate and recognize the success of the organization’s young student athletes at a dinner on Thursday, May 29, inside Sheepshead Bay High School.
“This is the culmination of a lot of work to help students realize their potential,” said Quinn. “We’re going to be recognizing students, boys and girls, for the highest grade point average and best attendance, while also honoring the most improved students. We want to reward them for good work.”
AIM, through the PSAL, was first brought into the local schools after it became apparent that basketball teams were losing a majority of their players due to academic ineligibility just around the time of playoffs. Project Rebound was born.
Awarded a five-year contract to work at PSAL schools, AIM’s Project Rebound utilizes an academic coach who remains at the school throughout the year, offering students a number of services.
Through tutoring sessions, SAT prep courses, regular information sessions on various NCAA school requirements, and other methods of guidance, coaches provide the tools students need to reach the next level.
“We’re not here to step on their dreams,” said Quinn, “but it is one thing to graduate high school; it’s a completely different thing to go to college.”
For Kennedy, which requires students to get a 70% or better to be eligible to play, coaches must work with a larger group of kids due to a no-cut policy followed in the basketball program.
“We’ve still had a major impact,” said Quinn. “They have a bigger program. It means dividing our attention to more students, but Kennedy students continue to excel; several of them have received scholarships for college.”
For Columbus, its standards are even higher, requiring a 75% average for students to be allowed to play.
“We think it’s great,” said Quinn. “We encourage it. They took the bar and raised it even higher.”
At one time, all five-varsity starters on Columbus’ boys’ varsity team became ineligible. Coach Robert Perez credits Project Rebound with helping all his students pass and compete.
“This program really helped them all achieve new levels in academics,” he said.
Added Quinn: “We’re providing students with a road map for the future.”