Success Academy Charter Schools debut rowing program for students at Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Success Academy students enjoyed rowing at Flushing Meadows Corona Park last week.
Courtesy of Success Academy

The Success Academy Charter Schools, the largest public charter school network in New York City, launched their rowing season with a splash at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Dozens of middle and high school students from the network took part in the Row New York event at the iconic park on Wednesday, May 22nd. Despite challenging windy conditions, the day was a resounding success. For many students, this was their first time transitioning from indoor practice to rowing in open water, and for some, it was their very first experience on the water at all.

“Today was tough, but it was fun. I learned how the oars work, why the ergs help us, and why we practice first and don’t just go straight onto the boat,” said seventh-grader Iris Moreno. “Surprisingly, I’m excited to go again.”

The rowing coaches, including Cinthya Palomino, a community and adaptive assistant coach at Row New York, were pumped for the excited students. “It was so great to get the scholars on the water for the first time. We learned the importance of rowing together, especially on a windy day like today,” said Palomino. “When you work as a team and row together, you can get where you need to go.”

Students are all smiles on the water. Courtesy of the Success Academy

Success Academy began offering rowing lessons to middle and high schoolers this school year. Rowing, also known as crew, is well-known across American schools and colleges. School officials say the program was created to set up the students for early success. 

“Although it may be a new experience, rowing is a sport that one can join later in their academic journey and still excel,” said  Peter Dicce, Success Academy’s athletic director.  “Rowing teaches our scholars precision, discipline, and how to work as a team. We are so proud to offer our scholars this unique opportunity. Watching them learn a new skill is exceptionally rewarding.” 

Before any of the students began rowing on the water, they were required to take a swimming test or enroll in swimming lessons. Currently, over 30 students are participating in the school’s ever-growing rowing program. The team plans to get back on the water as soon as next week, weather permitting. 

Success Academy is the largest public charter school network in NYC, with 57 schools across Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. The majority of the students are BIPOC and come from low-income households in the city. 

Founded in 2002, Row New York works with students across the five boroughs to teach them the discipline of competitive rowing and instill teamwork principles inside and outside of the classroom. The program offers an array of programming for middle and high schoolers, veterans, and other local groups.