NEW YORK, March 5, 2013 — On March 7th, lacrosse-playing students from Harlem will be traveling to University of Virginia with the Harlem Lacrosse & Leadership (HLL) program for a two day, horizon-broadening on-campus stay. The thirty middle school students hail from P.S. / M.S. 149 – The Sojourner Truth School, whose new team is coached by Wyatt Melzer, a 2012 graduate of The University of Virginia and a member of the school’s 2011 National Championship-winning team. HLL students will be meeting with university academic advisors, on-campus cultural affinity groups and graduate school admissions counselors during their time at UVA. On Saturday, the HLL boys will also be playing during halftime of the matchup between top-ranked UVA and Cornell.
“The trip will be fun and educational, on both sides, to share with them the experience of being a college student-athlete,” said Hall of Fame UVA Head Lacrosse Coach Dom Starsia, who worked with Melzer extensively to plan activities to motivate the boys during their two day stay. “If we can inspire one young man to elevate his goals in the classroom and on the lacrosse field, this trip will be considered a worthwhile one for everyone involved.”
“Students will be immersed in the culture and history of Charlottesville,” explained Melzer, whose players are traveling nearly seven hours by bus from New York City. “HLL coaches constantly emphasize that the most-celebrated level of lacrosse is played at the college level and at schools like UVA. For many of our students who have dreams of becoming the first in their families to attend a four-year university and graduate school, seeing schools like this up close convinces them that they can make it.”
Trip highlights will include visiting the grounds of University of Virginia Law School, a behind the scenes tour of the video production suite and academic facilities at John Paul Jones Arena, an all-access pass to the lacrosse team’s training grounds and locker-rooms, and lunch on the UVA Rotunda. The boys will also spend an afternoon at Monticello thanks in part to the Mitford Angel Fund, which provides free and reduced tours and lunches for students visiting the Jefferson estate from under-served communities like Harlem. “At The Sojourner Truth School, we encourage students to set goals for themselves and to believe in possibilities for themselves,” said its principal, Barbara Darrigo. “Through HLL, students are learning that hard work and discipline in the classroom bring many rewards. The excitement surrounding this trip, which will bring material from their history classes to life, is tangible.”