Concord Carlisle Lacrosse Program Visits Harlem

Note:  This article is adapted from an article written by C-C parent Renee Barrett, which appeared in the Concord Journal.

The Concord Carlisle grade 8A boys’ lacrosse team traveled to New York City on Friday, March 25th to forge friendships on and off the lacrosse field with the boys of the FDA Middle School.  FDA’s middle school team is coached by CCHS alumnus Simon Cataldo, who also teaches mathematics at the school through the Teach for America program. Simon’s program, which he runs alongside Rob Clark (fellow CCHS alumnus), Jake Klein, Sam Klein, Paul DiCarlo, and Tom Dugan, is the only public middle school lacrosse team in Harlem, and last year produced a 13-5 record playing against private schools from NYC, New Jersey, and Maryland, despite the team having only 10 months of lacrosse experience.

Frederick Douglass Academy is a co-ed, public middle school and high school for grades 6– 12 located in West Harlem and serves 1,600 students in one of the most disadvantaged areas of New York City. Due to a lack of public funding, lacrosse is the first and only team sport available to over 600 students in FDA’s middle school. The team practices in a paved parking lot and travels by subway, bus and foot for games.

In the fall of 2010, Simon reached out to Concord-Carlise Youth Lacrosse President Charles Gildehaus and they worked together to organize an event in which Concord hosted the FDA lacrosse team. The FDA boys traveled to Concord for a leadership-focused weekend of wilderness activities and Lacrosse. Despite freezing temperatures and driving rain, their night game under the lights on the CCHS turf field was a huge success and the kids on both sides had a blast.

At FDA, the C-C boys were given a tour of the FDA school by principal Dr. Gregory Hodge, attended class with their buddies, and then had lunch together in the library. When school was finished, both teams made their way to Randall’s Island for a friendly lacrosse scrimmage.   Immediately after the game, all boys celebrated together over dinner in NYC.

One of Concord’s players summed up the trip this way: “Although the FDA players go to a school that looks and feels a lot different from what we have here in Concord, they are boys just like the rest of us.” Clearly the power of lacrosse (and sports in general) to enlighten its participants and create opportunity was felt by all.

Note: Following the FDA visit to Concord last fall, several of our CC players raised

their hands to organize an equipment drive for the FDA program, which is supported through private donations.