Grammar school students excel at RC’s Write On Sports summer camp

PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIN SISK - Write On Sports students from Roselle Catholic interview New York LIberty women’s basketball player Carolyn Swords at the new Madison Square Garden.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIN SISK – Grammar school youngsters excel at Roselle Catholic’s Write on Sports summer camp. Here they are interviewing New York Liberty women’s basketball player Carolyn Swords at the new Madison Square Garden.

“Write on Sports” completed a second straight successful season at Roselle Catholic High School earlier this month.

Eight grammar school campers, residents of Roselle, Linden, Elizabeth, Hillside and North Plainfield, completed the two-week camp session, directed by Roselle Catholic graduates Joe Skrec (’84) and Erin Sisk “’06), from July 6-10 and July 13-17.

Write on Sports camp at Roselle Catholic ended on July 17 with pizza for the campers and their families. Sports-themed videos created and produced by the students were shown at the camp-ending ceremony and campers were presented with a copy of a magazine – entitled The “8” Team – that included feature stories written by the campers and many photos taken by Sisk.

“My favorite part of camp was making the video feature,” said Bailey Peters, a Hillside resident, who’ll be a sixth grader in September at St. Joseph the Carpenter School in Roselle.

“Making the video made us work together like a team and I liked that,” said 11-year-old Andrew Figueroa, who’ll be a seventh grade at St. John the Apostle in Clark in September.

“I liked working on the feature stories because you could write about anything,” said 11-year-old Amaris Jenkins, who penned a piece on kickball.

The concept of Write on Sports, as stated on its website and stressed throughout the two-week session, is to teach youth to write by teaching them to write about sports, a subject they are passionate about. The camp is tuition free.

“My favorite part of camp was the trips,” said 11-year-old Jason Houston, of Elizabeth, who’s entering the seventh grade at St. Joe’s.

Campers attended and “covered” a New Jersey Jackals baseball game at Montclair State University’s Yogi Berra Stadium on July 8. Campers asked questions during pre-game interview sessions with a trio of Jackals players and blogged about the experience when they returned to Raritan Road in Roselle.

On July 15, RC’s Write on Sports traveled via train to watch the New York Liberty play the San Antonio Stars. Following the game, Liberty communications director Vincent Novicki, who created credentials for the RC WoS campers, brought out WNBA player Carolyn Swords for a question-and-answer session with the student reporters.

Following an 84-68 Liberty victory in front of 18,617 at Madison Square Garden, the eight Write on Sports campers from Roselle Catholic – “I really liked the front-row seats we got at the Liberty game,” said St. Joe’s sixth grader Jack Dwyer-McKever.

McKever encircled the 6-foot-6 WNBA player just a few steps away from the hallowed hardwood inside MSG.

Carolyn Swords of the New York Liberty, looked the sixth, seventh and eighth-grade campers in the eye and said: “Writing well is something that will help you in whatever you do for the rest of your life.”

Swords spent 20 minutes being peppered with questions from the RC WoS campers following her first start of the season. After practically every query from a student reporter, Swords, before politely answering, sincerely said, “That’s a good question.”

“My favorite part of camp was going to the Liberty game,” said seventh grader Jonathan Houston.

“Carolyn Swords was my favorite person we met because she taught me that writing can get you anywhere in life,” said 11-year-old Dominique Geiger.

Another highlight of the camp session was guest visits by journalists and athletes.

The Write on Sports campers at Roselle Catholic were introduced to, interviewed and write stories about – Roselle Catholic graduates Tyler Roberson (’13) and Kelley Jane Carvalho (’10).

Roberson, The Star-Ledger’s statewide Player of the Year in 2013, when he helped spark the Lions to the Tournament of Champions title, will be a junior at Syracuse University in September. Carvalho, who played soccer at RC and Centenary College in Hackettstown, is one of the administrating coordinators for the New York Red Bulls training programs.

Carvalho, who fielded quite a few soccer-related questions on the World Cup-winning United States women’s national team, was joined by New York Daily News Sports Editor Bill Price. Price, a South Plainfield resident, joined the Daily News in 1998 and also writes “The Bitter Bill” blog, chronicling the New York Mets, for the newspaper’s website.

Roberson was joined by Jerry Carino, college basketball writer for Gannett New Jersey. Carino chronicled his visit to Write on Sports Camp at Roselle Catholic on his “Hoops Haven” blog
After his visit to a second-floor computer lab at RC, Carino – who covered Karl Anthony Towns’ number one selection in the NBA Draft last month – tweeted, “Tyler Roberson picked up some new fans for sure.”

“All of the guests were good, but Jerry Carino stood out to me because whenever he was asked a question he gave a well, thought-out answer about his experiences,” said camper Matthew Figueroa.

Write on Sports founder Byron Yake, former Associate Press Sports Editor, also made a guest appearance at Roselle Catholic. The passionate Yake, who founded Write on Sports upon his retirement 10 years ago, told the eight campers about his experiences and his passion for the program during a lively exchange. Write on Sports camps are currently held in Newark, Montclair, Roselle and West Long Branch as well as in Rhode Island and Indiana.

“Over the two weeks of Write on Sports camp, Joe and I had an amazing experience working with students to help them to continue to develop their writing skills,” said Sisk, a former Roselle Catholic teacher and coach who’s now pursuing a Master’s degree.

“Write on Sports is a true testament to the culture of Roselle Catholic,” Sisk said. “We ensure that all students have a place excel; an environment that supports and fosters the development of a student’s ideas.”

Plans are in place for Write on Sports to return to Roselle Catholic in 2016, according to former school President and Principal Robert Stickles.

“I have an interest in coming back to camp again next year,” Dominique Geiger said. “I need to know more that can help me improve my writing.

“I had an awesome two weeks here at Write on Sports.”