Paul Santoro: 2016-17 Simon Gale Award For An Outstanding Junior Winner!

The 2016-17 Simon Gale Award for an Outstanding Junior

This club award is granted to junior players who work hard on and off the court, who possess a level of integrity not only as players but as human beings, who challenge others to reach their greatest potential and who have a genuine love for the game. Award recipient is chosen by YTC staff and will receive a $1000 scholarship check for college expenses.

2016-17 Award Recipient: Paul Santoro

Paul is an 11th grade student at Eastchester High School. He’s been playing at YTC for the past six years. Tennis had always been a hobby for Paul, since unlike his mom, Deanna, Paul did not develop a tennis addiction immediately. Unsure about whether he even wanted to continue playing, the biggest game changer for Paul came when he volunteered to become a Coach in Training last summer for the junior camp.

The Coach in Training (C.I.T.) program at Yonkers Tennis Center is designed to provide young adults with an opportunity to develop leadership skills and gain hands-on experience in a professional environment. The program aligns with the New York State Learning Standards for College and Career Readiness. It has an organized pathway that enables young adults to progress through three distinct levels, which will enable them to take on more responsibilities and, at the highest level, have the opportunity to work special events for compensation.

“When we started the CIT program, we hoped that it would impact our junior players in the way that it has helped Paul mature as an individual. Tennis teaches life skills and people, like Paul, have and will continue to share their talents on and off the court,” said Joe Curto, YTC President.

“It was incredible to watch the transformation that took place, due to taking on the responsibility of working with the kids, helping the pros set up for classes and just being part of a tennis family, who supported and encouraged him,” said Deanna. “Paul has a great personality that truly came out during last summer’s camp. He was always cracking jokes and was very helpful on court with the younger players,” said Mark Santucci. Director of Tennis Operations. “Paul’s transformation was very noticeable and it was amazing to see him mature as he spent more time on court helping the program succeed. We had one of our best summers of camp and Paul was a big part of that!” added Mark. “The benefits I've witnessed both on and off the court have been amazing and I'm so proud. I know the life lessons he has learned through playing tennis and volunteering at YTC will help him,” added Deanna.

Paul’s helpfulness has become contagious in the Santoro household. Paul’s brother, Luca, who also plays at YTC has now volunteered as a C.I.T. himself after seeing how much fun Paul had been having on court. “Having Paul as a older brother has been great. He always keeps me laughing,” commented Luca.

“It’s been fun seeing Paul’s transformation from student to leader. We are more than just tennis and it excites us to see our kids growing as people. I know he will inspire his peers to want to walk the same growth and maturity pathway!” commented Tendai Kuwaza, Director of Instruction. “Paul has the qualities of a leader. He’s reliable, accountable, responsible, proactive, responsive to direction, engagingly interactive, and goes the extra mile,” said Lonny Aronstein, YTC Tennis Professional. Rene Guerrero, YTC Tennis Professional, added, “He’s the kind of kid you want to be around!”

Paul will be entering his senior year and hopes to pursue a career in Game Design/Cyber Security.