My name is Liz Sterns, I am Andrea Todoro,
My name is Bob Gamble and I am a full tenured professor at D’Youville College. I’m also
a certified tennis professional with the United States Tennis Professional Association. I
am the school leader of West Buffalo Charter School. And I am the finance and operations
officer at West Buffalo Charter School. We currently have approximately three hundred
students enrolled at our school, and as I stand here today, fifteen languages are spoken.
Approximately fifteen hundred to two thousand refugees who settle each year in Buffalo,
primarily it’s the West Side of Buffalo where we are located, which is what leads to the
uniqueness and special nature of our Charter School. I’m very excited about the tennis
program that Dr. Gamble has talked to us about. It’s an opportunity that we had never had
before Dr. Gamble brought it to our attention. The tennis program we started this past fall
here at West Buffalo Charter School. We received a grant from the Eastern Junior Tennis Federation
and Western New York. We work with kindergardners, we’ve got four and five years olds. So they
come down during their gym period, and we come for an hour and we work privately and
semi-privately. The benefits of tennis are universal. When you start younger you can
play the game for the rest of your life. It’s excellent social skills, it’s excellent for
motor skills, and a lot of the motor skills transfer over to other sports. One of the
most important things about tennis is that social interaction. They’re playing with people,
all different ages, and they get to do something for the rest of their life. Not many other
sports can say that. Several parents have emailed me, thanking me, telling me how much
their daughter or son looked forward to coming to play tennis and they love the idea that
they get a little individualized attention when sometimes they don’t get that in other
activities. I think partnerships are very important, first of all for the individuals
that are working closely together, but more importantly for our students, to see that
college is a possibility, and that college students were once in these very same roles
in kindergarden and fourth grade. We do house student teachers different times of the semester
here at our building. We also work very closely with the education department to have student
observations done here in our classrooms. What I find to be so special about West Buffalo
Charter School is similar to what I found to be so special about D’Youville. It was
small, had a strong sense of community, it was diverse, I studied with a lot of students
from other countries, and it was a very unique opportunity.

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Dennis Veasley

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