NEW YORK CITY, NY – Write on Sports held its 13th Anniversary Gala at the historic Yale Club of New York City. With over 190 attendees sharing an air of excitement, two mentors in their own right were honored for contributions to their field and community: Peter King (NBC Sports) and Josh McCown (NY Jets).
NFL Network and WFAN radio host Kim Jones returned as EMCEE this year, previously hosting the WoS Gala in 2012. WoS Board Chairman, John D. Goldsmith, welcomed attendees and thanked donors and volunteers and staff for their support the past 13 years.
Attendees included 15 students from this summer’s programs at St. Benedict’s Prep and Prudential Center in Newark, The Oranges camp and Clifton/Hawthorne camp at Montclair State University and Roselle Catholic Write on Sports, an affiliate. Half a dozen alumni and teachers along with a representative from each of the seven WoS affiliates also attended.
Following a video depicting the themes of Write on Sports and how students have embraced the program, Founder and Executive Director Byron Yake expressed his gratitude for the program’s progress over 13 years and excitement for what the future holds.
“Write on Sports is a rich idea without riches,” he said. “Its growth will continue because of you who are here, who understand what meaningful impact it brings to middle school youth.”
A student or alumni were at each table to lead a discussion about their camp experience. It was an opportunity for guests to hear directly about the impact WoS has on students. Students discussed their feature article, and highlighted their favorite camp moments. Josh McCown, New York Jets’ backup quarterback and long-time veteran of the NFL, was interviewed by WoS student Zack Perincheril, a West Orange high school freshman. Perincheril asked McCown about his career and his philosophies on mentoring those around him – both on and off the field.
“You’ve been in the NFL for 16 years, and have witnessed the evolution of the league firsthand. How have you adapted to the changing landscape and how has the quarterback position evolved?” asked the student. “It’s a lot safer now! You see organizations and teams working smarter and more efficiently.”
WoS alumni and intern Sequoia Hightower, a sophomore at Science Park high school in Newark, turned the tables on sports journalist Peter King, interviewing him about not only his time-honored career but his years of dedication to WoS.
“You have had a long and successful career as a sports journalist. Can you name some major obstacles that you faced throughout your career?” Hightower posed to King. “ I always had this motivation that, what kicked me in the rear end every day was to say you can’t mail it in, ever, not one time. And I think that is important lesson for anyone in life, especially when you’re young, that you have to realize that no matter what it is you want to do, you will be competing against other people, at that job…You say I am going to do something great today and prove I belong here,” replied King.
As the evening came to a close, King and McCown took center stage to leave some inspiring words for not only the students in the room but for all members of the audience. King asked McCown what message he would want to parlay to the young people in the room, McCown replied:
“Everything is connected. Everything matters. What you are doing now will serve for many, many years to come… As you chase your dream, especially in writing or whatever it is, you don’t know who you are going to inspire. You don’t know who are going to be standing on the stage with, and it’s worth it. There will be good days and there will be bad days and regardless, keep pressing on because it is worth the fight.”
WoS, a not-for-profit organization, receives funding from individuals, foundations and corporations. Students attend tuition free. It has programs in four states, including Indiana, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey.