They are the champions: Students got honored for being the best

Champs: Borough President Adams with the indoor and outdoor track teams from Medgar Evers College Prep.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Borough President Eric Adams honored students at Borough Hall for their athletic and scholastic accomplishments on Wednesday night.

The football coach at Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island said the event showed his students that people care about what they do.

“It shows them that, not only are the fans and other students watching, but that politicians are too,” said Shawn O’Connor, whose team won the Public School Athletic League Championship in December.

The Beep honored students from 11 middle and high schools at the event, as well as the Saint Francis College men’s soccer team, which was the Northeast Conference champion last year. The super squads, which included IS 234’s math team and the Edward R. Murrow High School chess team, all won championships in their respective fields. Adams awarded the scholars trophies and commended their achievements.

“From the gridiron to the chessboard, there’s no beating our Brooklyn champions,” he said. “If they can star on the basketball court today, they can star on the Supreme Court tomorrow.”

O’Connor said the event gave his players a chance to meet and interact with students from all over the borough and gave many of them their first chance to experience Borough Hall firsthand.

“The kids got to mingle with different kids from all different backgrounds,” he said. “And a lot of them were never in a historic building like Borough Hall before.”

Adams also honored Robert Phelps, a basketball coach and dean from Bedford Academy High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, for his work with student-athletes on and off the court. Phelps said his players take a lot away from the time they put in with his team.

“It’s very important to them,” he said. “It’s almost like a job. They really value it, and it opens doors for them.”

And, he said, it is satisfying for him too.

“I like to see the growth of the young scholar-athletes,” he said. “To see them grow and turn in to young men.”

Phelps thought the championship ceremony was a classy move by Adams, and that it showed the students that their hard work is appreciated.

“We need to celebrate our youth,” he said. “These young people could be out doing a lot of different things, but if you show them some appreciation they’ll want to keep doing this.”

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Match point: Borough President Adams honored Fort Hamilton High School’s girls volleyball team at a Borough Hall ceremony on Feb. 25.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

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