Yasmeen Khan is an associate producer covering education. You can find her stories on the air and on SchoolBook.org, WNYC’s education website.
More than 500 athletes from about fifty high schools competed in the citywide indoor track and field championship this past weekend. By Sunday afternoon, Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens came out on top on the girls' side, as did the boys' team from the Thomas Jefferson Educational Campus in Brooklyn.
Students came for individual glory as well, including Kadecia Baird, a senior at Medgar Evers College Preparatory School.
"This was my last city championship, so all I came out to do was make the best of it."
She did. Baird placed first in the 55 meter dash, the 300 meter dash and the 4x200 relay. Her efforts helped put the Medgar Evers girls' team in second place overall.
Baird, who hopes to compete in the Olympics in 2016, said she is still looking for the right college. She is aiming for a track and field scholarship to a school with coaches that can help push her to the next level, she said. A scholarship would also lift a financial burden from her single-parent family.
"It will at least ease my mom from paying so much college tuition every semester," she said.
A number of athletes said they had their sights set on an athletic scholarship to get into the college of their choice, and to be able to afford college altogether.
"I pray," said Nickino Allwood, a junior at Medgar Evers who competed in long jump. "College ain't cheap."
David McBean, a junior at Harry S. Truman High School, said he hopes to attend Syracuse University on a track scholarship, where he would study forensic science.
"My parents always say, 'You've gotta get a scholarship,'" he said. And he said it is something he wants for himself.
"I love running and that's technically all I love to do," he said, as he warmed up for the 4x200 relay with his teammates.
The top athletes from Sunday's competition move on to the state championship this weekend, held at Cornell University. Then the top competitors return to New York City March 2, for the indoor nationals.