BY EMRAUDE BONNET
Last season, the girls tennis team was led to success by coach Julie Fox and now, new coach Cheryl Camassa has high hopes to bring the girls to States for another season. For the last two seasons, Coach Camassa coached girls volleyball, but is very excited to be coaching the girls tennis team.
As a kid, Camassa played tennis a bit here and there at camp, but never did it as an organized sport. However, Camassa played volleyball in middle school and high school. Considering she grew up in Longhorn, New York, “soccer was the number one sport” to play as a kid. She started playing when she was 3, with her dad as a coach. In high school, she played soccer in the fall, and volleyball in the spring.
Overall, she played a great amount of sports. Soccer, basketball, volleyball, and softball, were all on her athletic resume. When forced to choose between softball and volleyball during the high school sport season, she picked volleyball because she wasn’t a fan of batting.
“[She loves] coaching, it’s in [her] blood,” said Camassa when asked why she wanted to coach a tennis team. Growing up, her father was a t-ball, baseball, and soccer coach, even though he didn’t know how to play soccer. Despite his inability to play the actual sport, he became the head soccer organizer, which led her to want to be a referee at the age of 16. She’s been in leadership positions of sports since she was just a teenager.
Besides coaching, Camassa is a Behavior Analyst at Malden Public Schools, primarily working at Linden S.T.E.A.M Academy. She started working at an organization on Long Island for adults with disabilities when she was home from college in the summer. She had made such a connection with those adults and felt that she was making a difference in their lives. During every break during college and in the summer, she came back to work with them.
Graduating with a psychology degree from Binghamton University, Camassa landed her first full time job at this organization as an applied behavior specialist. She knew it was her calling and wanted to get her Masters degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. When she applied, she got accepted to the Northeastern program for ABA. Since then, she has worked 5 years at a residential program, 4 years in a collaborative program, and this is her 4th year in Malden Public Schools. When asked what she loves about that job, she said: “every day is a new day. You never know what the day will bring. [She loves] what [she does], and hopefully [she impacts her] students positively.”
Camassa believes, “any time [she] can impact a young person’s life positively, [she feels] that is a victory. Obviously [they] want to achieve wins on the court, but [she would] rather they have a cooperative experience as a part of a team. [She has] learned how to lose. By nature [she is] extremely competitive, and now [she knows] that you can’t win every match. [She] didn’t gain this from coaching, but [She] confirmed the benefits of being a member of a team. Coaching is awesome! It gives kids an avenue after school and hopefully stay out of trouble. [She] wouldn’t give up my job as a behavior analyst, though. My students might not know it now, but [she] will impact their lives just as they have impacted [hers].”