CITY COLLEGE–Rayan Lachhman-Persad, a senior student-athlete at University Heights High School in the South Bronx, has become an advocate for equal opportunities in high school sports. He says students like him can’t go on to play at higher levels because their public high schools are starved of money for athletics. “There is no opportunity to continue playing soccer after high school because public high school athletics in the lower divisions are not recognized at all,” Persad said.
He speaks for many student-athletes in lower-income areas like the South Bronx. A lack of funding and recognition creates barriers to using their skills and pursuing their passions. Some New York City schools do not have the funding to provide even basic resources for their athletes. Persad said that at his high school, “the conditions we play under are that we get jerseys at the start of the season and give them back at the end. Players must to buy their cleats, socks, and shorts, and some can’t play because they can’t afford it.”