“On the river, everything is clear and peaceful.”

At San Miguel, we believe that athletic environments should be inclusive and diverse spaces. In expanding our rowing program, we seek to dismantle the notion that the sport is exclusive to any one race or class demographic. San Miguel is…

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At San Miguel, we believe that athletic environments should be inclusive and diverse spaces.
In expanding our rowing program, we seek to dismantle the notion that the sport is exclusive to any one race or class demographic.

San Miguel is sporting two beautiful new boats thanks to rower and author Arshay Cooper and A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund. Growing up on Chicago’s West Side in the 1990s, Arshay escaped the violence in his neighborhood through rowing. His memoir, A Most Beautiful Thing, chronicles his experience rowing crew with teammates from rival neighborhoods and gangs on the first all-Black high school rowing team in the United States.

In October 2021, we welcomed Arshay to our campus. He spoke with enthusiasm to students about the benefits of rowing. He described the formative impact of the sport on his life trajectory. As team captain, Arshay was an integral part of the band of brothers they became. His story was featured in the 2020 documentary, A Most Beautiful Thing, narrated by Common. The film was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and Critics’ Choice Award, among other accolades. In the documentary, as in his memoir, and when speaking to our students, Arshay’s message about the advantages of rowing is clear: it promotes team-building, physical fitness, and social-emotional development.

A MOST BEAUTIFUL THING INCLUSION FUND, under the umbrella of the George Pocock Rowing Foundation, supports the work of Arshay Cooper in expanding the sport of rowing into under-resourced communities. We are most grateful for their work!

After San Miguel, our rowers continue with the sport through high school and college.

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