Supporting Youth Sports Programs Helps Develop Future Leaders of Our Communities
Minco is proud to continue our tradition of supporting a variety of youth sports programs throughout the many Merrimack Valley communities we provide real estate development services within. It’s part of our culture at Minco to give back to the cities and towns that consider us partners in their community development plans, but it’s also personal for our founder and President, Lou Minicucci, who participated in athletics at North Andover High School. During his time at North Andover High School, he was elected Co-Captain of the football team and played basketball and baseball. He was selected as an All-Conference player in the Merrimack Valley Conference his Senior year.
In 2020, Minco awarded our fifth annual Eagle-Tribune Student-Athlete scholarship of $1,000 to Alex Fleury, of North Andover. Fleury’s credentials as a high school student-athlete at Andover’s Phillip’s Academy were impressive.
As an athlete, at the Last Chance Indoor Meet at Boston University, he ran the fastest 1,000 meters for a high schooler in the country. He has five school records (300-meter, 600-meter, 800-meter, 1,000-meter and indoor mile), which at a school that is 242 years old, is saying something.
“There were some impressive candidates,” said Minicucci. “I read Alex’s credentials. He’s a special young man. His work in the classroom is special, as is his ability to run. I will be following him for sure.”
As a student, Alex’s GPA was 5.75 out of 6.0, while taking AP classes in biology, chemistry, computer science, literature, history, and mathematics.
Fleury joins our 2017 Eagle-Tribune Student-Athlete of the Year, Erick Duffy, at Harvard this fall. Duffy, who is also from North Andover, is nationally ranked in the pole vault and a captain on the men’s track team at Harvard, where Lou Minicucci is an alumnus of the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
In 2021, the award went to North Andover’s Jake Wolinski. He’s headed to the Naval Academy in 2022, and is spending the next year attending Suffield Academy in Connecticut, where he’s taking Advanced Placement classes. He also took four AP classes during his senior year at North Andover High and got straight A’s.
In sports, Wolinski captained the varsity football, basketball and lacrosse teams. He was also named an Eagle-Tribune All-Star in football and basketball in 2021.
“I really love the fact that all of the nominees are dedicated to community service and helping others,” Minicucci said. “Being a great athlete is nice, but in the end, I want to be around people that care about helping others less fortunate. Jake fits that bill.”
Life skills learned on the field stay with athletes forever
Lou Minicucci knows first-hand what being a player and teammate has ingrained in him as a community leader today. Here’s just a few reminders that might encourage you to sponsor an athlete or team in your community.
- Sport teaches tenacity. The ability to fail, learn from the setback, and move forward is a vital life skill. Learning that failure is not the end, but part of the learning experience has far-reaching implications, affecting our self-confidence, our resilience, and our mental agility. These skills are vital for success as we grow into adults to survive and thrive life’s many challenges.
- Sport teaches teamwork. Even if you are naturally someone who is happy in solitude and may make a career as an independent contractor or creative, it’s impossible to achieve much of anything without making human connections and collaborating with people at some point in your journey. Sport encourages the development of critical skill and trait of adopting an attitude of mutual respect.
- Sport promotes happiness. Motivation is finite but our capacity for motivation can be bolstered. If from a young age we are taught the benefits of “type 2 fun” (activity that isn’t immediately enjoyable) and hone the ability to work towards a greater reward, evidence shows that people are less likely to suffer from depression and experience greater life satisfaction.
- Sport teaches tolerance and appreciation for diversity. Every member of a sports team must work together to achieve success. When they put on a team uniform, they’re bonded as one unit. The diverse mix of personalities and challenges that young athletes face together helps them become patient and appreciative of others from all walks of life.
- Sport teaches self-esteem and community spirit. When children understand that their voices are valued, they gain confidence. Being heard provides a sense of worth and encourages further participation. Teams naturally help children feel important as teammates interact and support each other. Student athletes also develop long-lasting friendships that foster a sense of community and often give them reason to set down roots back in their hometowns.
“I’ve lived and worked in a lot of places,” says Minicucci. “But there’s something about focusing my personal and professional energy right here on my home turf in the Merrimack Valley that gives me a great sense of pride.”
Photo features Alex Fleury in the lead for Phillips Academy of North Andover. Courtesy of Lawrence Eagle Tribune