Gaining Confidence and Trying New Things at Quaker Ridge

By Alexander Ciriaco

Alex Ciriaco

My days at Quaker Ridge started early in the morning. I would arrive at the maintenance building by 6:30am ready to work on the course.

My job was to help keep the course looking good. I enjoyed the still mornings because of the occasional wildlife sighting. I saw deer, hawks and rabbits and in general enjoyed the scenery while I worked. I filled divots, watered, raked bunkers and even learned how to use a leaf blower to keep tees and greens clear of debris.

Sometimes a maintenance emergency would require the attention of the supervisors. On the Saturday of my first week, for example, I helped fix a water leak on the fifth hole. We dug up the pipe and I learned a lot about PVC and plumbing. 

This was my second year in the program, and it was extremely exciting. I met club members, employees and managers, and I reconnected with returning fellows and met the new ones. 

In addition to my work on the course, every day provided an opportunity to connect with my colleagues. We talked about colleges and I learned about their college experiences. Other peers offered tips to help me prepare for my senior year at New Rochelle High School. 

One conversation that stood out was with Andrew, a co-worker who attends Michigan State and told me about being an accounting major there.

One of the best sessions we had this summer was with Caroline Rief, an account director and sales manager at LinkedIn. She talked about her company and we learned about the importance of making connections and building relationships. Conversations like these were invaluable. 

All summer we worked on ideas for nonprofit organizations. I decided to focus my organization on affordable housing because I believe that housing is a basic human right that everyone should have. My organization also focused on accommodations for college students and college graduates to help them save money for the future. 

On Momentum Wednesdays, our team meetings provided an opportunity to learn, catch up with my peers, eat lunch together, hang out, and play tennis and golf. These lessons were an important part of our fellowship. 

I even got the opportunity to work additional hours at the course this summer to make extra cash for my college savings! 

There was always an opportunity to gain confidence, learn new things, share experiences, develop leadership skills, and just have fun being a Momentum fellow.

Alex is a rising senior at New Rochelle High School and interned with Golf Course Superintendent Tom Ashfield.