Game On!

It could well be called Maryknoll volleyball diplomacy. Two high school students from Red Bank Catholic High School in Monmouth County, N.J., working through the school’s Maryknoll Affiliate chapter, have shown that teenage girls can bridge the gap between countries and foster new friendships through sports. The New Jersey teens—Catherine Curtin of Atlantic Highlands and Ava Zockoll of Bay Head—spent five days in old Havana, Cuba, last summer using their love of volleyball to develop friendships and help less fortunate students on the island nation 90 miles from the United States. The trip was the idea of 16-year-old Catherine, a member of the school’s Maryknoll Affiliates. She organized the trip, with the help of her parents, Daniel and Tricia. It included teammate Ava and her mother, Nancy. The students took volleyballs, nets, game shirts, and love and enthusiasm with them on the trip, which took place the last week of June. In Cuba they met fellow volleyball enthusiasts from an informal community group called Barrio Habana Community Project, led by the husband and wife team of Pavel Garcia Valdez and Sandra Sotolongo Iglesias. “We went to Cuba to show teens there our way of life and to give them a better understanding of American people, as well as to see how we could help them,” Catherine said. “We came home with new friends and the realization of how very nice and friendly


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