'Coach' Cataldo Completes UVA Law Degree While Growing Harlem Program That Teaches Leadership, Lacrosse
Four days before Simon Cataldo started his Teach For America job at Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem six years ago, he learned his new assignment as a high school chemistry teacher had changed. He would instead be teaching math to middle school special-education students. "It was pretty much a disaster for my first few months," said Cataldo, now a University of Virginia School of Law student who will graduate May 18. That desperate experiment led to the launch of a nonprofit organization Cataldo is president of today, six years later. Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership, an academic mentoring program that uses lacrosse and academic tutoring to teach leadership, discipline and teamwork, now serves 145 students in two Harlem schools, involving both girls' and boys' teams. The program plans to expand in the fall to two more Harlem schools and one public middle school in Baltimore.