YES Programs



Sectional Title Winners!

Two boys playing basketball

By: Rami Alsoos (YES 2023-2024, West Bank, placed by Greenheart in Syracuse, NY)

Playing basketball at my host school has been a blast. Recently, we won the first sectional title in the school’s history!

When I first arrived in the United States, I was shocked to see how many opportunities American teenagers have. I started with soccer, since it was a sport I had played before. After the season ended, I started basketball, which was one of the things I wanted to accomplish during my American experience.

Group of basketball players yelling from the side of the court

When I first arrived at tryouts, I was shocked to see how talented the players were and how different American basketball is from how it is played at home. I thought at first I would join the varsity team, but there were so many competitive players, I ended up playing on the junior varsity team. At first, I was sad about this, but this season has been one of the best things about my exchange year. The boys on my team have become brothers to me, and I can never thank them enough for accepting me as a teammate. Playing on the basketball team has improved my skills and how I think about the game. My coach has also done so much for me and has never given up on me.

I also have learned that many American high schools have rivalries. One of the highlights of the basketball season was a game with my host school’s rival. We had a close game, but we ended up pulling off the win.

After the junior varsity season ended, I became the varsity team’s manager. The team got through to the quarterfinals, then semi-finals, and it all came down to the sectional final. It was a close game, but for the first time in school history, the boys' basketball team secured a sectional title. I am so lucky to have been a part of this journey, mainly because I have made friendships that will last forever.