Monique Avin, an 18-year-old who hails from Brooklyn, N.Y., wasn't aware of rowing before her sophomore year of high school. Today, the senior is on the varsity team for Row New York and credits the sport for her success in school, according to HooplaHa.
While Monique was initially skeptical about joining Row New York, an after-school program that provides students with academic support and the ability to participate in competitive rowing, she was encouraged by her gym teacher to try out for the team. She made the cut.
Watch the video above to learn more about Monique and Row New York.
Though it takes Monique an hour to travel from school to practice, she now looks forward to rowing with her teammates each day who she calls her second family.
"I feel like Row New York has done a lot for me academically, physically, mentally," Monique explains in the video. "It made me put my best foot forward in everything that I do."
Monique was also given an Urban Hero Award from the Catalog for Giving of New York City last fall as a result of her involvement in the program.
Students from Kansas City, Mo. have also cited an after-school program, Minddrive, as a major influence in their academic success. A group of teens restored an old car and programmed it to run on "social fuel," or social media interactions involving their project (like the #MindDrive hashtag).
"Now, I decided I want to be an engineer," one student explained. "This opens a lot of doors for my future."
Hive Fashion is another after-school program that gives high schoolers the opportunity to help turn their creative ideas into a reality. Students work with professionals in the fashion industry and learn how to build their own brands.
"Prior to getting involved with Hive Fashion, I was not interested in higher education," Debrian Carson wrote in a blog for The Huffington Post. "But it changed my perception of wanting to learn new things and be proud of it."
Tell us, do any sports or after-school activities inspire you? Sound off in the comments or tweet at @HuffPostTeen.