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How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

Just ask Darien High School tennis player Ryo Usami.

Name: Ryo "Yo" Usami

Age: 16

School: Darien High School

Accomplishments: Ryo is a sophomore at DHS who's playing in his second season on the tennis team. In his freshman year, he played #2 doubles with current  senior and captain Malcom Willis. This year he moved up to #2 singles. His coach, Tom Stepkoski, describes him as "a hard hitter with big serve who really has a bright future. If he were a senior I'd say he's having a very good year but as a sophomore he's really going to be good."

"Yo" says he's basically "a counter puncher who covers the court well and gets lots of balls back."

He is a former top 25 player in New England and Top 10 when he lived in Maryland.

Keys to Excellence: Ryo also shines in the classroom. He maintains a 3.8 g.p.a and is consistently on the Honor Roll, listing math as his favorite subject. The rising junior is taking two honors courses this year (Pre-Calculus and Spanish). He's planning to take three A.P's next year (BC Calculus, Chemistry and Music Theory).

He also excels on the stage and in the orchestra pit where he describes himself as a "serious violinist." He's been taking lessons for seven years and plays in  the New York Youth Symphony, which consists of musicians between the age of 12-22. This is his third year with the NYYS,  which requires an annual audition.

They rehearse weekly on Sundays in New York. The group performs at Carnegie Hall three times a year. "Yo" is also a member of the Tri M Music Honor Society. He is a member of the DHS orchestra and participated in the Connecticut All-State Orchestra for two consecutive years, which includes high school musicians from the state.

The orchestra performs during a three-day festival in Hartford every year.

When he's not playing tennis for DHS,  he's teaching tennis at the Rye Racket Club in Westchester. He'd like to continue playing tennis and the violin when he goes to college in a couple of years.

"Yo" was born in Japan. He and his family; mom Minako, dad Kaoro and older brother, Kei  (20) -- who attends Fordham University -- moved to the United States 10 years ago. They settled in Maryland, then moved to Darien six years ago.

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