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Southern Juniors Win Essay Contest

August 14, 2017 05:43 PM

Winners to Be Honored at the Yale Club in New York City

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – USTA Foundation, the national charitable organization of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), today announced the 10 winners of the 19th annual NJTL National Essay Contest. The winners, ranging in ages from 10 to 18, were selected out of more than 2,600 entries submitted this summer.

Southern winners are:

  • Dawson Pope; Collierville, Tenn.; Tennis Memphis; 12 and Under
  • Ducky Steward; Johns Island, S.C.; City of Charleston NJTL Courting Kids; 12 and Under
  • Jaylon Bokknight; Augusta, Ga.; MACH Academy; 16 and Under

Each winner will receive a New York City travel package from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27 as part of 2017 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day powered by Net Generation, the annual youth celebration that precedes the US Open.

This year’s question asked: "In addition to tennis, education and life skills are extremely important to the development of our youth. Which one of the three components above is most important to you, and how will it help you throughout your life?" To enter the contest, students were asked to write an essay of 350 words or less.

Each winner will receive round-trip airfare to New York City for himself/herself along with a parent/legal guardian plus a two-night stay at the Grand Hyatt New York. In addition the winners will have VIP status in the President’s Box during the 2017 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day will be held Saturday, Aug. 26, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open.

The weekend will wrap up with an awards luncheon on Sunday, Aug. 27, co-hosted by USTA Foundation Chairman of the Board James Blake and former New York City Mayor and Honorary Board Member David N. Dinkins. The luncheon will be held at the Yale Club, where the essay contest winners will receive an honorary plaque.

The 10 winners of the 2017 NJTL National Essay Contest were selected in the following categories: 

“Once again, the USTA Foundation is proud to welcome this year’s well-deserved NJTL National Essay Contest winners to New York for their outstanding submissions,” said Dan Faber, Executive Director, USTA Foundation. “Each year, we receive so many well-written essays from kids, with so much thought and effort put into their words. I want to thank them for sharing their stories and outlook on how tennis and education has helped to positively shape their young lives. In addition, I’d like to congratulate the NJTL programs these students represent, and commend all the chapters nationwide for encouraging participation in the contest. For they deserve credit for the impact they have generated.”

In January 2014, the USTA Foundation combined with USTA NJTL, a national network of 350 community-based tennis and education programs annually serving more than 225,000 youth, to become a fully operational foundation. NJTL has impacted millions of kids throughout the country, making it the largest grass-roots tennis program in the United States.