Earlier this month, the USTA announced the 14 winners of the 14th Annual National Junior Tennis and Learning Arthur Ashe Essay and Art Contest. The winners included seven boys and seven girls, all under the age of 18, from various Sections. In all, more than 1,800 submissions came in from around the country.
Of all the submissions, one from Middle States was among the best, as one of the 14 contest winners was 12-year-old Michaela Peterson of Philadelphia.
Participants in the contest responded to the question: “If Arthur Ashe were alive today, what do you think would give him hope?”
People submitting pieces had a choice of including a 350-word essay, or a work of art, that shared their responses to the theme. The contest allowed kids the opportunity to show and share what they have learned through NJTL, and how tennis has impacted their lives.
In Peterson’s essay, she stated that seeing the success of his programs would give Ashe hope for the future of tennis. She wrote: “He and his programs have helped me see my true self and the important things in life. I know he would be hopeful about what he has started.”
Winners of the contest each received a travel package to New York City for Aug. 24-26, for Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day at the US Open. They will have the chance to meet former New York City Mayor and USTA Board Member David Dinkins, and will be recognized at an awards luncheon.
The NJTL was founded in 1969 by Ashe, Charlie Pasarell, and Sheridan Snyder, with the mission to make tennis affordable and accessible to everyone. Through the nearly 600 non-profit NJTL development programs around the country, kids learn more than just tennis; they are also exposed to essential educational and life skills. In its 43rd year, the NJTL provides these services to more than 250,000 kids nationwide in hopes that they will see tennis as a lifelong sport.
Submissions for the next Arthur Ashe Essay and Art Contest will open in 2013. For more information and contest updates, visit the NJTL Web site.