Contest Winners to Attend Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day

August 27, 2010

FLUSHING, N.Y. — The USTA announced today the 10 winners of the 12th annual USTA/NJTL Arthur Ashe Essay Contest. The 10 winners, ranging in ages from 10 to 18, will each receive a travel package to New York City for the weekend of August 27-29. The weekend includes round-trip coach airfare to New York for the winners and a parent/legal guardian; a two-night stay at the Grand Hyatt 42nd Street; a Circle Line Cruise around New York City; tickets to Broadway’s “Wicked,” and seats in the President’s Box for the 2010 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess on August 28 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is the official kick-off for the 2010 US Open that will run from August 30 – September 12.

The highlight of the weekend will be an Awards Luncheon on August 29, hosted by former New York City Mayor and USTA Board Member David Dinkins, where the winners will receive an honorary plaque. Blake Strode, the men’s champion of this year’s US Open National Playoffs, and one of the inaugural winners of the Arthur Ashe Essay contest in 1999 will speak at this year’s luncheon.

The essay contest is exclusively for those 18 and younger who participate in National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network chapters nationwide. Entrants were asked to write an essay of 300 words or less, responding to the question “Some say that winning the 1968 US Open as the first African- American male was Arthur Ashe’s greatest accomplishment. What do you think?”. A USTA sub-committee selected the winning essays based on the writers’ knowledge of Arthur Ashe, message clarity, and writing style.

“The Arthur Ashe Essay Contest is a means of recognizing young people by giving them an opportunity to showcase, through written expression, their knowledge of Arthur Ashe, his legacy, and the many contributions he made both on and off the tennis court,” said Barry Ford, Director, Outreach and Advocacy, USTA. “Using Arthur’s vision as a conduit, we hope this experience in New York City will have a profound impact on the growth and development of these brilliant writers and many more young people for years to come.”

The 10 winners of the 2010 USTA/NJTL Arthur Ashe Essay Contest are:

Paige Moore, Washington, DC

Daniel Stewart, Birmingham, Alabama

Isis Gill-Reid, Brooklyn, New York

Kieran Walsh, St. Paul, Minnesota

Allyce Harrison, Wichita, Kansas

Varun Medhal, Camas, Washington

Vietmy Tran, San Francisco, California

Cody Stewart, Duncanville, Texas

Grace Trimble, Winchester, Kentucky

Francis Cuenca, San Bruno, California

Presented by Hess and produced by the USTA, Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day honors tennis legend Arthur Ashe and continues his mission of using tennis as a means to instill in kids the values of humanitarianism, leadership and academic excellence. A portion of the proceeds from Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day benefit the USTA National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network. Ashe, along with Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder, founded the NJTL in 1969. Ashe envisioned NJTL, “as a way to gain and hold the attention of young people in the inner cities and their poor environments so that we can teach them about matters more important than tennis.”

NJTL has grown to over 550 chapters serving over 225,000 youth each year, making it one of the USTA’s largest community-based offerings. It is a delivery system for the USTA’s programs, giving young people an opportunity to play tennis while also providing a safe haven, adult role models and tennis instruction.