Contest winners announced during US Open

August 25, 2011

FLUSHING, N.Y. — The USTA announced today the 14 winners of its 13th annual Arthur Ashe Essay and Art Contest. The winning essays and art projects were selected from student entries submitted to the more than 600 USTA National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network chapters from around the country. Students were asked to write a short essay or create an art piece based on the question: “Why do you think Arthur Ashe created the National Junior Tennis & Learning Network and how has your NJTL chapter impacted your life?” A USTA sub-committee selected the winning essays and art pieces based on the knowledge of Arthur Ashe, message clarity, and writing style demonstrated in each submission.

The contest was open to students age 18 and younger who participate in an NJTL program. The winners, who range in age from 10 to 18, each will receive a travel package to New York to attend Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on August 27. Following Kids’ Day, the winners also will attend an Awards Banquet, hosted by former New York City Mayor and former USTA Board Member David Dinkins, where they will receive an honorary plaque in recognition of their work.

“We are proud to honor this year’s contest winners who have expressed through their art work and essays what the NJTL program means to them.” said Barry Ford, Director Education, Advocacy and Public Affairs, USTA. “Their achievements highlight the important role NJTL chapters play and have played in the growth and development of these young people. This competition, however, is not simply about celebrating the talent, energy and hard work of a few participants in NJTL programming. While it is certainly that, it is also an important educational tool, NJTL chapters use throughout the year that impacts the lives and improves the life-chances of under-served youth throughout the country.”

The 14 winners of the 2011 Arthur Ashe Essay and Art Contest are:

Essay Winners

Art Winners

In addition to attending the Awards Banquet, contest winners will receive tickets to Cirque du Soleil, a New York Mets baseball game, and will be guests in the USTA President’s Box for the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess stadium show on August 27 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is the official kick-off event for the 2011 US Open that will run from August 29 – September 11.

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 & 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 600 chapters serving over 250,000 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.