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Nine Youth Win USTA Southern NJTL Essay Contest

ATLANTA – AUGUST 17, 2017 – USTA Southern has announced the winners of the 2017 State NJTL Essay Contest. USTA Southern has offered each winner an all-expense paid trip for them and one chaperone to the Winston-Salem Open in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 19 to Monday, Aug. 21. 

The winners will receive free tickets to the Winston-Salem Open, one of the American summer pro tennis events that comprise the US Open Series. Among the players scheduled to appear include 2017 Wimbledon semifinalist Sam Querrey and two-time champion and local native John Isner.

“Visiting the Winston-Salem Open is a dream-come-true for many of our NJTL players,” said USTA Southern Director of Diversity, NJTL and Grants Cee Jai Jones. “Not only will some experience their first flight, but they will also meet an ATP World Tour pro player and get autographs at a professional tournament, which is a special treat.”

Here are the winners, hometowns and NJTL chapters:

  • Abeni Perkins; Birmingham, Ala.; James Lewis Tennis Scholarship Foundation NJTL
  • Crystal Walker; Atlanta; Coach Wink’s NJTL
  • Ezekiel Salama; Shelbyville, Ky.; Rising Stars of Kentucky
  • William Bostick; New Orleans; A’s & Aces
  • Jordan Jones; Greenville, Miss.; Greenville CTA/NJTL
  • Jannah Said; Raleigh, N.C.; Raleigh Parks & Recreation (Right)
  • Drew Bobey; Daniel Island, S.C.; South Carolina Junior Tennis Foundation
  • Helena Angel Sanders; Memphis, Tenn.; Tennis Memphis

This year’s essay contest 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.

All youngsters submitted their essay for national review. Three Southern youth were selected for national recognition and a trip to New York for the Arthur Ashe Kids Day as part of the US Open festivities. State winners were selected by a five-person panel.

The National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network is a nationwide network of community tennis organizations seeking to develop the character of young people through tennis and education. NJTLs are unique because they offer a variety of on-court programming and also educational and life skill components designed to enhance a child’s overall development.

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The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. It owns and operates the US Open, the largest annually attended sporting event in the world, and launched the US Open Series linking seven summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns about 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic games. A not-for-profit organization with more than 648,000 members, it invests 100 percent of its proceeds in growing the game. It is divided into 17 sections, of which USTA Southern is the largest. The 158,000+ USTA members living in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee make up USTA Southern, and account for nearly 25 percent of the total USTA membership. A professional staff housed in Peachtree Corners, Ga., carries out USTA Southern’s daily operations, but policy is formed and much of the organization’s work is executed via a board and committee structure of more than 200 volunteers. For more information about the types of programs and services offered by USTA Southern, visit www.southerntennis.com.

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Media Contact:

Ron Cioffi, USTA Southern

W: 770-368-8200 x112

C: 770-378-7856