Student essay earns trip

Jackson St. Richard School sixth-grader Edderek Cole was one of 10 youngsters chosen from a pool of more than 2,800 entrants to attend the U.S. Open Tennis tournament thanks to an essay about how lessons learned on the tennis court can help development and character off it.
The Arthur Ashe Essay Contest was open to students 18 and younger who participate in National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) programs across the country.
This year’s essay contest focused on tennis legend and pioneer Althea Gibson and her ability to show unwavering strength and courage in the face of adversity. That enabled her to become a trailblazer in the tennis world as the first African-American Grand Slam and U.S. Championships winner. This year’s question asked: “How have your skills in tennis impacted the development of your character and how you address your personal challenges on and off the court?”
The winners were honored at the Yale Club in New York City and invited to Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, where they’ll received VIP status in the President’s Box.
The weekend wrapped up with an awards luncheon on Sunday, Aug. 28, hosted by USTA Foundation chairman and former world No. 4 James Blake and former New York City mayor and USTA board member David Dinkins. This marks the 18th annual contest hosted by the USTA Foundation, the national charitable organization of the United States Tennis Association.
“This year’s Arthur Ashe Essay contest winners consist of a talented group of students from some of our most outstanding NJTL programs,” said Dan Faber, USTA Foundation executive director. “This year’s responses were some of the most phenomenal ones we’ve read as they truly highlighted their individual experiences and personal strengths as a result of the positive impact tennis has had on their lives. We are proud of their hard work.”