By Nicholas J. Walz, USTAFoundation.com
The USTA Foundation has announced the 10 winners of the 16th annual NJTL Arthur Ashe Essay Contest. The 10 winners, ranging in ages from 10 to 18, were selected out of close to 2,600 entries submitted last month. Each winner received a New York City travel package from Aug. 22 to Aug. 24.
To enter the contest, children were asked to write an essay of 350 words or less, responding to a specific question about Arthur Ashe and his great accomplishments. This year’s question asked: “Arthur Ashe used his time and skills to impact others – how have you used your time and skills learned through tennis and educational programming to impact the lives of those around you?”
A USTA subcommittee selected the winning essays based on knowledge of Arthur Ashe, message clarity and writing style.
Each winner received round-trip airfare to New York City for themselves and a parent/legal guardian; a two-night stay at the Grand Hyatt 42nd Street; tickets to New York’s critically acclaimed theatrical show “THE RIDE”; a Circle Line Liberty Cruise sightseeing tour; and VIP status in the President’s Box during the 2014 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess on Aug. 23 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The weekend wrapped up with an awards luncheon on Aug. 24, hosted by former New York City Mayor and USTA board member David Dinkins, where the winners received an honorary plaque.
The 10 winners of the 2014 Arthur Ashe Essay Contest were selected in the following categories:
Category NJTL
Boys & Girls 10 and Under  
Srinath M., 10, New York New York Junior Tennis and Learning (NYJTL)
Makda D., 10, California Youth Tennis Advantage
Boys & Girls 11/12  
Torianh B., 11, Connecticut Norwalk Grassroots Tennis
Marion R., 12, Minnesota InnerCity Tennis
Boys & Girls 13/14  
Daud G., 13, D.C. Leadership Council for Healthy Communities
Ana-Lei K., 13, South Carolina Lowcountry Youth Tennis Association
Boys & Girls 15/16  
Roby W., 16, Maryland Prince George's Tennis and Education Foundation
Lea B., 15, Wyoming University of Wyoming NJTL
Boys & Girls 17/18  
Andreas N., 17, New York  Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program
Jasmine R., 17, Alabama New Lyons Park Tennis Association
"The USTA Foundation is proud of this year’s Arthur Ashe Essay contest winners," said Dan Faber, Executive Director, USTA Foundation. “This is a particularly exciting year for the foundation, as we have joined with the NJTL network. It’s a unique opportunity for us to continue supporting students who are truly deserving of this recognition. Their response to this year’s question is truly profound, and reflects the ideals and inspiration behind Arthur Ashe’s leadership and legacy. Congratulations!"
In January 2014, the USTA Foundation, formally USTA Serves, combined with USTA NJTL, a national network of 630 community-based tennis and education programs serving more than 330,000 youth, to become a fully operational foundation. This marks the 20th anniversary of the USTA Foundation and the 45th anniversary of NJTL, which was founded by Arthur Ashe, Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder.