2020 NJTL Essay Grant recipients celebrated in virtual ceremony

A collage of this year's NJTL Essay Grant honorees.
September 28, 2020 04:00 PM

Unable to gather together in person as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, recipients of this year's NJTL Essay Grant were celebrated in a special virtual ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Ten student-athletes ages 10 to 18 from National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters from around the country were selected for this honor from over 1,000 applicants that answered the essay question, ’Everyone measures success differently. How do you strive for success in terms of your character development, education or tennis?’, in fewer than 350 words. 

Among the speakers who addressed the student-athletes at the event were current USTA Foundation Chairperson and 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert, former USTA Foundation Chairperson James Blake, and Daymond John of ABC’s Shark Tank, a member of the USTA Foundation’s Celebrity Council.

Also present virtually for the event Barbara Wynne, a longtime champion of the youth development programs and the co-founder of NJTL of Indianapolis; USTA Foundation Board of Directors’ President, Tom Chen; and Executive Director of the USTA Foundation, Dan Faber.

WWE superstar Thaddeus M. Bullard, known as Titus O’Neil in the ring, gave a keynote address, while several professionals from Deloitte also offered their words of wisdom to the youths. 

They included Dr. Terri Cooper, Chief Inclusion Officer, and New York managing partner Roger Arrieux. In addition, the student-athletes were treated to a mindfulness and meditation session from Deloitte's Courtney Mainwaring, teaching them the importance of blocking out distractions to achieve their goals - a skill that they can apply in tennis, in education and in life.

"This virtual event to honor these student-athletes was an incredible success," Faber said. "In a challenging year for many, we are proud to have been able to come together and honor them and their achievements in a unique and memorable celebration. We're looking forward to supporting them in their future endeavors, both on and off the court."

Each student-athlete's NJTL chapter will receive a $6,000 total directed grant. A total of $5,000 will be utilized to support the essay authors in chapter-related programming participation costs and expenses, and $1,000 will be utilized by the chapter for the administration of the same.



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