2021 NJTL Essay Contest winners announced, to be recognized in virtual ceremony

This year's awardees hail from a diverse range of backgrounds and different NJTL programs.
October 5, 2021 03:00 PM

Ten student-athletes from around the country were announced as winners of the 23rd annual NJTL Essay Contest by the USTA Foundation on Tuesday. The winners, ranging in age from 10 to 18, all participate in National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters nationwide and were selected from more than 1,100 entries submitted this summer. 

Due to the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s winners will be recognized during a virtual awards ceremony on Oct. 21, and each will also receive a trip to New York City in 2022. The trip includes round-trip airfare for the winner, along with a parent/legal guardian, for a two-night stay that will include multiple cultural experiences around NYC and the unique opportunity to hit in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Full details of the trip are still to be finalized and announced. 

“We want to congratulate and applaud this year’s essay contest winners whose leadership, discipline and work ethic is truly what the NJTL network is all about,” said Dan Faber, Executive Director, USTA Foundation. “We also want to thank our presenting sponsor Deloitte who once again has stepped up for kids across the country and joined our efforts to ensure kids have access to the powerful combination of tennis and education, and opportunities that will empower them to achieve their dreams on and off the court.”

To enter the contest, students were asked to answer the following question in an essay of fewer than 350 words: “Robert Ryland was an accomplished tennis player and coach. He was known for seeing the possibilities in those he coached and within himself. Mr. Ryland was the first African-American professional tennis player and the first African-American to play in the NCAA National Championships. What facts about his story inspire you to break boundaries and excel in school, sports, and to follow your dreams? What are your possibilities?” 

Deloitte, part of the largest global professional services network, returned as the presenting sponsor of the NJTL Essay Contest and virtual ceremony. 

“It is an honor to support our next generation of leaders,” said Dr. Terri Cooper, Deloitte’s vice chair of external diversity, equity and inclusion. “We are proud to play a part in helping students dream big and seize the opportunities that await them and we are looking forward to celebrating their accomplishments at the virtual ceremony in October.”

The 10 winners of the 2021 NJTL Essay Contest, from 10 different NJTLs, are as follows:

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