Arthur Ashe Essay Contest winners recognized at US Open

September 2, 2015 10:44 AM

By Ashley Marshall,

Young tennis players from across America were honored at the US Open after winning a competition that highlighted local National Junior Tennis and Learning heroes in their community.

A group of 10 students ages 9 and 18 were honored as the recipients of the 2015 Arthur Ashe Essay Contest awards. As part of their award, the honorees got to watch the 2015 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day celebration as VIP guests in the President’s Box inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. They also received an honorary plaque at a celebration luncheon hosted by USTA Foundation Chairman and former world No. 4 James Blake and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.

The Foundation, the charitable arm of the USTA, invited NJTL participants to write an essay about a leader in their community who shared the same vision of NJTL co-founder Charlie Pasarell. Pasarell, along with Arthur Ashe and Sheridan Snyder, founded NJTL in 1969 to develop a program that would have a positive impact on under-resourced children by introducing them to tennis, keeping them off the streets and encouraging them to stay in school.

The winning essays were selected based on message clarity and writing style.

"We want to congratulate this year’s Arthur Ashe Essay Contest winners and commend them on their ability to so aptly communicate the positive impact their NJTL hero has played in their lives,” said USTA Foundation Executive Director Dan Faber. “The USTA Foundation is excited to honor NJTL co-founder Charlie Pasarell through this annual tradition. His work and influence continues to impact today’s NJTL participants through the leaders who work tirelessly to uphold the mission and goals set-forth by Pasarell, Ashe and Snyder.”

The 10 winners of the 2015 Arthur Ashe Essay Contest were selected in the following categories:

Category NJTL
Boys/Girls 10 and Under  
Jay Doscher, 10, North Wales, Pa. Legacy Youth Tennis and Education
Kelly Mejia Solares, 9, Delray Beach, Fla. Tennis PALs
Boys/Girls 11-12  
Alfredo Reyes Jr., 12, Jacksonville, Fla. MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation
Lindsey Lunn, 11, Greenville, Miss. Four Aces CTA NJTL
Boys/Girls 13-14  
Colston Streit, 14, Indianapolis NJTL of Indianapolis
Mia Oliver, 14, Denver East Side Tennis Association
Boys/Girls 15-16  
CD Lonnie Watkins, 16, Atlanta Coach Wink's NJTL
Camile Quick, 16, Atlanta Atlanta Youth Tennis & Education Foundation
Boys/Girls 17-18  
Christian Ruas, 1, Minneapolis Fred Wells Tennis & Education Center
Mikayla Smith, 17, DeSoto, Texas NJTL of Dallas




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