WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The United States Tennis Association (USTA) today announced that Cody Stewart of Duncanville, Texas, is one of 10 winners of the 15th annual USTA/ NJTL Arthur Ashe Essay Contest in the Boys 17-18 category. He along with the other winners, ranging in ages from 10 to 18, were selected from more than 1,800 essays submitted earlier this month. Each winner will receive a New York City travel package from Aug. 23-Aug. 25.
Stewart, a member of the Dallas Tennis Association NJTL program, will receive a round-trip coach airfare to New York City for himself and a parent/legal guardian. The trip also includes two nights at the Grand Hyatt 42nd Street, and President’s Box tickets to the 2013 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess on Aug. 24 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The weekend will wrap-up with an awards luncheon on Aug. 25, hosted by former New York City Mayor and USTA Board Member David Dinkins, where the winners will receive an honorary plaque.
Stewart, 18, is a senior at Duncanville High School and started playing tennis at the age of 12 with the local NJTL chapter, Slam Jammers. When not playing tennis, Stewart takes Advanced Placement classes at school and was also a member of the state-qualifying Academic Decathlon team. He also enjoys theater and works behind the scenes for school performances as a theater technician. Stewart will continue his education and tennis career at Austin College where he will major in History and English working toward becoming a teacher.
“Once again, the annual Arthur Ashe essay contest provides an opportunity for NJTL students to showcase their talents through written expression,” said Kurt Kamperman, USTA Chief Executive of Community Tennis. “This year’s essay question should generate some thoughtful responses in reflecting on the principles that Arthur stood for. In its 15th year, the essay contest continues to honor talented students who aspire to follow in his footsteps. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Arthur’s passing, and we are proud that his mission and legacy continues to thrive in NJTL programs throughout the country.”
To enter the contest, children were asked to write an essay of 350 words or less responding to a specific question around Arthur Ashe and his great accomplishments. This year’s question – “If you could follow in Arthur Ashe’s footsteps and ‘give back’ to tennis, what would you do to give back to the game and how would it impact others?” A USTA sub-committee selected the winning essays based on knowledge of Arthur Ashe, message clarity, and writing style.
Founded in 1969 by Arthur Ashe, along with Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder, the USTA/National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network is a nation-wide group of more than 660 non-profit youth development organizations that provide free or low cost tennis, education and life skills programming to more than 250,000 children each year. Celebrating its 43rd anniversary this year, NJTL is one of the USTA’s largest community-based offerings.