2020 USTA Eastern Scholarship Award Recipients

Scott Sode | October 08, 2020

Two USTA Eastern juniors—Winter Fagerberg and Joshua Mann—received Donald Lawson Tisdel Scholarships from the USTA Foundation this past month. The $10,000 scholarship—named for passionate tennis player and former USTA board member Don Tisdel—is granted annually to high school seniors who participate in an organized tennis program like a National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) organization and who have excelled academically while demonstrating community service. Fagerberg, of the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program, and Mann, of Albany’s 15-Love NJTL organization,  are just two of 22 players across the country to receive this esteemed honor.


Recently, Mann also received the Foundation's Essay Grant. To apply, students were asked to answer the question, "Everyone measures success differently. How do you strive for success in terms of your character development, education or tennis?" USTAF received over 1000 essays in response; Mann was selected as the recipient of the Essay Grant in the Male 17-18 category. Here, Mann—who will be attending SUNY Oneonta in the fall—talks a little bit about his academic pursuits, his love of tennis and his commitment to service. 


Congratulations on receiving these honors from the USTA Foundation! The Donald Lawson Tisdel Scholarship goes to students who embody the belief in giving back to one's community to make it a better place. What are some examples of your community service efforts over the years?

Mann: Throughout the years I have volunteered for the 15-Love program as a tennis instructor for inner city kids. This program has given me many opportunities to give back. I have also volunteered in the children's ministry at my church as an assistant to the teacher.


Why is community service important to you personally?

Mann: Community service is extremely important to me because of how much has been done for me throughout my life as a result of other people's service. The 15-Love organization provided me with free tennis lessons and a program that helped me get to where I am today. I am always grateful for what has been done for me in my life, and there's no better way to show gratitude then to go out and give back [yourself].

What would you say is your biggest is accomplishment in high school? Why are you proudest of that achievement?

Mann: My biggest accomplishment throughout high school is definitely playing three seasons of sports while also maintaining a very good academic record. I'm very proud of my achievements as an athlete. Playing all these sports (cross country, indoor track, and tennis) helped me push myself to work harder and become better than I ever believed possible. I did all of this while ensuring that my academics always came first so I would receive high marks.


What has been your favorite subject?

Mann: All of the science-based classes. I really enjoyed how "hands-on" the classes could be and also always enjoyed learning more about the world I live in and everything I'm surrounded by on a daily basis.


What are some of your personal goals for college? Do you already have an idea of what discipline you'd like to pursue?

Mann: I am going to study biology/ecology and conservation at college. My personal goals are to grow and mature and become even more of an independent adult, as well as continue playing tennis.


Did you first pick up a racquet with 15-Love?

Mann: I first picked up a racquet around the age of 11 when I began going to tennis lessons provided by 15-Love. Ever since then, for the past seven years, I have been nonstop involved in the tennis community in a variety of ways.


What do you love most about the sport?

Mann: The part I love the most is the relationships you make with people along the way. The game has taught me many things, but the most important lesson I’ve learned is that hard work and dedication will always be the keys to progression. Many people I’ve met over the years have helped me come to learn this—which is why my favorite part of tennis is the people you meet while playing or practicing.


Who is your favorite professional player?

Mann: Roger Federer. I didn't start watching tennis up until a couple years ago, but Federer quickly became my favorite. He has a calm demeanor on court and undeniable skill. He is also an extremely humble and respectful player which makes him a great player off the court.


Learn more about the 15-Love organization and the work it has done in the community here.

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