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Missouri Valley / Oklahoma

Crow, Powell Named Gold Star Honorees

June 24, 2020

In honor of our 100th anniversary in 2020, the USTA Missouri Valley is recognizing 100 deserving tennis providers, players, partners and more each month.


Selected nominees will be given a Gold Star award, recognizing them for the contributions they are making to support and grow the game in the USTA Missouri Valley based on specific program areas and attributes. 


Oklahoma award winners for June are Jenny Crow and Sergeant Major Kenneth Powell.


Tell us a little bit about what you do and how you got into this position.

Crow: I currently teach elementary physical education at Adams Elementary in Norman, Okla. and have served in this position for 15 years. After receiving an athletic scholarship (competitive swimming) at the University of North Texas I went on to complete my degree in Kinesiology. I then returned to my hometown of Norman to coach the high school swim team and teach physical education. Having been a competitive swimmer most of my life I make it a priority to introduce lifetime sports to my students during PE in which they can feel successful and enjoy throughout their life. After being introduced to and implementing the Net Generation curriculum, tennis quickly became a favorite part of PE for students and for me! 


Powell: I retired from the Army in 1994, after almost 24 years of service. I was hired by Tulsa Public Schools upon retirement. I started teaching high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Memorial High School in 1994. JROTC is a leadership program that teaches students how to be better citizens in life. It is an elective credit, 4-year program, but students do not have to be in it for all four years. First and above all it is not a recruitment class - there is not a requirement to go into the military. I have always loved teaching - even in the military you have to teach new things. 


Why do you do what you do? What is your favorite part of what you do? 

Crow: Serving as a physical educator gives me the ability to impact students’ lives in a positive way by forming positive relationships, introducing them to a variety of physical activities in which they can feel successful and educating them on the benefits of leading an active lifestyle throughout their lives. It is my hope that each student leaves my classroom feeling confident, competent and loved. 


Powell: I love to see every student walk across the stage on graduation, and to see them start a new chapter in their lives. Some go in the military and some go to college right off and others go to work then to college but all are making a difference in their, and others, lives. We have students that have gone on the military and have become high ranking officers and we have one the is working in the Department of Homeland Security. The program is not just for the ones that are very smart and athletic it is for everyone that wants to have discipline and be very structured in school.


How do USTA programs assist you in your community? What advice do you have for those who'd like to run a program or get more people on the court? 

Crow: The amazing support my students and I have received from USTA staff (Laura Puryear and Becky Riggs) has been crucial in the success of my program. Having little to no tennis background - teaching a tennis unit before Net Generation seemed daunting. With the knowledge and support provided, tennis has quickly become my students’ most popular and successful unit each year. The community partner in our area has also served as a resource by providing additional classes for students wanting to go further in the sport. My advice to people wanting to start a program would be, “Go for it!” The support and resources you receive will set you up for nothing but success. While I feel it more appropriate for me to be thanking you for transforming my physical education program and providing students with an opportunity otherwise not possible to them I’d like to thank USTA Missouri Valley for this honor. 


Powell (Powell’s JROTC Color Guard has presented the colors at Junior Team Tennis Section Championships for the past two years): USTA programs can be very good for every student. We have tennis players in our program and they love to play tennis. The staff is very good with the students and teaches them that they have to have discipline to work hard and learn how to do the things that will help them grow in life and in tennis. Your staff has makes sure that they listen, above all else, to what is going on around them. The big advice I would tell you is tell your staff never, never let a student leave not know what they have accomplished for that day. If you show compassion that you care, you will get more tennis players on the court.


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