NJTL Youth Essay Contest winners announced

Cee Jai Jones | November 06, 2023

Nine USTA Southern youth have been awarded tennis trips based on their essays submitted to the 2023 USTA Foundation’s National Essay Contest presented by Deloitte.


Of the more than 1,000 entries submitted in the national contest, 200 entries were from USTA Southern.


The Southern Section has named nine winners, one from each of the section’s states. These juniors will receive an all-expense paid trip for two to Charleston, S.C., to attend the LTP $100K Women’s USTA Pro Circuit event on Daniel Island this week.

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Winner; City, State; NJTL Chapter

Kaila Welch; Birmingham, Ala.; James Lewis Education & Tennis Foundation

Kristofer Glason; Little Rock, Ark.; Small is the New Big

Maasiai Sales; Fairburn, Ga.; South Atlanta CTA

Brooklyn Middleton; Louisville, Ky.; Rising Stars of Kentucky Tennis

Zaria Curry; Shreveport, La.; Northwest Louisiana CTA

Deneen Mosley; Jackson, Miss.; Friends of Battlefield Park Foundation, Inc.

Elizabeth Jikuri; Winston-Salem, N.C.; Kimberley Park Tennis Association

Scarlett Turnbull; Hilton Head Island, S.C.; Public Tennis, Inc.

Nathan Lee; Memphis, Tenn.; Tennis Memphis


USTA supports young people with more than 250 National Junior Tennis League (NJTL) nonprofit chapters around the country, using tennis with the hope of teaching them the importance of character, getting an education and becoming productive citizens. There are 71 chapters in USTA Southern. 


Twenty-one chapters in USTA Southern participated in the 2023 Essay Contest with the Tennis Memphis NJTL submitting the most essays, followed by the Greensboro (N.C.) Tennis Program Foundation and the MACH Academy of Augusta, Ga.


The USTA Foundation announced 10 National Essay Contest Winners presented by Deloitte last month. The winners enjoyed an eventful weekend in New York City.


To enter the contest, students were asked to answer the following question in an essay of fewer than 350 words. The question for the 2023 Essay Contest: "No matter what accomplishments you make, someone helped you." - Althea Gibson. In this quote, Gibson asks us to think about the people that supported your achievements. In your own words, what does this quote mean? Who from your NJTL chapter helped you, how did they help you, and what impact has this made on your tennis skill and/or life?


“Congratulations to our essay contest participants! The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams and it is our hope that this amazing opportunity helps that journey. We are so proud of our state essay winners,” said USTA Southern Manager, NJTL & Foundation Jean Marie Simon.


Curry, the Louisiana winner, said, “I was so shocked I won, and I just kept asking my mom, ‘Are you serious?’  I’m so happy and excited to watch the pros play.”


Noyana Middleton, mother of Brooklyn Middleton, the Kentucky winner, said, “We were incredibly proud of her. She truly loves tennis and is actually in the Journalism and Communications magnet at her school. So, writing is something she has enjoyed from a very early age. To be able to express herself about the sport she loves is remarkable.”


For a gallery of national downloadable winners, click here.



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