Juniors from USTA Texas submitted essays for their chance to represent the section in the NJTL National Essay Contest. Ultimately, 10 kids ages 10 to 18 were selected as the USTA Texas Essay Contest winners.

The contest was exclusive to children who participate in National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters nationwide. This year’s question asked: "What is the most important lesson you have learned thus far through NJTL, and how does that lesson help you in your life as a student, a tennis player, and an individual?"

To enter the contest, students were asked to write an essay of 350 words or fewer.

“The most important lesson I have learned is giving back to my community through tennis,” wrote 17-year-old Brady Brazda of the Houston Tennis Association. “That means using leadership skills I have gained through NJTL to be a hard-working student, competitive player, and overall respectful person to those around me...”

“The most important lesson I learned in my tennis class was sportsmanship,” nine-year-old Khadhija Bint-Khalid of Dallas Tennis & Education Academy wrote. “Tennis made me treat my opponent with respect and honor the game...In tennis, good sportsmanship matters...It also helped me to work together with my sisters at home. Whether you win or lose, you need to be ready to focus on the next point as if it is a new battle.”

Three Chapters are represented, with Dallas Tennis and Education Academy leading the way with five.

Below is a full list of Texas winners who were nominated for the national contest winner to attend the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day in New York.

10U Boy – Levi Banez, Dallas Tennis & Education Academy

10U Girl – Khadhija Bint-Khalid, Dallas Tennis & Education Academy

12U Boy – Diego Rivera, Dallas Tennis & Education Academy*

12U Girl – Sasha Cabral, Houston Tennis Association

14U Boy – Kevin Pena, Dallas Tennis & Education Academy

14U Girl – Janelle Frazier, Dallas Tennis & Education Academy

16U Boy – Brian Hernandez, Tennis Success (Corpus Christi)

16U Girl – Camille Blecher, Houston Tennis Association*

18U Boy – Brady Brazda, Houston Tennis Association

18U Girl – Mauricia Gallegos, Tennis Success (Corpus Christi)

On August 9, the USTA Foundation announced Diego Rivera and Camille Blecher as two of the 10 National winners of the 20th annual NJTL Essay Contest. Rivera and Blecher each received a trip to New York City for three days and earned VIP status in the President’s Box as part of 2018 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day powered by Net Generation, the annual youth celebration that precedes the US Open. The 2018 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day will be held Saturday, Aug. 25, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open.

“The USTA Foundation is delighted to host another group of bright and talented NJTL students in New York City,” said Dan Faber, Executive Director, USTA Foundation. “Their heartfelt essays are a true reflection of the powerful impact that NJTL’s have on young lives and in their local communities. We are honored to recognize the national winners with this opportunity and look forward to hearing about their experience at this year’s luncheon.”