USTA Southern Shines: 2023 National Essay Contest Winners

November 6, 2023
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USTA Southern's youth shine in the 2023 USTA Foundation’s National Essay Contest, presented by Deloitte. Out of 1,000 national entries, 200 hail from USTA Southern, with nine winners—one from each state. These juniors bag an all-expense paid trip to Charleston, S.C., courtesy of the LTP $100K Women’s USTA Pro Circuit event.

2023 State Essay Contest Winners (including City, State, and 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 youth through more than 250 National Junior Tennis League (NJTL) chapters nationwide, including 71 in USTA Southern. The 2023 Essay Contest drew 21 USTA Southern chapters, with Tennis Memphis NJTL leading submissions, followed by Greensboro (N.C.) Tennis Program Foundation and MACH Academy of Augusta, Ga.

Last month, Deloitte presented 10 National Essay Contest Winners, treated to an enriching weekend in New York City.

Entrants addressed Althea Gibson's quote: "No matter what accomplishments you make, someone helped you." Winners explored the impact of their NJTL chapter on their tennis skills and life. USTA Southern Manager, NJTL & Foundation Jean Marie Simon applauds the winners, expressing hope for their dreams.

Louisiana winner Zaria Curry expresses her joy, saying, "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 Kentucky winner Brooklyn Middleton, praises her daughter's love for tennis and adept expression, highlighting the unique intersection of sports and journalism in her life. She says, “We were incredibly proud of her. She truly loves tennis and is 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”. 

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