WHITE PLAINS, NY - USTA Foundation, the national charitable organization of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), today announced that Lea Bergman of Laramie, Wyo. is one of 10 winners of the 16th annual NJTL Arthur Ashe Essay Contest in the Girls 15/16 category. She along with the other winners, ranging in ages from 10 to 18, were selected out of close to 2,600 entries submitted last month. Each winner will receive a New York City travel package from Aug. 22 to Aug. 24.
Bergman will receive round-trip airfare to New York City for herself and a parent/legal guardian. The trip also includes a two-night stay at the Grand Hyatt 42nd Street; tickets to New York’s critically acclaimed theatrical show “THE RIDE”; a Circle Line Liberty Cruise sightseeing tour; and VIP status in the President’s Box during the 2014 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess on Aug. 23 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The weekend will wrap up with an awards luncheon on Aug. 24, hosted by former New York City Mayor and USTA board member David Dinkins, where the winners will receive an honorary plaque.
The ninth grader is a member of the University of Wyoming (UWYO) NJTL program. In addition to playing tennis, Bergman also participates in musical theater.
To enter the contest, children were asked to write an essay of 350 words or less, responding to a specific question about Arthur Ashe and his great accomplishments. This year’s question asked – “Arthur Ashe used his time and skills to impact others – how have you used your time and skills learned through tennis and educational programming to impact the lives of those around you?” A USTA sub-committee selected the winning essays based on knowledge of Arthur Ashe, message clarity and writing style.
"The USTA Foundation is proud of this year’s Arthur Ashe Essay contest winners," said Dan Faber, Executive Director, USTA Foundation. “This is a particularly exciting year for the foundation, as we have joined with the NJTL network. It’s a unique opportunity for us to continue supporting students who are truly deserving of this recognition. Their response to this year’s question is truly profound, and reflects the ideals and inspiration behind Arthur Ashe’s leadership and legacy. Congratulations!"
In January 2014, the USTA Foundation, formally USTA Serves, combined with USTA NJTL, a national network of 630 community-based tennis and education programs serving more than 330,000 youth, to become a fully operational foundation. This marks the 20th anniversary of the USTA Foundation and the 45th anniversary of NJTL, which was founded by Arthur Ashe, Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder.