Three local athletes have been awarded USTA National Diversity & Inclusion Multicultural Grants based on essays submitted by junior players from around the country. The grants help to support the growth of scholar-athletes of ethnic or diverse backgrounds in both academic and athletic endeavors.
Kaylee Kang, a 16-year old from Fullerton, penned an essay as an Asian American Scholar-Athlete. Entitled “Deuces over Doubts,” Kaylee describes the role of tennis in her everyday life, developing from a shy youngster to a self-confident young adult.
“In tennis,” she wrote, “there is little room for self-doubt…. The more I played this sport, the more this undeniable truth is extended to me. I know my strengths and capabilities, and I am no longer afraid to make myself seen.”
Ethan Lopez, a 13-year old from Alhambra, found parallels between himself and the namesake of USTA’s Pancho Gonzalez Scholar-Athlete Grant. Gonzalez, a Mexican-American icon, won two U.S. Championships men’s singles titles and notably brought together fans from all walks of life.
Describing his own qualities of tenacity, courage, and discipline, Ethan is equally proud of his accomplishments in the classroom and on the court. “As a scholar-athlete,” he writes, “it is very important not to be afraid to be challenged in the classroom and on the tennis court.”
Jourdan Wallace, a 16-year old from Pasadena, authored an essay entitled, “Why I Embody the Spirit of Althea.” The grant, which honors the memory, life and achievements of the first African-American Grand Slam champion Althea Gibson, rewards players who exceed expectations both on and off the court.
“I have the courage to play a sport that I not dominated by people of color,” Jourdan begins in her essay. “Willpower propelled (Althea) Gibson through many years of successful and inspirational tennis, because without it success would have (proven) very difficult if not impossible.”
USTA SoCal congratulates all three of our regional winners. Players from 17 sections across the nation submitted essays in various categories, and we are very proud to honor our SoCal scholar-athletes!