Each year the United States Tennis Association Foundation (USTAF) holds its annual essay contest. There are only 10 winners aged 10 through 18 from over 1000 entries. One of this year’s winners was LEGACY’s own Adelaide Wrona! Adelaide, a 5th grader from Narberth, answered the essay prompt by writing about LEGACY coach Kein Wilson. “I wrote about Coach Kein because of his character and his coaching style. We weren’t sure what to expect and it was his coaching that made me feel at home,” said Adelaide.
The essay prompt focused on a quote from Althea Gibson: “No matter what accomplishments you make, someone helped you.” In her essay, Adelaide writes “I hadn’t played tennis before but (Coach Kein) still made me feel like a professional. He had a bond with every single kid even if they were new.” Gibson, who was the first African American to win a Grand Slam title, had a long and illustrious career in both professional tennis and golf.
The winners, along with their parent/legal guardian, received a trip to New York City from August 23rd to August 26th. The trip was sponsored by the USTAF and Deloitte and included a tour of Deloitte’s New York City office and a trip to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, N.Y. Essay contest winners also received honorary certificates at a special luncheon held at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel. It was at this luncheon that Adelaide was able to meet Michelle. “I met Michelle, the woman who runs the estate of Althea Gibson. I got the chance to sit with Michelle at the Hilton and look through Althea Gibson’s actual photo albums! Althea Gibson confronted so many barriers in her life as a black woman, and yet she was still able break barriers, win a Grand Slam and even multiple Wimbeldons.”
At the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the home of the US Open, Adelaide and the other winners got to meet and play with Bob and Mike Bryan. The “Bryan Brothers” as they’re well known are the identical twin duo with 16 Grand Slam titles. “At first, when we played with the Bryan Brothers, we went to a relatively small court and played this game where they hit the ball to us, either high or low and we had to catch it. Second, we played a game of tennis which was a little bit harder for me because I’m a beginner. The whole Tennis Center was a once in a lifetime experience and it was amazing.”
All 10 winners varied in age and background, but Adelaide emphasized how well they got along saying “I appreciated meeting other tennis players who live all over the country. We felt like a group of friends almost right away. I met Giselle, who was just starting to play tennis in college, and I really looked up to her. I also met Cayden. My favorite thing about Cayden’s family was that her aunt and her Mom’s friend both came to the banquet and it was beautiful to see how much support she had.”