Award winning essay receives national recognition in New York City


Freshman Colston Streit gives a speech thanking the USTA for his trip on Aug. 30 at the Yale Club. Attendees include former mayor of New York, and former tennis player, James Blake.

Out of 3,000 considered entries, 10 students’ essays from across the country were carefully selected to win the 17th annual Arthur Ashe Essay Contest. SHS’s very own freshman, Colston Streit, a tennis player for 4 years and counting, was selected to participate in Arthur Ashe’s Kids’ Day.

Charlie Pasarell, one founder of the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL), has played a role in impacted millions of kids around the country for almost 5 decades. NJTL asks participants to answer the question, “Who is a local NJTL hero in your community that resembles what Mr. Pasarell has done through NJTL?”

Streit dedicated his award winning essay to Barbara S. Wynne who founded the program “Riverside Upswing” which became the Indianapolis chapter of the NJTL and the program he’s currently in.

“If I had never started it  my life would be completely different, just about all my friends are tennis players.” Streit says.  “That’s why I chose her. She was a big impact on me.”

Part of Streit’s award was getting to embark on a 4 day trip to New York where the U.S. Open practice courts are located. He had underestimated how large the courts actually were, and how many of them they actually had. He described his experience as new and completely different from what he’s used to from living in Indiana.

Streit says he wasn’t prepared for the big city that is New York. ¨Nothing ever really happens here,¨ Streit says regarding the calm style of living in Indiana. ¨But then you get to New York and all of a sudden you have to walk everywhere you go, or take the subway; there are people everywhere.¨

Along with traveling to New York and getting great seats at the U.S. Open, Streit had the opportunity to see the pro tennis players he’d admired for so long exclusively from television, in person.

¨You realize that they’re human. I don’t know, when you just see them on TV, you just see that little part of them.¨ Streit says.

He exemplified seeing Victoria Azarenka, a Belarusian professional tennis player currently ranked number 21 in the world, laughing and playing with kids no more than 15 feet away. ¨You just realize that they’re people just like you, and it’s inspiring kind of.¨

Characterizing himself as a perfectionist, Streit says the only downside of taking the trip was missing so much school. Other than that, he calls the experience amazing, different, and inspiring.