In 2009, World TeamTennis started a new scholarship program to recognize Katherine Willette, who has helped run the WTT Junior Nationals Tournament in San Diego for over 14 years. The scholarship annually awards $300 to one male and one female attendee of WTT Junior Nationals. Winners are chosen based on essays that they submit which demonstrate a variety of lessons learned, friendships made, and the impact of the co-ed team format on the individual player and his or her team.
Two participants from the 2009 World TeamTennis Junior Nationals Tournament have been awarded the Kathy Willette Leadership Scholarships after having life-changing experiences through taking part in the tournament. The female recipient is Long Island's Devlin-Ann Ammendola, from Farmingdale High School. She has been granted a scholarship award of $300 from WTT Charities for their achievement.
Long Island Tennis Magazine congratulates Devlin on her great accomplishment .Below is a copy of Devlin's winning essay:
World TeamTennis Junior Nationals Reflection
By Devlin-Ann Ammendola
2009 Katherine Willette Leadership Scholarship Essay Winner
By far, one of my favorite tennis nationals I have been to would without a doubt be the World TeamTennis Junior Nationals in San Diego this past summer. This national was a great experience for me and many other junior players as well. What I liked about it the most was the change in style of play. I loved how it was a team competition and how you became so close with your teammates throughout the competition. The bonds I have made with my teammates will never go away, we still talk as much as we can and see each other at other junior tournaments all the time. I learned that under the circumstances given which was one set per match, you have to start out strong. I thought that the rules were very creative and made the competition so much more fun and different than us junior players were used too. A change up in the game is always fun because it is exciting. My favorite new aspect of the game was how you could substitute players in and out depending on how their level of play was that day; it really taught us how to be strategic. I also liked how in order to win the whole match between the two teams you had to have the highest amount of games, not sets won, so you still have the motivation to keep trying and win as many games as you can!
One other rule I loved was how your coach could talk to you after every point as necessary to give you quick tips that could really help you in the long run. Without those tips I know I could not have won as many points. Also, the coed team style format was a lot of fun considering we played mixed doubles everyday. It was definitely different but very exciting and intense since you’re incorporating men’s and women’s doubles in one game! I loved how my team was so supportive and it was inspirational to see the other team’s spirit as well.
Besides the tennis part of the World TeamTennis trip, my teammates, our coach, and I had so much fun together. I have never met any other people I have bonded more with. After tennis our favorite thing to do was get dressed, go out to dinner, and go to the beach and shops at night. This made the trip so much more exciting since we got to see how beautiful San Diego is. I also loved the feeling of being independent and traveling alone without parents, it really gives you the independence you need in the future if you want to travel for tennis.
The restaurants, beaches, and shopping in San Diego are unbelievable; I had the time of my life and I know my teammates did as well. I plan on attending the next WTT Nationals next summer as well and highly recommend it to other junior players!