WINSTON-SALEM — Reidsville Senior High School’s Anna Thomas was recently named one of the winners of the 2019 USTA Southern National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) Essay winner for North Carolina. She and her mother, Angelika Thomas, along with seven other state essay winners from across the south, attended an all-expenses paid two-day trip to the Winston-Salem Open August 17-18 hosted by USTA Southern and the Southern Tennis Foundation. Thomas is a rising senior at Reidsville High School in the International Baccalaureate program. She plays on the RHS girls tennis team, sang the lead in RHS's spring musical Mama Mia, and worked 50 hours as a first year RCTA summer intern helping six summer day camp partners connect tennis and education both on and off the court with their summer campers. This year marks the 50th anniversary of NJTL.

Anna Thomas’ winning NJTL essay

Question: What specific impact do you hope your chapter can make in your community today that you would want remembered 50 years from now?

Thomas: “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” This quote is by Arthur Ashe and it reminds us that it is not so much important how many professional tennis players started in one of the programs the Rockingham County Tennis Association offered, or how many awards the organization got, but more-so all the little things along the way that impacted someone’s life.

It is the after school activities and the summer camps that introduced a new activity and gave me the opportunity to learn while having fun at the same time. It is the PE tennis class and the high school tournament that fostered this sport in our schools and allowed for a friendly competition and some important lessons on sportsmanship.

It is the improved tennis courts all around the county, the sponsored tournaments, and the free lessons that allow and motivate all to try this sport and improve their skills. Tennis is not just a fun sport, but it teaches so many important life lessons. In today’s more and more competitive and often unkind world, tennis is teaching us some very important lessons about portsmanship, respect, honesty, discipline and perseverance.

Tennis is an individual sport and requires the player to be in control the whole time. It is a game that requires a strong mindset and the willingness to fight for each ball. It requires the player to analyze quickly and to decide how to answer the ball that is coming at them. Tennis is a game of speed and strength while played with elegance that is open to people from all kinds of different backgrounds. So, if we want to answer the question what specific impact the Rockingham County Tennis Association can make today that we want it to be remembered for

50 years from now, the answer is simple: To keep tennis alive in our county, communities, and schools.

For more information about tennis for all ages in Rockingham County, visit

www.rockingham.usta.com and follow the Rockingham County Tennis Association on Facebook.

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