TEMPE, Ariz. – Everyone wants to have a memorable story to tell when they reflect back on their first trip to college.
Chloe Henderson’s tale will be a good one.
As one of 10 national winners (out of 2,800 applicants) of the 18th annual NJTL Arthur Ashe Essay Contest, Henderson, a Williams College freshman and member of the women’s tennis team, was invited on behalf of the USTA Foundation to a weekend trip to New York City, where she and the nine other winners took in a Broadway show (Aladdin), sat in the President’s Box at the US Open during Arthur Ashe Kids Day, saw a private screening of the Althea Gibson biopic, and had lunch with NJTL donors and USTA representatives at the Yale Club.
“The trip really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Henderson.
If all that wasn’t enough, Henderson punctuated the weekend with a final snapshot before hopping on a train to Williams College, where she’s planning on majoring in biology.
“I got to meet Caroline Wozniacki and take a selfie with her,” said the Las Vegas, Nevada, native. “That was amazing.”
The essay prompt for 2016 was centered on how one’s skills on the tennis court have impacted the development of your character and how you address personal challenges on and off the court. Henderson said was surprised when word came that she’d been selected as a national winner.
“I thought my sister’s essay was better than mine,” said Henderson, who was valedictorian of the Class of 2016 at West Career and Technical Academy High School, a four-time state doubles champion and a member of the Mary Hennessy Inspiring Children Foundation. “When I received the call, Barbara Wynn, who was part of the selection committee said that she really connected to my essay, which was about the lies that live in your head. With the 350-word limit, I really had to work to trim some words out and make the essay concise.”
Henderson’s head coach at Williams, Alison Swain, said that the freshman embodies the type of player that will represent Williams well, both on and off the court.
“The longer I've coached college tennis, the more I have come to realize that recruiting great character and building character in our program is as important as identifying players with tennis ability,” said Williams women’s tennis head coach, Alison Swain. “As I got to know Chloe through our recruiting process, it became clear that Chloe embodies the kinds of values that are part of our team culture. She is smart, hard-working, positive, and determined. I was excited to hear that her Arthur Ashe essay was chosen as a national winner. Chloe has great perspective on tennis and the lessons it has taught her thus far. I am thrilled to have Chloe as part of our program here at William for not only her tennis but more importantly the values which she approaches the game.”
In her short time on campus, Henderson has already grown to appreciate the culture that exists in the Ephs’ women’s tennis program.
“Everyone is striving to get better on and off the court every day, and that’s been inspiring to me,” said Henderson. “Our first team meeting, we talked about building a good team chemistry. There’s no drama on this team and I believe that’s a big reason why teams here have been able to achieve all of the success they’ve had over the last 10-plus years.”
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