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Katherine Willette Leadership Scholarship

 

In 2009, Mylan World TeamTennis started a new scholarship program to recognize Katherine Willette (pictured on the right with Billie Jean King), who has helped run the WTT Junior Nationals Tournament in San Diego for over fifteen 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 coed team format on the individual player and his or her team. 
 
One participant from the 2013 World TeamTennis Junior Nationals Tournament was awarded the Kathy Willette Leadership Scholarship after writing about a life-changing experience from taking part in the tournament.  Alexandria Bauer (Central Coast Crushers), from Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.,  has been granted a scholarship award of $300 for her achievement. 
 
 
 

 
 
Alexandria Bauer, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.
Central Coast Crushers
2013 Katherine Willette Leadership Scholarship Essay Winner


Getting to participate in the 2013 World TeamTennis competition was a great experience for me, and I am so glad that I took advantage of the opportunity. Many things made my trip down to the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego fantastically memorable: the friendships I formed, the outstanding support I received from my team, and the lessons I learned while there.

Tennis is a unique sport, in the sense that, for me, it is a completely individual sport, most of the time. Being a singles player, WTT gave me specific opportunities that, otherwise, I would never have been exposed to. As a team, we shared all of our successes together. One player didn’t come out any more of a winner than any of his/her other teammates, and that was something really special to be a part of. I didn’t know any of my teammates prior to joining Bill Dunkle’s Central Coast Crushers team, and I must admit, I was a little nervous going in, but that feeling faded very quickly. The whole team welcomed me with open arms, as did all of the people working the tournament, which I thought was absolutely incredible.
 
Something else that set this tournament apart from any other tennis related function that I have ever participated in, was the fact that all teams were coed. Boys and girls were not only allowed to, but were expected to compete as equals! In all of my tennis experiences, boys were always “on top”, and I had come to accept that, but Billie Jean King taught me something that week: girls can be just as successful in the sport as boys, if we put in the work and give 100% every single time we step out onto that court. Throughout that week I really came to appreciate this lesson that Ms. King was trying to teach us, and by the end of the week, I had learnt it!
 
Something else I learned, and this is a phrase that Billie uses a lot, was to “go for it”! I found that sometimes when I was playing on the court I would back off of shots that I deemed too risky, and this would ultimately end up hurting my game in the long run. Billie showed me the importance of confidence and that sometimes going for it, and taking the risk, even if you miss it or mess up, is better than never trying at all because…eventually you WILL make it. Only as long as you “go for it” and never give up or back down.