Iswarya Vel and Pavani Samala, two sophomores who play on Henderson High School’s tennis team, decided to get an early start on their senior project by creating a brand new event for the Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation called the Hendy Tennis Open. The event, actually a tennis clinic for Chester children, turned out to be a huge success. 80 Chester children, ages 9-12, participated in the learning experience and enjoyed a gorgeous Sunday, May 3rd, on the courts!
Iswarya and Pavani began planning for this event back in the winter of 2014. They contacted the USTA/Mid-Atlantic Section and met with them in their offices in Phoenixville to ensure that the event would be a great success. Delia Sescioreanu and Renee Bridges, Tennis Service Representatives from the USTA, completely embraced the idea as it falls in line with what they are all about. As stated on their website, “Our responsibility as the National Governing Body for the sport obligates us to identify and lead in removing barriers to allow us to be inclusive so that tennis reflects all of America.” The USTA contributed greatly to the success of the day, even donating a brand new instructional tennis racquet and balls to every participant!
In advance of all festivities of the day, the girls also collected used tennis racquets and balls so that after the clinic the kids would be able to bring home a racquet for a sibling, friend or guardian so that they would have a partner to play with once back in Chester. Henderson High School, in its continued support of the Foundation, generously offered the courts for a few hours in the afternoon. Iswarya and Pavani were able to recruit 25 high school tennis team buddies to come out and assist with the clinic. Through the support of the USTA, West Chester University tennis players were invited to act as instructors along with some USTA professionals.
Othello Berry, who runs a tennis instructional program in Chester during the summer, stopped by to talk with the kids about the sport and to encourage them to bring their new racquets and balls and to come out to “Tennis With Othello” at Chester Park this summer!
The Chester children were divided into small groups with the HHS and WCU tennis players leading the way, and the courts were broken down into smaller courts for instructional purposes. The day began with a warm introduction and then some eye-hand coordination activities. The children practiced dropping and catching the small ball and then gradually moved to more difficult tasks, ending with using the racquet to make contact with the ball.
Everyone enjoyed a healthy snack and water break, during which time they were entertained by a competitive match of West Chester University tennis mixed doubles! Then it was back on the courts practicing hitting the ball to one another. Iswarya and Pavani’s goal was to introduce the game of tennis to the Chester children and that was accomplished with great fun and new friendships! We look forward to another tennis event with the Chester children next year!
West Chester University Tennis Team
Krapf Bus Company
Henderson High School Athletics
Othello Berry, “Tennis with Othello”