Tennis teaches so many life lessons, and through the generous endowment by a former ALTA president and chairman of the board, student-athletes throughout the Atlanta benefit to advance their education by earning this special scholarship. This program designates $20,000 each year to the winners who share a similar skill set of intelligence, volunteerism, and the love of tennis. We have 10 winners this year, several of whom were recognized on center court at the BB&T Atlanta Open presented by First Data.
We are featuring five of the athletes in this edition, while the others will be featured in the November/December issue of Net News.
William Zachary Armbruster
Zach Armbruster learned, at an early age, that winning a tennis championship meant receiving that notorious silver plate. Being a member of a family of tennis players, Zach began taking lessons, played on ALTA’s Junior League teams, and set a goal to win a plate of his own.
“My tennis and ALTA experiences have helped shape me into the person I am today”, says Armbruster. He loved the game so much he began volunteering at a local organization, Special Pops, that teaches tennis to all ages of kids who have special needs.
Has he won a shiny plate of his own? Yes, he has! Now, he has the pleasure of enjoying tennis with his dad and hopes to win a plate again with his dad by his side. That might have to wait for just a short time, as Armbruster graduated from Centennial High School and will be attending the University of Georgia this fall.
Tedy R. Dasher
Tennis has different ways of drawing people in. For Dasher, it was her mom. Whether it was her mother’s commitment to the game, the physical aspect of playing a sport as an adult, or even the cute outfits, Dasher was hooked early.
Playing for 8 years in the junior leagues drove this Lakeside High School graduate to continue to want to improve her skills and technique on the court.
When moving from Junior to Adult leagues, she was thrilled to join her mother’s team and actually play with her mother by her side.
“Surprisingly, I learned how mentally tough my mother is on the tennis court. She is the nicest person in the world, and in the calmest way she turned my mental attitude around after the first set on the court with her, and we crushed it!”
She says ALTA tennis is in her blood and plans to continue to pursue her education at Emory University.
Dylan Rose Elledge
Dylan Elledge also took up tennis at a young age and has enjoyed both the Junior Leagues and the ALTA Challenge Ladder. Playing doubles allowed her to gain confidence in her game and taught her how to encourage and support other teammates. She learned many techniques about tennis, including how to lose gracefully, win graciously, and motivate her teammates to play their best. Elledge says “I would not trade the lessons I’ve learned or the friends I’ve made for anything in this world.” Even though she knows that for many people love means nothing to a tennis player, she believes everyone needs to remember the importance of friendship and competition and the enjoyment and love of the game. Having recently graduated from Marist High School, we want to wish her all the luck in the world as she heads off to join the Irish at the University of Notre Dame.
Tennis can be a strong tie to family, life lessons, friends and memories. That is just how Lambert High School graduate Lauren Heybrook describes her experiences with tennis. She grew up surrounded by a family who played the game. She played her first match with her sister, was taught lessons from her dad who was a tennis pro, and grew up with a mother and brother who played and would later become best friends with her tennis teammates.
So, what are the life lessons she has learned through tennis? She says tennis has taught her the only way to overcome a challenge is to face it head on and power through. “There are no second chances on the court or in life, so give your all at all times.” Heybrook has also enjoyed being a member of the Junior ALTA Challenge Ladder. This gave her the chance to push herself as a player, really forcing her game to improve. She believes as she has grown older, tennis has grown with her.
“Without the game, I wouldn’t be the same person I am. Tennis allowed me to gain confidence on the court and in myself, pushing me to strive to be better in every aspect of my life.” One way she is planning on continuing the joy of tennis and of life is to further her education at Georgia Tech this fall.
For many people of all ages, playing tennis affects everyone in different ways. For some, it’s a place to escape, a refuge of sorts…it’s home. While home is where many of us learn valuable life lessons, Joshua Wolfe says he has learned so much from his tennis playing days. “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but being true to yourself is what does matter,” says Wolfe who graduated from Henry W. Grady High School. Some athletes get completely involved and so caught up in the game, they can lose focus on the person they are when it is over.
Wolfe knew early to always do the right thing, even if the journey was more difficult. His reputation as a person was way more important than winning. As his education continues at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, Wolfe plans to share his love of tennis by taking sports marketing classes to learn strategies for how to market the game of tennis for everyone. He wants to inspire more children to go down the path he did as a scholar athlete. “My goal after college would be to develop more programs that foster the love of tennis in young kids, especially for children without current access to tennis programming. Being able to promote the sport of tennis across the nation would truly mean everything to me.”