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A.C.E. Project in Newark Preparing Tennis Players for College

July 9, 2012 10:59 AM
Malcolm X Shabazz High School Girls Tennis Team with Trophy from Newark Championships
It’s been five years since Reach for College’s A.C.E. Project began preparing high school tennis players in Newark for higher education.
And since that time, the program –the A.C.E. Project, which stands for Achieving through Coaching and Education – has nearly doubled in size, with about 50 student tennis players from four public schools participating in the program.
The tennis players – from Weequahic, Malcolm X Shabazz, East Side and Technology High Schools - have attended classroom sessions on a range of topics, from researching colleges and understanding financial aid, to writing college admission essays and preparing for admission tests. At the same time, many of them have played on their high school tennis teams and become certified as USTA 10 and Under Tennis instructors.
"The students are learning about the wide range of opportunities that tennis provides, and gaining the skills they need to succeed in college and beyond," said Adele Johnson, a retired teacher from Malcolm X Shabazz and one of the program's original facilitators
Among those who participated in the program was Khia Johnson, who attended sessions led by Adele Johnson during lunch at Weequahic High School the past two years.
"It has helped me a lot," said Khia, who will be studying biology and pre-medical studies at Union County College in the fall. "It has helped me get on track with school and it has showed me that there is more to college than playing tennis."
Khia has also learned that there is more to tennis than just playing. Last year, she attended Camp A.C.E., USTA Eastern’s annual week-long overnight camp at Ramapo College of New Jersey.
In addition to receiving instruction from former professional tennis players and learning about potential careers in the tennis industry, Khia and the campers were trained to teach 10 and Under Tennis, a new USTA initiative that is introducing children to tennis with kid-friendly courts and equipment. This summer, Khia is hoping to teach 10 and Under Tennis at a camp in New Jersey.
Linda Mann, Managing Director of Community Tennis Development for USTA Eastern, said Khia’s achievements both on and off the court is what the A.C.E. Project and Camp A.C.E. are all about.
"Our goal is to for students to understand that tennis is not just a sport, but a path to success throughout their lives," said Mann. "And Khia and the many students in the A.C.E. programs are well on their way."
For more information about the A.C.E. Project, contact Linda Mann at