USTA Eastern New Jersey

» News

USTA Eastern, Althea Gibson Early Childhood Academy Host Tennis Assembly

May 29, 2012 10:56 AM
From left to right: Jocelyn Cruz, Michele Byrne, Jeff Rothstein, Dottie Logan, and Elizabeth Fitch.
More than 160 children in East Orange, NJ got a chance to learn and enjoy the benefits of 10 and Under Tennis on May 9, as USTA Eastern instructors presented a school-wide assembly and two classroom clinics at the Althea Gibson Early Childhood Academy. 
The children, from Pre-K to Kindergarten, played singles and doubles, using racquets, balls, and courts designed specifically for kids. The activities were led by Michele Byrne, Dottie Logan, and Jeff Rothstein, USTA Eastern 10 and Under clinicians, and were assisted by Elizabeth Fitch, a Physical Education teacher at the school.
"It was great to give so many kids a chance to see how tennis is played and it was even better to give them a chance to hit balls with us," said Rothstein. "These kids loved their tennis experience. I felt like Althea was watching over us and smiling."
During the assembly, the students shared their thoughts on the importance of Althea Gibson. Afterward, the Eastern clinicians conducted the classroom clinics, which featured stations of fun activities and prizes. 
Byrne, who grew up playing tennis in Newark, NJ, was a ball girl at an exhibition match featuring Gibson years ago. She said the excitement of the children at the assembly felt like Arthur Ashe Stadium during the US Open.
"Many of the students had never seen a live tennis event," said Byrne. "I am honored to have been part of their first experience."
USTA Eastern and the Althea Gibson Early Childhood Academy will continue to support the needs of the community and highlight tennis and personal growth for students.  
For information about hosting a schools tennis program near you, contact Jocelyn Cruz at