Shannon Johnson Elementary is excited to announce the start of their new USTA 10 and Under Tennis Program. USTA School Tennis provides in-school and extracurricular programming for students in grades K-12. The primary goals of the program are a positive first-time experience, perceived competence, fun and fitness. Another important element is to help schools meet their health and wellness requirements. USTA School Tennis provides in-school and extracurricular programming for students in grades K-12.
Kathy Todd, PE instructor, kicked off the new program by inviting Christy Herring, the USTA Southern 10 and Under Tennis Coordinator for Lexington, to come to SJE. In one day, 500 kids were introduced to the life-long game of tennis and learned tennis skills, tennis etiquette and that tennis is a life-time sport and lots of fun.
“The students were so excited and eager to learn about tennis," Todd said. "They had smiles on their faces and really enjoyed learning more about it. Our plan is to grow and develop our program into an afterschool tennis club and encourage tennis as a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy.”
10 and Under Tennis is a revolutionary change in the way kids learn and play tennis, as well as compete. It is structured for kids to learn tennis, rally and play quickly in a way that is both enjoyable and rewarding. Tennis is following the formula that the majority of youth sports have used for years – tailoring kids tennis equipment and courts to a child’s size and age so that they develop skills and have fun right from the start.
The Hechemy family has had a passion for tennis for generations. The late Dr. Cherif Hechema was a huge tennis advocate and player in the Berea area for years. His nephew Jeff Hechemy played tennis for the University of Massachusetts and Eastern Kentucky University in college and continues to play in USTA leagues and local tournaments. The love of tennis from this family with three small children opened Todd's eyes to what a fun sport this can be for the entire family no matter how young.
Jeff currently holds the number one ranking for Men’s 30’s Doubles with partner, Chad Dyer in the USTA Southern Region and in Kentucky. Jeff and Chad have held USTA National, Regional and State rankings and have won approximately 55 Doubles Tournaments in Berea. The Hechemy family has joined SJE in bringing USTA tennis to the school. They have been a huge source of encouragement and support.