Allyce Harrison doesn't consider herself to be much of a writer.
In fact, she claims she doesn't particularly enjoy writing.
So imagine her surprise when she won the National Arthur Ashe Essay Contest last month, which included a three-day all expenses paid trip to New York.
"I was shocked I won because I finished it the day before it was due," she said.
Harrison, who spent Tuesday and Thursday evenings this summer getting free tennis lessons at the McAdams Tennis Club and Foundation for National Junior Tennis and Learning, was asked if Arthur Ashe's greatest accomplishment was being the first African-American to win a U.S. Open tennis tournament.
"I don't think that was (Ashe's) greatest accomplishment because he did other things like raise awareness for AIDS and other things in society that are more important than sports," the 13-year old Harrison said.
Harrison and her mom left at 5 a.m. Friday morning for New York, where they will attend a Broadway show, be a part of Arthur Ashe's Kid's Day at the U.S. Open, go to a Mets baseball game and get a tour of the city, among other activities.
"The ferry ride to tour the city is what I am most excited about," Harrison said. "I've only seen the Statue of Liberty in pictures, so it will be neat to see it in person."
In 1969, Ashe founded the NJTL to introduce inner city kids to tennis. He also wanted to make sure that tennis organizations combined the sport with education. NJTL gives kids an opportunity to write essays as an educational component of their tennis programs.
"Having organizations like these are really important," said Alexander Lee, the president and head instructor of McAdams. "We get some kids who are too small to play basketball or football. To play tennis, size doesn't matter that much, so they can come on in and get education as well."
Harrison said she isn't much of a tennis player. Her uncle asked her last spring if she wanted to give McAdams a try and she agreed. She considers tennis a fun thing to do in the summer.
"I've met some good friends here," Harrison said. "I can interact with others and become a better writer. It's a good way to spend the summer."