Post-Season Stories: Jadaiah

Coach Burnett is ACE Chicago’s Director of Programs & Services as well as the administrative assistant at Washington Elementary. She has been with The ACE Project since the beginning! To others, her enthusiasm for tennis is palpable. To us, she is our godmother, a loyal someone who we can always rely on. Here is her Post-Season Story:

Jadaiah is a nine-year-old student at Washington School in Riverdale, IL. Jadaiah has been a part of the tennis program since she was in first grade. Jadaiah is a very smart and quiet, but very timid student at Washington School. I think timid describes her perfectly because she displayed a lack of confidence and she seemed very fragile. Jadaiah is very helpful, and when asked to do a chore she doesn’t hesitate. When we invited her into the program she was a little unsure of what was about to happen. Her teacher at the time was Ms. Nicks and she thought it would be a good thing for her to be in the after-school program. She felt like Jadaiah could learn a lot and reap some benefits of being involved with the other students.

It has now been three years. Jadaiah is now in fourth grade. I can see the transformation as it is happening. Jadaiah is now blossoming into this vibrant social butterfly. We have now added the Social Emotional and Academic component of the program.  I have been a part of the Social Emotional component from the beginning and I can see the growth. She actively participates in the group discussions on level that is wonderful, ask lots of questions and shares her experiences openly. She is a joy to have in class. She has shown great progress in tennis, social emotional and academics as well. Everyone has nothing but good things to say about Jadaiah.

I spoke with Jadaiah’s mom and she agrees the program has really helped Jadaiah. She feels like Jadaiah is more confident, self-reliant. She is able to express herself better. Jadaiah is more competitive in sports, games, and in class. Jadaiah has participated in Return The Serve, and the field trips to the AC Nielsen Tennis Center which is a great opportunity for kids to experience live tennis matches and participate in on-court tennis activities. Jadaiah is certainly in the running to become the respectful student model of the tennis world.

My hope is that she will not lose focus and continue to strive to reach her goals. I believe the lessons that have been taught in SEL will help her to succeed. I love the spirit that emerge from her presence. While she can still be somewhat of a loner, she can get involved, interact with her peers and not let the negative behavior from others distract her. She shines with a beautiful smile.