Once again, tennis players took to the courts at Connestee Falls to participate in a fundraiser for the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program. This year, twenty-eight tennis players signed up. Teams were assigned on Friday night at the pre-tournament dinner. Tournament committee co-chairs Suzanne Bailey and Cindy Cast went all out to plan a program for the evening. The appetizers and desserts served were all donated by Connestee Falls tennis tournament participants and supporters. Gay Coffin, Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Co-Chair, announced that more than $5,000 had been raised before play even started.
Susan Edmonds, Co-Chair for the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship introduced the evening’s guest speaker, Delaney Holland, a 2018 Connestee Falls Student Scholarship recipient. Delaney attended Brevard High School where she took AP and advanced classes as well as college courses at Blue Ridge Community College. Delaney was also a member of the AIG Honor Society, the National Honor Society, the National Art Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society. In addition to participating in these honor societies which often required community service hours, Delaney also tutored students at Brevard Elementary School, volunteered with the American Red Cross and created art work around town such as a mural at the Brian Center, among other volunteer activities. She also played tennis at BHS and was captain of the women’s team, as well as teaching tennis to local children. Delaney said that tennis shaped her as a woman and that it warmed her heart to see one of her passions being used to raise money to benefit herself and other students in the future. In the fall, Delaney will start college at Clemson University where she plans to study nursing and fulfill her dream of become a NICU nurse.
The Connestee Falls Tennis Tournament started on Saturday morning. Members of the tournament committee and players spent the first hour of scheduled play mopping up the courts. Everyone pitched in to mop, squeegee and brush off the rain water which had fallen during the night. The players had been divided into three teams, humorously named: Wimble and Done, Not My Fault and Mid-Court Crisis. The tournament was finally able to start at about 9am and played until the afternoon. A delicious dinner and announcement of the tournament team winners followed.
In addition to raising money for the Scholarship Program, many players and observers seemed to enjoy their off-court time getting to know each other better. Will Bentley, the youngest player, lives in Atlanta, GA. Will was playing to impress his grandparents, Lorraine and John Garvin, who summer at Connestee Falls. The opportunity to help raise money to send local students to college may have resonated with Will since he will be starting at Georgian Gwinnett College in the fall, studying psychology.
By the end of the tournament, over $6,000 had been raised for the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program, according to tournament co-chair, Cindy Cast. “The Connestee Falls Tennis Tournament is not really a competitive event, she said. The purpose is to have fun and raise some money for a worthy cause.” Because of that, according to Cast, the real winners of the tournament are the students that receive the scholarships.