Help Jade - a girl from the Cayman Islands, achieve her academic and sports aspirations in the big world!
I am a 17 year old American/Caymanian and have been living in the Cayman Islands since birth.
Since I was 12 years old, my goal has been to be the first female from the Cayman Islands to play collegiate tennis at a highly ranked University in the United States, and to represent the Cayman Islands in the 2019 Island Games in Gibraltar, and in the 2020 Olympics Games in Japan.
I am a straight-A student with a 4.47 GPA. At Cayman Prep and High School I achieved 8 A*’s, 2 A’s and a B on my International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examinations earning Distinction for the International Certificate of Education, and the Subject Award in Spanish. I was also awarded Sportswoman of the Year. For the last 3 years I have been a proud Dart Minds Inspired Scholar.
Early coaching and junior squad practices are good in Cayman, but the opportunities for advanced players are extremely limited. Because I was determined to keep getting better, I used every opportunity available; from playing in the boys and men’s leagues, to creating my own training and fitness programs. However, I still needed more opportunities to compete and train at a higher level.
I need your help to keep me on the road to success!
Step 1 - Dedication and Hard Work
I started playing tennis when I was 7 years old, taking only one lesson a week with my preschool teacher! I enjoyed the sport, so my Mum took me to the Cayman Islands Tennis Club to join a group lesson. I sat on the side of the court refusing to join in with a group of boys that didn’t seem to want to play with a girl. Finally after 4 weeks, I joined in and haven’t looked back since.
I dedicated myself to the sport and worked hard developing my technique, practicing my serve, playing in the local tournaments and arranging practice matches with any adult willing to play.
Watch Instagram video - Developing My Forehand into a Weapon!
However, I needed more competition, especially against girls. This was going to involve traveling internationally which would get expensive.
Luckily, a family friend stepped in to help. She and her family offered to house me and take me to USTA tournaments in her area of South Carolina, whenever I was able to plan flights around my school schedule and exams.
Step 2 - Hard work pays off! Recognition at Summer Camp
In June 2017, I attended a week of summer camp at one of the world’s top tennis academies, IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
After only a few days of practice, the coaches singled me out and told me how impressed they were by my positive attitude, outstanding work ethic and sportsmanship, and my high intensity in every training session. It was so incredible to be singled out and recognized by the coaches and the Academy.
We agreed that if I were to stay in the Cayman Islands, it would be difficult to achieve my dreams, as there are limited opportunities to compete at a high level and I would be without a coach/mentor to guide me through my next two years of training and the crucial college recruitment process.
I was offered the opportunity to attend the Academy starting in August 2017. Unfortunately, I had to turn the offer down as my family could not afford the $78,250 USD annual tuition fee.
Despite all the hurdles, I continued to work as hard as I could with what is available in Cayman, so that I could somehow reach my goal.
Step 3: Amazing Second Chance Invite
In November 2017, I received an amazing invitation to attend a recruiting weekend at IMG Academy and to further discuss my situation. IMG continued to be impressed by my competitive spirit, good attitude and dedication to tennis. Those qualities, combined with my number 1 ranking in Cayman, led them again to offer me a place, but this time with 25% financial aid assistance.
I am happy to say that I started full time at IMG Academy in January 2018. My academics continue at a high standard with a 4.47 GPA and I am taking my tennis to the next level.
Financially, I am asking for your help to kindly invest in me and my future by sponsoring a portion of the 2018/19 tuition fees. Dart has kindly agreed to continue supporting my Minds Inspired Scholarship upon my transfer to IMG Academy and my parents are doing all they can, but I am still in need of some financial help if I am to complete my training and education there.
Watch National TV Coverage on Cayman 27 Sports - Keeping Jade's Dream Alive!
Testimonial from Cayman Sports!
I am asking for your help in sponsoring US$15,000 towards my tuition fees.
All donations are welcomed, no matter how big or small! Thank you!
- Piper Freeman
- Raquel Selim
- Andrew Zubacs
- Stefan Schiestl
- Irina Blocher
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