SPUT Alumni Spotlight: Jaileah Yang

“It’s a program I grew up with and where all my summer memories reside.”

What led you to start your involvement with Saint Paul Urban Tennis?

My older brother, Chueshe, was someone I looked up to and wanted to be like. When I was younger, he would take tennis lessons with SPUT in the summer, and it made me want to be like him. I had asked my parents if I could play tennis too.

What Programs were you involved with at your time with SPUT?

Throughout my time at SPUT, I was involved in many programs. I first started out by taking summer and fall lessons, then started playing JTT, and eventually made the SPUTniks team. Aside from summer lessons, I participated in the Warrior Leadership Program and coached summer/fall lessons as I got older.

What is your favorite memory with Saint Paul Urban Tennis?

It is hard to choose one favorite memory, but if I had to choose, my all-time favorite memory is the summer of 2022; my first summer coaching tennis. It is a summer that warmed my heart, and I made so many memories with my students and coaches from SPUT. I had learned that I will make an impact on these students’ lives just as the coaches who coached me growing up. This was a summer where I met a lot of new people and was able to make so many memories, but also grow as a person.

How did SPUT develop you as a leader and get you ready for your future endeavors?

Through SPUT, I met so many amazing people who inspired and still inspire me to be a better person. SPUT showed me that I need to use my voice and that my voice matters. SPUT offered me a lot of opportunities that have helped me grow and become a leader. SPUT has helped me envision the path I want to take in the future.

What’s the biggest lesson or take away you learned at your time with SPUT?

The biggest lesson that I learned with my time at SPUT is that it is never too late to start and that it is okay to start over. I have had a lot of ups and downs with tennis and COVID19 stopped me from playing tennis for a few years. Although I was scared to go back to playing tennis, there were so many people who welcomed me back and supported me. Because I decided to start over, I met so many people and made so many memories that I am forever grateful for.

How did SPUT improve your tennis knowledge and abilities?

There were many amazing coaches and friends who gave me great advice and knowledge on and off the tennis courts. What people forget is that you can learn so much just by talking to other people and that is how I gained more knowledge about tennis and life on and off the courts.

What makes Saint Paul Urban Tennis special to you as an Alum?

It is a program I grew up with and where all my summer memories reside. SPUT will always have a special place in my heart, and I will cherish all the memories, whether happy or sad, and people whom I have encountered.

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