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    Welcome to the Ambassablog! We're the front-line employee bloggers of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and participants in the Airport Authority's Goodwill Ambassador Program.

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Our neighbors: Virginia, tennis legend extraordinaire

Glass current

Virginia Glass

One of the Quieter Home Program’s biggest projects to date is a large condo complex called the Point Loma Tennis Club.  While processing applications for this project, one of the homeowners stood out immediately – Virginia Glass.

Virginia is originally from the Philippines.  During World War II, she was held in a Japanese concentration camp in the Philippines for three and half years.  She lost her father and two sisters at the camp.  About her experience, she says “Mentally, it made me realize there is nothing in the world you can’t do if you want to do it.”

After World War II, Virginia received a merit scholarship to Barnard College in New York.  She graduated with a master’s degree in library science.  Her story at this point was already a success – she had survived a Japanese concentration camp, earned a college scholarship and was a mother of two children.  But the story doesn’t end there!

While researching sports for her two young sons to play, Virginia found a book on tennis at the library.   She taught one chapter a week to her sons, and within three years the boys began winning tournaments, ranking top in the eastern U.S. divisions.  With their newfound success, her sons began training with the famous Dr. Robert Walter Johnson.  Dr. Johnson was in charge of junior development for the American Tennis Association (ATA) and helped train Tennis Hall of Fame inductees Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson.  Both of Virginia’s sons went on to receive high school and college scholarships to play tennis.

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Virginia has scored many impressive successes -- on and off the tennis court.

Once her sons went off to college, she had more time to focus on her own tennis game.  Without any lessons, she began participating in doubles tournaments.  At one time, she ranked first in the Women’s American Tennis Association, second in the Southern California 55-yea-old category, and thirteenth in the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA).

Not only did Virginia excel on the courts – she also made her mark on the administrative world of tennis.  Impressively, she became the first woman president of the American Tennis Association (ATA), the oldest nationwide African-American sports organization in America.  She also served on the USTA’s executive board and was the west coast editor of Black Tennis Magazine.

Her passion has been to create and foster minority opportunity and involvement in tennis.  The magazine Tennis West best sums up Virginia’s mission:

Tennis has been the vehicle through which Glass has reached out to help change society, promoting tennis for minorities at a local and national level.  She is proud of the gains that have been made. “My favorite board is the Minority Participation Committee” says Glass, “because it’s with that committee that I’ve seen more minorities participating in tennis.”

It’s no surprise, then, that the name of the complex where Virginia chose to buy a condo is the Point Loma Tennis Club!  She has enjoyed many beautiful Southern California days playing the sport she has worked so hard to support and promote.

tennisVirginia has owned her home at the Point Loma Tennis Club for over 30 years.  When the Airport Authority’s Quieter Home Program first informed Virginia that she was eligible for the program, she was not completely sold on the idea.  When interviewed for a San Diego News Room article about the Quieter Home Program written by another Point Loma Tennis Club owner (Joel Siegfried), Virginia said “I initially had concerns about the QHP, so I sent all the documents to my son, who is a lawyer.  He said it was a great idea, and if they want to give us more free money, then take it.”  (For Joel Siegfried’s article, click here for part one and here part two.)

sjohnna

Virginia reminded me of two things: the importance of promoting equality for all people – and that I should visit my library more.  As her story shows, you never know what you can learn from a book!  For this post, in addition to talking to Virginia, I learned about her from the San Diego Tennis Hall of Fame Research Report and articles in the Arizona Republic and Tennis West.

Special thanks to Whitney, the Staff Assistant for the Quieter Home Program, who helped create this blog post.

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3 Responses

  1. Really interesting blog. I learned something new and informative about a San Diego residence. Great research and what a positive, female role modal. It is so true that if you really put your mind to it you can achieve great things. I will have to put that information to good use. Thanks Sjohnna and Whitney

  2. Sjohnna & Whitney – what a great post! I’m so glad to learn about Virginia and I think it’s so neat that she’s our neighbor. What a wonderful feature on a great lady.

  3. I enjoyed learning about Virginia – what an interesting and inspiring person!

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