Pictured are Novo Nordisk Donnelly Awards namesakes Tracey Donnelly Maltby, from left, recipient Leena Bennetto, tennis legend Billie Jean King, award recipient Ivy Wilson, and fellow namesake Diane Donnelly Stone. (Contributed)

Pictured are Novo Nordisk Donnelly Awards namesakes Tracey Donnelly Maltby, from left, recipient Leena Bennetto, tennis legend Billie Jean King, award recipient Ivy Wilson, and fellow namesake Diane Donnelly Stone. (Contributed)

Vernon tennis star wins $10K scholarship from icon

Novo Nordisk Donnelly Scholarship recognizes academics and tennis excellence, community leadership

A Vernon Secondary School grad and rising tennis star who now studies and plays at Princeton University was just awarded a $10,000 scholarship from the sport’s best Billie Jean King herself.

Top-ranked junior in the province and No. 9 in Canada U18, Leena Bennetto was named one of two recipients of the Novo Nordisk Donnelly Scholarship alongside Ivy Wilson of Oklahoma.

This award recognizes those who have excelled in academics and tennis, have strong leadership and community involvement skills and live with diabetes.

Bennetto, 18, joined tennis legend King, winner of 39 Grand Slam titles, for a day of tennis at the US Open in New York on Sept. 2.

“Ivy and Leena are both bright young leaders who are committed to being champions in life,” King said alongside the scholarship’s namesakes, Diane Donnelly Stone and Tracey Donnelly Maltby.

“I am so impressed with their maturity, perseverance and dedication to overcoming challenges to excel in both academics and tennis.”

Bennetto is a full-time player in the Tennis Canada National Junior Program and has won its Nationals Sportsmanship Award three times.

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