Jeffrey Hayes passed away in June, but thanks to a donation made in his memory, his passion for education and tennis will live on in Whitefish Bay.
The $50,000 donation to the Cumberland tennis court reconstruction project was made in December by Hayes' wife Leslie and their children. The School Board formally thanked the family for their donation at a later meeting.
Leslie Hayes said Jeffrey, a professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was a strong supporter of education and loved the game of tennis.
“Jeffrey would be happy to know that his love of tennis will now be enjoyed by future generations,” she said.
The three Cumberland School courts, originally built in the 1940s, haven’t been used in years, and the playing surfaces are now buckled and overgrown. With , the Cumberland Tennis Court Reconstruction Committee has raised $112,000 to date. The committee hopes to have the new courts completed by summer of 2013.
The new courts will be the first in the village to feature the QuickStart Tennis program, which scales down all aspects of regulation tennis so the game becomes specifically tailored to a child’s age and size, helping them be successful from the first swing. The Wisconsin Tennis Association donated child-sized racquets, balls, and nets to support this initiative.
Cumberland School is incorporating tennis into an already established physical education program. Other elementary schools in Whitefish Bay are benefitting from the WTA’s donation of equipment and instruction.
Cumberland Principal Jayne Heffron said she was touched by the Hayes family's donation.
“We are honored by the memorial donation from the Hayes family, a Cumberland family who was very involved while their children attended school here," Heffron said. "This memorial contribution provides ongoing honor to the memory of Jeffrey Hayes, enriching the lives of so many now and in the years to come.”
The effort to bring new courts to Cumberland School also has received strong community support. The School Board voted in December to allocate $30,000 to the project. The Whitefish Bay Civic Foundation and numerous private donors have also contributed to the project.
Anyone wishing to donate can make checks payable to The School District of Whitefish Bay, with Cumberland Tennis Courts in the memo. Your donation can be sent to the Whitefish Bay School District Business Office, Attn: District Accountant, 1200 East Fairmount Avenue, Whitefish Bay, WI 53217. All donations are tax deductible.