Federal Relations

Bright Spots in Home Schooling

December 4, 2003  

Chris Lam

Chris Henry Lam

Chris Lam is a 20-year-old homeschool graduate turned tennis star, who in recent months has made headlines in the world of tennis. He is considered by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) a "wunderkind" having placed at number 29 on a list of singles players at UCLA and is the first Hawaiian player to be ranked in the top 50 in singles since 1996.

Chris Henry Lam was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Because his father was an avid tennis player Chris spent a great deal of time on the courts and began playing at an early age. Chris and his four siblings were homeschooled by their mother, Patricia; Chris from 2nd through 12th grade. Because there is no equal access law in Hawaii, which would allow homeschoolers to participate in public school sports, Chris was unable to compete in high school tournaments, but this did not bother Chris; he found that homeschooling actually helped his tennis and education. "It was actually good for me because it left me with a lot of time to practice when a lot of other people were in school," Chris said. "It prepared me pretty well for college…"

In September 2003, Chris earned his first world ranking points by reaching the semifinals of the Ojai Futures event in southern California. The Futures is a U.S. Tennis Associational Professional Circuit Event. With the points he gained at Ojai, Chris earned a world ranking of 1,085th. According to Chris' private coach, Calvin Nii, this accomplishment is equivalent to a high school or college athlete getting drafted by a professional team. Or, more simply put: this is big news!

Presently, Chris is a junior at UCLA and is majoring in business. He still hopes to one day tour as a professional tennis player.

"He's an unbelievably good kid, an unbelievable student. He has great work ethic and is a great teammate," said Chris' UCLA tennis coach, Billy Martin.

*The Honolulu Advertiser contributed to this report.

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