Former D.C. first lady Cora Masters Barry will take her case to court Tuesday when she asks a judge to prohibit the city from evicting her Recreation Wish List Committee from the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center.
But young people who use the Ward 8 tennis center took her case to the mayor Monday. A half-dozen students went to the John A. Wilson Building after school to find Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in hopes of giving him a petition with 675 signatures to stop the committee's eviction.
Tierra Holloway, 13, said she and her friends went "everywhere, everywhere in D.C." to track down residents to sign the petition.
The committee, led by Barry, founded and built the tennis center a decade ago and has held programs for youths through the years. The Office of Property Management informed the group a month ago that it must vacate the premises because its corporation papers had expired, a violation of the terms of its lease.
Holloway said the center "wouldn't be the same" without Barry's input.
"We have a personal experience with Ms. Barry," said Christian Tarver, 14. "She will stop you: 'Is that gum? Spit it out.' "
Nye Faulk, 13, and Antanae Horton, 13, also said Barry is an inspiration.
Unfortunately, the students, escorted by parents and others, were unable to find Fenty, who was attending an event at the Bald Eagle Recreation Center in Ward 8.
"Where is he today? Maybe we'll go find him," community activist Sandra Seegars, who is organizing the parents, asked a clerk in the mayor's community relations office.
They all decided to head to the Bald Eagle center.