Kumon Program Completer Conquers Tennis on the National Stage

Kumon Program Completer Conquers Tennis on the National Stage

Ena playing tennis.

Kumon Program Completer Conquers Tennis on the National Stage  

Ena Shibahara has received many tennis accolades—Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rookie of the Year, Pac-12 Newcomer and Freshman of the Year, All-American honors and even the 2016 US Open Junior Girls’ Doubles Champion. She went into her sophomore season at UCLA ranked as the number one collegiate singles player in America. Amongst all of that, when asked what achievements she’s most proud of, she still mentions completing the Kumon Math and Reading Program. 

Ena enrolled at Kumon Math and Reading Center of Palos Verdes at the age of four years old because her older brothers were seeing a great deal of success in the program. She quickly developed the confidence and perseverance necessary to join her brothers as program completers.  


Ena with her brothers.Her older brothers also inspired her to take up the game of tennis at five years old. As the youngest and smallest sibling, she was often the odd one out, which forced her to work that much harder. Her first goal—beating her older brothers! She said at seven years old, after winning her first tournament, she realized she wanted to play tennis for the rest of her life.  

Ena took time out of her busy schedule at UCLA to tell us about her Kumon experience and how it impacted her life.  


What did you enjoy most about Kumon? 

Kumon really helped me gain confidence and the composure needed to succeed. It helped me know how to stay calm when I hit a wall academically and think outside the box to solve the problem. Because of Kumon, I was always one or two levels ahead of what I was learning at school. It allowed me the leisure to focus on other activities and classes.  


What was the most beneficial thing you learned from Kumon? 

The most beneficial thing I learned from Kumon is the ability to think fast and efficiently. Kumon always challenged me and I believe that’s why I’m always a step ahead of my peers.  


What is the biggest life tool you received from Kumon? 

The biggest learning tools that I received were increased focus and the ability to think critically. Because of Kumon, I can stay focused for long periods of time. And I believe that critical thinking leads to problem solving, which connects to resilience.  


What advice would you give to kids just starting Kumon? 

Ena holding a trophyCongratulations on taking the first courageous step towards success by enrolling in Kumon. The journey won’t always be easy and you may hit some walls, but every time you break through that wall, you will gain this feeling that you are invisible! There are no problems that you cannot solve and no goals you cannot achieve, as long as you put in the work.  


Studying towards a degree in communications, Ena credits all of her success in-and-out of the classroom to her supportive family. She hopes to join the Women’s Tennis Association’s professional tour someday. We look forward to following her continued success.  


Discover even more Kumon success stories