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CLICK HERE to enter the 2017 Arthur Ashe Essay Contest. 

The Arthur Ashe Essay Contest is open to all children 6-18 yrs., who have participated in LCTA tennis programs. All entrants will be eligible for USTA New England Awards and USTA National Awards.

The National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network is a nationwide network of community tennis organizations seeking to develop the character of young people through tennis and education. NJTLs are unique because they offer a variety of on-court programming and also educational and life skill components designed to enhance a child’s overall development.

Founded in 1969, this growing network of tennis providers share similar values, ideals and goals by reaching out to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to play tennis, instilling in  youngsters the values of leadership and academic excellence, and by giving all kids the opportunity to fully develop their tennis skills so they can derive a lifetime of enjoyment from the sport.

This year we hope to fill a deluxe bus to Arthur Ashe Kids' Day with all AAEC partipants accompanied by at least one escort! If space permits, we'll invite non-essay participants for a small fee ($25 kids, $30 adults). REMEMBER: THIS IS A FREE TRIP FOR ESSAY ENTRANTS! More details on the trip later! 



In  addition to tennis, education and life skills are extremely important to the development of our youth. Which one of the three components above is most important to you, and how will it help you throughout your life?





- Contest begins.

July 3

All hard-copy entries submitted must be received by the NJTL chapter.


The 2016 question was:

How have your skills in tennis impacted the development of your character and how you address your personal challenges on and off the court?

 Our 2016 Winners...

  •  Surianna Lee - WINNER - USTA New England - Girls 13/14

 "Tennis at first may seem like an individualized sport, and that every man is for himself. Especially by playing on a high school tennis team, I have realized that you all work together to win each point and each match and every player is crucial, even if you play the last spot on the team. From this, I have learned to face challenges by looking at them from multiple points of view instead of just mine and taking others into consideration before acting by myself."

click here to read the full essay. Congratulations Suri !!

  •  Samantha Blau - selection from USTA Western Mass entries

 "Sportsmanship is a priority for me. To play with integrity means more than winning. I would rather lose with integrity than win a cheat. Learning sportsmanship on the court has taught me kindness off the court. I don’t believe in fighting fire with fire, so kindness is the only option."

click here to read the full essay. Congratulations Samantha !



The Lee CTA has offered this contest to children throughout Berkshire County since the first year of the competition, 1999. That year, our own Laura Griffin was a National Winner in the 18U Girls division, winning the trip to NYC!  CLICK HERE to see Laura's winning essay.

In 2013, we were proud to have one New England Sectional winner, Hadley DeVarennes, Girls 10 and under. Local winners were Madeline Von Ruden, Girls 11/12; Ben Ames, Boys 10 and Under; CLICK HERE to read Hadley's winning essay!

In 2002 New England Sectional winners were Mike Murch, 16; Kristen Berry, 12; and Laura Toomey, 10. Local winners were Andreas Naranjo (16U Boys), Amber Bitso (14U Girls), Peter Choi (12U Boys), Rebecca Strock (12U Girls), and Samantha Rydell (10U Girls). New England Sectional winners were Amber Bitso, Peter Choi, Rebecca Strock, and Samantha Rydell.


 Above are the 2002 Berkshire County & USTA/New England Winners with the local contest judges.  


Arthur Ashe was an American hero fighting battles both on and off the court.
He broke barriers in the tennis world, becoming the first African-American male to win a Grand Slam tournament and finishing his career with three Grand Slam titles, including the 1968 US Open.
Off the court, he was a social activist taking on issues like racial prejudice, AIDS, apartheid and education. One of his many legacies includes National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL), a network of youth-serving organizations that provide tennis and education for all. His wish was for NJTL to be a resource for kids to develop skills for leadership and academic excellence.