ORANGE, NJ — Orange Public Schools Bridge Team Summer 2016 did an amazing job in the District of Columbia. Seventeen elementary-, middle school- and high school-aged youth traveled to compete in the Youth North American Bridge Competition and 11 are traveling back to Orange with first-place trophies.
Two-hundred youth filled a room for three consecutive days of intense card-playing and Team Orange emerged as true winners. Edwin Thomas and Robert Dixon Jackson from Oakwood won first place in the CardRook Games on days one and two, respectively. Both Robert and Edwin have participated in the nationals for two consecutive years and, this year, both young men have also earned junior master status. There are 26 youth who attend Oakwood Avenue Community School’s Bridge After School Program, and nine traveled to participate in the nationals. Members of the team were interviewed by the Washington Post, as well as Sports Illustrated for Kids.
Oakwood Avenue Community School’s travelling bridge members were Prince Antwi, Robert Dixon Jackson, Marquis Douglas, Monica Harmon, Munachiso Iherobiem, Chidumebi Iherobiem, Edwin Thomas, Anahyah Muldrow and Reginald Smith. They were chaperoned by Susan Battle and Vickie Wright. Staff member Cynthia Jackson also volunteered time to assist with the team. The bridge team coach for OACS is Pamela Venable, school counselor.
Park Avenue’s travelling bridge members were Sayeed Bennett, Giovanni Peterkin, Martha Johnson-Jackson, Ibrahima Sacko, Momo Sacko, A’rina Black, Iyahna Neblett and Justin Dapaah. Principal Myron Hackett and physical education teacher Peter Naumowicz chaperoned the trip to the nationals for the third consecutive year. The Bridge club Coach is Denise Harlem, Park Avenue’s technology coordinator.
“Our district bridge players have made us extremely proud,” said Superintendent of Schools Ronald C. Lee. “They are being recognized nationally for their abilities in the complex game of bridge.”
The Orange Public School District has supported youth bridge for many years, thanks to the continued efforts of Barbara Clark, coordinator of the District 3 American Contract Bridge League, the Youth Department and dedicated volunteers such as Cheryl Angel, who helps to mentor the young bridge players. Clark is the former director of Special Services for the district and is the treasurer for the Orange Education Foundation. The OEF, District 3 ACBL and the Orange Education Association have all contributed to the success of the team.