Fifth-graders from Great Neck’s four elementary schools—Baker, Kennedy, Lakeville and Saddle Rock—participated in a rousing Bridge Tournament held at the Lakeville School. The tournament was the culmination of a pilot Bridge Program that taught and engaged young students in the skilled game of bridge. The program was initiated and coordinated by Dr. Sheila Terens, former Great Neck Public Schools assistant superintendent-elementary, and sponsored by Long Island Bridge for Youth through the generous contributions of Dr. Reza Khatib and American Contract Bridge League. At the conclusion of the tournament, students were given awards and certificates of participation.
Fifth-graders self-selected to participate in the 16-week program, meeting once a week during their lunch hour. The program began in December with some 18–24 students participating at each school.
Dr. Terens explained the educational and life-skills value of playing bridge, stating, “Bridge can help children develop strategic thinking skills, memory power and the ability to concentrate while building math prowess and learning a lifetime ‘sport.’ In addition, bridge is a partnership game that promotes social and team-building skills.”
Students were taught by volunteer bridge teachers Steven Conrad, Jeri Golus, Mark Krinsky and Marlene Levy, who were assisted by Caren Arnone, Dave Bass, Ed Feinstein, Phyllis Feldman, Margery Gogel, Helena Goldstein, Bonnie Salkind, Dina Siegel, BetteJane Weisenthal and Barrie Sue Zicherman. Directors of LI Bridge for Youth are Carol Mathews and James Schneider.
Next year, it is hoped that the Bridge Program will expand to other grades and even carry over to the formation of a Bridge Club on the middle-school level.