Bridgehampton Scrabble Club Headed to Washington. D.C. for Nationals - 27 East

Bridgehampton Scrabble Club Headed to Washington. D.C. for Nationals

icon 2 Photos
The Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center has hosted the Bridgehampton

The Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center has hosted the Bridgehampton "Scrabble Bees" Scrabble team after school for several months. Several members of the team will compete at the North American School Scrabble Championship in Washington DC on April 1 and 2. The team is pictured with BHCCRC Executive Director Bonnie Cannon, (top row, far left) and has been coached by Robert King (top row, far right) and Kathy Hummel.

The Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center has hosted the Bridgehampton

The Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center has hosted the Bridgehampton "Scrabble Bees" Scrabble team after school for several months. Several members of the team will compete at the North American School Scrabble Championship in Washington DC on April 1 and 2.

authorCailin Riley on Mar 29, 2023

On Friday, a group of 17 children will head down to Washington, D.C. to represent the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center on a big stage, showing off skills they’ve been working on diligently during the after-school hours since October.

The center’s “Scrabble Bees” Club will compete in the North American School Scrabble Championships, set for April 1 and 2, at Planet Word Museum. One individual player, and eight two-person teams will represent the center’s Scrabble Club, which is led by coach Kathy Hummel — who also coaches a club in the Hampton Bays School District, which will have a presence at the championships as well — Robert King, the after-school director for the center, and advisor/mentor Shanae Pritchard.

Hummel and King have been facilitating the Scrabble Club at the center since 2017, and this year, they have the highest participation they’ve ever had, with 19 kids showing up after school every day, practicing and playing with friends for an hour and a half. The club is composed of kids who live in the Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton area and spend afternoons at the center.

The team headed to D.C. includes John Cabrera, Juan Campoverde, Annabella Del Giorno, Isabelle Dureka, Jiali Escobar, Bryanne Garcia, Daniela Garnica, Samantha Garnica, Daniela Herrera, Alex Morocho, Jessica Morocho, Michael Munoz, Johan Otavalo, Alysson Pichon, Ashli Reyes, Kitzia Reyes, Guillermo San Juan, Azeriah Smith and Zacheriah Mitchell.

This will be the third time the center has been represented at nationals, but in previous years, the center has only taken a small handful of players.

Hummel is a longtime Scrabble fanatic, and has been sharing her passion with young students for more than 20 years. She clearly loves the game itself but also loves the opportunities it provides for children, especially in the modern era.

“Scrabble is a hands-on, face-to-face activity in our digital world,” she said. “You touch the tiles, you write down the score. You work in real time with a teammate, you have to look and talk to another person. If you play in a tournament, you meet people you may not have met otherwise, all live and in person. These are skills that, after the isolation of COVID and in a time when many kids spend more time looking at screens than at the world around them, need to be learned and practiced.”

It’s also an activity that’s accessible to anyone, and Hummel said that over the years, she’s seen that proven out.

“I’ve had the sporty kids, where Scrabble is just something else they did, and I’ve had some really, really smart academic kids, too, where it just made sense to them,” Hummel said. “I’ve had kids that have done it because their parents have to work extra hours and they needed something to do after school, and then once they started doing it, they actually didn’t mind being there. I’ve also had kids who get extra help after school. Everybody has their own experience, but everybody can play this game.”

Hummel added that while having a expansive vocabulary is certainly helpful, the element of luck in the game is part of its allure and what makes it accessible for everyone.

“You can learn all the words, but if you do not draw the letters, you can’t make the words,” she said. “If you draw the Z and the X, and letters like J and K, and you get to use those first, chances are you’re going to score more points than me.”

Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center Executive Director Bonnie Cannon said she’s thrilled that such a large group will make the trip to nationals this year, and she gave credit to Hummel for building up the Scrabble program and making it such a success with the center’s students.

“It’s a great thing to see how we started, with a handful of kids, and now we’re taking three vans with the kids and chaperones,” she said. “Kathy is really the life behind this program, along with Mr. Robert and Ms. Shanae, but Kathy is just amazing with her commitment to it. She puts in long hours and has so much patience with the kids. She’s a superwoman. It’s her leadership and commitment and the way she interacts with the kids that keeps this thing going.”

Keeping it going, especially now that it has become such a popular success with the students, will also require a good deal of community support in terms of fundraising, to cover the costs of transportation, overnight accommodations, and other expenses. The center’s Scrabble program now has a goal of raising $10,000 to support the team.

Cannon pointed out that, for many of the kids in the program, the weekend will mark not only the first trip outside of the state they’ve made, but the first significant journey away from the immediate area.

“Some of these kids have not even taken a train ride into the city,” she said. “To be able to allow them to have this experience, it’s really great.”

Cannon said she encourages the parents to make the trip as well, as a way for families to spend quality time together and watch their children compete on a big stage, in a positive event.

“It’s just amazing to see all these kids in a room, and it’s really quiet,” she said with a laugh. “They’re all really focused on what they’re doing. It’s one of the things I’m really proud of that we’ve been able to nurture.”

You May Also Like:

‘I Have Cancer, Cancer Doesn’t Have Me’ | 27Speaks Podcast

As far as Anita Fuellbier is concerned, Stage 4 lung cancer picked the wrong body. ... 15 May 2024 by 27Speaks

Talk Is Cheap

Last week was the final Express Sessions event of the season; a dozen live events brought together panelists and community members to discuss a variety of topics of importance to the community. As the break for a busy summer arrives, the question arises: Does it make a difference? The topic for the event last week in Sag Harbor focused on that village’s readiness for climate change and the perils it will bring — but, like other topics from throughout the fall, winter and spring, it was relevant for other villages and hamlets on the South Fork. Rising waters and worsening ... by Editorial Board

Bridgehampton Budget Is Under Cap, Preserving Programming and Adding More Opportunities for Students; Three Are Running for Two Board Seats

On Tuesday, May 21, Bridgehampton School District voters will be asked to vote on a ... by Cailin Riley

Candidates Set in Sag Harbor, North Haven Village Elections

With Tuesday having been the last day to submit petitions, the races are set for ... by Stephen J. Kotz

Sag Harbor Village Board Sets Hearing on Revised Paid Parking Plan

The Sag Harbor Village Board on Tuesday formally backtracked on a proposal to require paid ... by Stephen J. Kotz

Rules That Were, Unfortunately, Made To Be Broken

This is going to be a big year for breaking the rules on the water. ... 14 May 2024 by MIKE WRIGHT

Pierson High School Could Do Away With Class Rankings Next Year

The Pierson Middle-High School might soon do away with the class ranking system, following a ... by Cailin Riley

End of an Era

I learned today that the Sag Harbor Ladies Village Improvement Society has closed up shop. This brings back so many memories of my mother, Jane Mulvihill, and her good friend Gertie Payne, who were very active members in the 1950s and 1960s organizing house tours and raising money for, among other things, scholarships, establishing Marine Park, and planting trees throughout the village. I remember riding around with Charlie Whitmore as he and Mom scouted locations for the trees. I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. I have a photo of my sister Mary (8) and me (6) in the ... by Staff Writer

Of Catbirds and Robots

The catbird is back, and it’s a relief to hear his silly songs filling the hedgerow with joy. It is no joke, no hyperbole — joy is that sweet, warbling noise. The catbird is a honey-voiced mimic, Freddie Mercury to the mockingbird’s Janis Joplin. The catbird can hit it high or low, and he’ll fool you for a moment, and then he “mews.” He falls silent, looking at you as you look for him. Asparagus season started late, and furiously. If you know the stuff, if you’ve been coming eye to eye with it for 30 years, you can understand ... by Marilee Foster

Woman Charged With Burglary in Sag Harbor

An East Hampton woman was arrested early Sunday morning by Sag Harbor Village Police on several charges, including burglary in the second degree, which is classified as a violent felony, punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. However, the judge handling the arraignment late that morning, Sag Harbor Village Justice Carl Irace, questioned the structuring of the charges brought by police and the district attorney’s office. In addition to the burglary charge, Doris L. Villa Guichay, 38, is also charged with criminal mischief as a misdemeanor and harassment as a violation. According to police, at about 3 a.m. ... by T.E. McMorrow