PAL’s South Jamaica team takes 1st place in annual Tournament of Champions

Photo courtesy of the PAL

More than 150 Police Athletic League (PAL) participants from centers around the city competed in a day of fun-filled challenges at the PAL’s annual Tournament of Champions last month.

Some of New York’s most creative middle schoolers gathered on Feb. 22 at the PAL’s Edward Byrne Center- located in South Jamaica-to participate in all-STEAM brain games. STEAM is comprised of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics-based enrichment activities. After a day filled with fierce competition, the Edward Byrne Center team took first place in the tournament.

The 5th-8th graders competed in an 11-round competition, featuring different challenges ranging from math puzzles, engineering problem solving, and team building exercises. Some of the highlights of the day included the ‘Ping Pong Catapult’ and the ‘Egg Drop,’ engineering games where teams used cups and cardboard to build a ball launch, while also designing a lander that would create a safe passage for their raw eggs. Participants also tested their math skills with ‘Brain Teasing Math Problems,’ using their teamwork to solve challenging math puzzles.

Participants stay focused during a cup stacking challenge. Photo courtesy of the PAL

Meredith Gray, PAL director of program development and partnership, was overjoyed to see the students work together to solve the challenges. “It was so wonderful to watch as our middle schoolers worked together to troubleshoot and problem solve the hands-on challenges that were placed before them,” she said. “They showed us their creative minds and inventive practices… it was a joy to be a part of!”   

Founded in 1914, New York City’s PAL is a nonprofit that provides enrichment activities to 15,000 children and teens across the 5 boroughs. The organization has an array of programs, ranging from educational, recreational and social activities, with an emphasis on building relationships between kids of various backgrounds. For more information, visit www.palnyc.org.