Fort Worth’s Bridge Guru, Mary Jane Orock, wins 2012 ABTA Master Point Press Teacher of the Year Award

Article by Joyce Penn, Chairman of ABTA Teacher of the Year Award Committee

Recognizing very special bridge teachers is the thrust of the ABTA Master Point Press Teacher of the Year Award. Judged on teaching excellence, innovative methods, service to bridge and service to their community, Teacher of the Year finalists are held in high esteem by their students and peers.

The 2012 Teacher of the Year, Mary Jane Orock from Fort Worth, Texas, is a quintessential teacher who knows her subject matter and inspires her students.

Orock came to teach bridge after an illustrious career as a nurse with the US Air Force, where she rose in rank from second lieutenant to colonel over twenty years.  Soon after she retired from her chief nurse duties and settled in Abilene, Orock began to give bridge lessons. She gathered a group of “new to duplicate” players and taught every Thursday evening, insisting the club follow all the rules of the ACBL.

In 1998, word spread around San Antonio about a teacher at the Bridge Studio who was giving free lessons about a new way of playing bridge.  What started out as a few tables soon became standing room only. Soon after, a group approached Orock about giving private lessons. Fourteen years later, Mary Jane Orock is still giving private lessons (booked daily) and still provides free lessons at the Bridge Studio on Saturdays. In addition to creating numerous handouts, Orock has written five study books that have proven to be popular and helpful. She gives these books freely and absorbs all the costs.

Orock has enjoyed a distinguished career as a player, teacher, and director, and she has the enviable ability to adjust her material, delivery and methods to every level of player. One student states, “She never makes anyone feel dumb. She is never petty, pretentious, or irritable. I cannot imagine a more worthy candidate to be the recipient of this year’s award.” Another student feels Mary Jane has “enriched the entire Fort Worth bridge community through her teaching excellence and promotion of ethical and enlightened play.” We congratulate Mary Jane Orock on both her Mary Jane Orock with studentswin, and the tremendous response from her students.

Mary Jane Orock and the six other finalists were honored at a special ceremony in Memphis, Tennessee on March 15th. The Teacher of the Year Award, sponsored by Master Point Press, consists of an engraved crystal plaque and a cash award.


This year’s finalists included the following teachers:
Carol Lee Bellam, Calgary Alberta Canada
David Glandorf, Clear Lake, Texas
Verna Goldberg, Louisville, KY
Kathy Rolfe, Lake Winnebago, MO
Richard Rothwarf, Philadelphia, PA, and
Jeff Schuett, Riverwoods, IL.

Special thanks to the 2012 Teacher of the Year Committee:
Marti Ronemus (York PA)
Tina Radding (Charleston SC)
Joan Anderson (W Des Moines IA)
Linda Lee (Toronto ON), and
Joyce Penn (Columbus OH), Chairman.



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