Park Pioneer Honored

Joseph H. Cole, retired head of the city's recreation department, recently was honored as a pioneer in his field by Roundtable Associates Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing the contributions that blacks and other minorities have made to the parks and recreation profession.

Cole, 77, received the group's highest honor, the Pioneer Award, for his 41 years of service to the city, where he rose from a summer playground assistant in 1935 to head of the department from 1966 to 1976.

During his 10 years at the helm, more than 20 parks, playgrounds and swimming pools were built. Several programs also were developed, including the roving leader program, in which recreation employees gave troubled youths counseling, help with schoolwork and assistance in job searches. Cole also started the Therapeutic Recreation Center in Southeast, a pool and athletic center for the mentally and physically handicapped. and a summer camp for city youth in Point Lookout, Md.

Ira Hutchinson, founding director of Roundtable Associates, praised Cole as "a man of positive influence in a field that had seldom been explored by blacks."

Cole retired in 1976, but remains active as director of a golf team and chairman of the Committee to Save the Langston Golf Course, which is trying to keep the city from turning part of the Northeast golf facility into a parking lot.

Fencing a Family Affair

By now, fencing has become a family sport in the Calabia household, but it all started when Alison Calabia, 14, took up fencing 5 1/2 years ago at the Chevy Chase Fencing Club.

Her coach, Raymond Finkleman, said he saw great promise in her. And, sure enough, she has gone on to win nearly 40 medals in tournaments from Englewood, N.J., to Chicago. Her latest: a bronze at the Capitol Division championship in College Park.

Alison, who just finished eighth grade at Deal Junior High, practices four times a week and has set her sights on the Olympics. The fun of fencing, she said, is its mental challenge. "It's the best feeling to know that I've done something well -- cleanly, correctly, smoothly."

Her enthusiasm inspired her father, Tino Calabia, to take up the sport. She also has influenced her two older brothers, who have garnered some impressive honors themselves.

Last month, Christopher Calabia, 22, a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, won a gold medal in the men's foil event at the Capitol Games at American University. And Ted Calabia, 18, a student at the College of William and Mary, took the men's bronze at the Virginia State Games.

Young Scientists Honored

Daveena White and Damon Williams, both of Jefferson Junior High School, recently won the Kaiser Permanente Science Award for their entries in the D.C. Science Fair.

Daveena, a ninth-grader who studied the capacity of human lungs, used her classmates as subjects, comparing how much air boys could hold in their lungs with how much girls could hold.

Daveena plans to pursue a career in business management, and her favorite subjects are science and math.

Her project was selected to go to the National Science Fair at H.D. Woodson High School in Southeast. She won awards for her project there as well. "I felt very proud when my project won. I definitely plan on entering one next year too," Daveena said.

Damon, a seventh-grader, did his project on calorimetry. He measured calories in fruit, and compared nutrition and absorption.

Daveena and Damon were selected from 50 students who entered projects in the health and science field, and were given plaques and $100 savings bonds.