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After School Students Take To Tennis Courts
Tennis 1
First through fifth grade students from three school campuses in Riverbank pose for their parents for team photos with their coaches at the RHS tennis courts on Thursday. The event, an afternoon tennis jamboree sponsored in part by the U.S. Tennis Association, was the culmination of four weeks of practice in their after school program at California Avenue, Mesa Verde, and the Riverbank Language Academy. Ric McGinnis/The News

Youthful Riverbank tennis players celebrated the culmination of a month of practice learning the basic skills of the game with a jamboree-style series of matches on the RHS courts this past week.

The students, first- through fifth-graders, have been practicing and learning on the campuses of the Riverbank Unified School District, with appropriately sized nets and racquets, along with restricted flight, specially colored tennis balls. The equipment was set up on the pickle ball marked courts on the full-sized tennis courts at the high school facility.

The students, about 20 from each campus, according to head coach Angela Bailey-Gabrie, came from California Avenue and Mesa Verde schools and the Riverbank Language Academy.

“This tournament will lead to more practice and another match in the Spring,” said Bailey-Gabrie. She said the coaches are trained and certified by the NorCal Division of the U.S. Tennis Association.

After the jamboree was over, the players celebrated with fresh pizza and some water.

“They’ll be receiving participation ribbons later,” she said.

Most of the players wore project T-shirts reading “H.I.T.S.” with a special logo, indicating the themes, Honesty, Inspiration, Teamwork and Sportsmanship.

The event is one of several included in Project A.C.T.I.O.N. (Afterschool Care Together In Our Neighborhoods) in the Riverbank Unified School District’s after school program, Bailey-Gabrie said. She works with the program at Mesa Verde Elementary.