Students at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy are learning a new game – mancala. While the game is new to them, mancala is actually considered to be the world’s oldest game. The word mancala comes from the Arabic word naqala, which means “to move.” No one game actually exists with the name mancala; the name is a classification or type of game. Historians believe it started in Ghana, where the game is called Wari.
Simultaneous to learning the game, the junior high sculpture students are designing mancala game board sculptures. The game is often played with beans or beads but the students have been tasked with crafting their boards based on African animals. Ultimately, the completed games will be donated to the library, where all students will be welcome to enjoy the game. The project is being led by Gina Hulse, who was inspired by the game’s recent resurgence in popularity.
Hulse, now in her tenth year at Holy Trinity, holds a degree in psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. Prior to teaching, she combined her interests in psychology and art to create “Prevention Through the Arts,” a program for high-risk children in a Cocoa juvenile detention center. Hulse still operates “Prevention Through the Arts,” all while guiding Holy Trinity’s junior high students through her eclectic arts assignments. Her own work will soon be on display at The Art Gallery of Viera.