October 14, 2016

Wendy Denise Bridges: Walking in a New Season

I first saw Wendy about three years ago when I became a part of a water aerobics class for senior citizens. My initial thought was she must have been allowed in the class through some sort of waiver because there was no way this woman was over 60; she looked way too young and sprightly. “Perhaps she’s a veteran,” I thought. “Or, maybe a relative or friend of someone who had influence.”

But despite her youthful appearance, no one minded she was there. She was a vibrant part of the class, often loudly counting repetitions along with the instructor or singing along to whatever R&B tune that was playing in the background or encouraging our classmates to “hang in there!” Everyone in the class loved her.

So it was not a complete surprise to me when she announced that she was competing for the Ms. Senior D.C. 2015 title. (Except that it verified she was indeed a senior.)  The class wholeheartedly gave her our support. Contestants would be judged on their interview, philosophy of life, talent and evening gown presentations. We knew she most assuredly met the qualifications and had the personality to represent us well. And, of course, she won which also was not a surprise.

Wendy describes herself as a lifelong learner who was raised with good values, morals, and a sense of responsibility and accountability. Daily she focuses on being kind, being patient, being a good listener, being aware of things she can’t control and letting them go, giving credit where credit is due, instilling a calmness around herself, counting her blessings and sharing all that she has learned with others.

While she has no children of her own, Wendy was a teacher in the DC public school system for 30 years. “Each one of my students was like my own child,” she says. “I nurtured, loved and taught them just as though they were mine.” A graduate of DC Teachers College with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and the University of the District of Columbia with a Master’s degree in Reading Specialization Teaching, Wendy says teaching is her love and she “enjoyed it each and every day!” Currently she is an active member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Womens International Society which promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. As a member, she stays abreast of the latest strategies and techniques to educate our youth.

As Ms. Senior D.C., Wendy says her most memorable experience was attending the Senior Olympics where she met senior men and women in their 70’s and 80’s who enjoyed athletic activities. “They ran relay races, they played tennis, pickle ball, basketball, the shot put, the long jump and the discus throw. I was utterly amazed at their abilities!”

Currently, you can see Wendy at almost all official District of Columbia events beautifully coifed and attired and donning her 2015 Ms. Senior D.C. sash and crown.  She serves as mentor to the current Ms. Senior D.C. and believes that “we, as seniors, have an obligation to all we come in contact with, specifically our youth, to continue to pass on those old fashioned morals and values that we were raised with."

Wendy says she is excited to find out what's next for her. She knows the best is yet to come.