Wednesday, June 22 2022


Ojore Berkeley at the 2021 AAU Junior Olympics (Photos courtesy of Laura Berkeley)

An eight-year-old student from Heards Ferry Elementary School won four medals at the 2021 AAU Junior Olympics, according to his parents.

Ojore Berkeley competed as a swimmer at the competition held in Houston, Texas, Laura Berkeley said in an email. He won second place in freestyle, third place backstroke, third place in butterfly and fourth place in breaststroke, she said.

“He had a great time and we couldn’t be prouder! Laura Berkeley said in the email. She added that Ojore also excels academically, as he has been a member of Mensa since he was six years old. He’s also a chess champion, she says. “It shatters the stereotypes that suggest you can’t be an athlete and an intellectual.”

Reporter Newspapers asked Ojore’s father and trainer Dalero Berkeley a few questions:

Are you proud that he was able to win four medals at the Junior Olympics?

“Totally proud of him. It was part of his summer effort focused on sports and academics. This summer he competed in the Junior Olympics [and] the ASA Swimming Championship at Georgia Tech. He competed in East Side baseball tournaments. [He] completed math in ninth grade. He has completed his fifth grade math book, although he is now entering third grade. As a result of all these activities, he won two gold medals, three silver medals, three bronze medals, a fourth place medal, three baseball trophies, two rings and more than 10 first place ribbons. He is also an outstanding chess player who won the Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 Chess Championship for Heards Ferry and the Kids Chess Crazy House Championship in the past semester. This summer he broke his personal best (level 18) for the first time in his game of chess.

Could I find out more about his involvement with Mensa? When did you first learn that Ojore had a special gift?

“We knew he was good when he was less than a year old when he had a photographic memory. He also showed an affinity for math and logic when he was a year old. After that his vocabulary grew at a staggering rate and he showed an incredible gift for conversation with adults from the age of two. At three, he knew how to multiply and began to divide by four. He is now in the gifted program at school.

Is there anything you could share about his personality and determination?

“Ojore also has an incredible amount of energy. He swims two hours a day and has energy to spare. He’s just an exceptional kid who loves and lives life to the fullest. He has a heart for people and enjoys meeting new people and helping out wherever he can. He is always eager to learn and try something new. I have never known a more curious child. He thrives on learning anything and everything about people and the world around him.


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