Saturday, December 10, 2005

New names, same story

While the chess community continues to bask in the afterglow of A&E's movie "Knights of the South Bronx" (which I finally watched this afternoon with my son), here is essentially the same story playing out with another group of inner city kids:
Salome Thomas-El refused to let his students' inner city neighborhood define who they were or what they could be. In addition to setting high standards for excellence in the classroom, Thomas-El introduced his students to the game of chess - the ultimate mental sport - in an after-school club. Chess is a demanding game that requires complex critical thinking and extensive strategic planning. The students were so willing to learn that by the end of their first year together, The Mighty Bishops had become the best middle school chess team in America. The team went on to win more than a dozen local, state and national chess tournaments. Thomas-El admitted that even he was surprised by his students' accomplishments. He didn't know how far they could go, but he knew it was his responsibility to encourage, support and nurture the potential in each of them.

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