Del. charter school students advance in chess competition

April 6, 2011 8:29:02 AM PDT
Some schools are known for basketball, others for football, and some for drama. The Thomas Edison Charter School in Wilmington has developed a different reputation. They've become experts in chess.

What makes the school so remarkable is who the kids are, and where there school is located.

Thomas Edison Charter School, an inner city school in Wilmington Delaware, has beaten the odds.

There are 75 students in the chess program. They are already two time champs, and are trying to get the National championship in Ohio in April.

The third through 8th graders at Thomas Edison are among 75 Thomas Edison chess players. What they've accomplished during less than a year of playing chess is remarkable.

They have already won two major chess tournaments.

Despite the fact the school only goes to 8th grade, they've defeated high school students in competition. But they love the game for much more.

"I like just how it helped me with my school work," said 8th grader Eriana Goodridge. "We got a good because of our chess teacher and our parents."

"What I love about chess is your math, because you get better by your math," said third grader Wayne Roy.

The school's principal, Salome Thomas-E, brought some of his former chess students to Thomas Edison to teach the children a skill that helps their critical thinking.

"In today's world, a lot of people don't think before they make decisions," says chess coach, Nate Durant.

A trip to the National Championship would be a rare opportunity.

According to the principal, there's a large achievement gap and a major exposure gap for many inner city children. Many of them only travel within three miles of their home if they are not going to school.

The team captain explained her strategy for improvement.

"For me to actually know how to get better, I play the coaches, said team captain Dynishia Robinson.

And the coaches say she proved to be a true leader in their previous tournament.

The students are preparing for the National Chess Championship in Columbus, Ohio.

The National Junior High Chess Championship will be held on April 14th thru 18th, and the school needs help getting all 20 students to the competition in Ohio.

They need about $10,000 for transportation, lodging and meals. For more information on how you can help the students, visit the link below.

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