Chess Club gets additional funding

The Chess Club, Links to Learning, and Students Against Violence Everywhere are three of the many programs Wayne Elementary School is able to support with new funds.

These additional funds are from the $10,000 William J. Beckham Award won by the school for its improved performance as a Comer School in the Detroit Public School District. The Skillman Foundation awarded a total of six schools for high or improved performance in the Comer Schools and Families Initiative.

The Wayne Elementary Chess Club, which started in 1997, has won many awards in its participation in city, state and national tournaments. Coach John Cook is very proud of the two teams he has handpicked from the members of the club. The Primary Team is made up of members from kindergarten through 3rd grade; and the Upper Elementary Team is for 4th and 5th grade.

Cook said chess helps students in a lot of different ways. Because students have to explain their moves aloud during the game, chess helps many improve their speech abilities. "For students that don't ever talk, they kind of come out of their shell, " Cook said.

Interest in chess also helps attendance at school. Reading and thinking skills develop because chess involves strategic thinking and planning in order to win. Students also have to add the points obtained with the possession of different pieces, hence math skills are also developed.

Wayne's award also helped to improve other programs including Family Literacy Night, school beautification, parent workshops, Links to Learning, an online program to help students study for MEAP, and Students Against Violence Everywhere.