St. Thomas-St. John Chess Club deserves praise


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This is a tribute to the St. Thomas- St. John Scholastic Chess Team founded by the Virgin Islands Institute for Teaching and Learning (VIIFTAL) a little more than nine year ago.

The success of these outstanding young men; Abdul Abiff, Arthur William Jr., Alex Emmerich and Shamiel Vanterpool in regional tournaments would not have been possible without their intense dedication, inner discipline and talent. These students have been remarkable in their ability to rally other students, unselfishly giving of their time to teach them chess and even tutoring chess during the summer months.

The accomplishments of these students and all the members of the chess club are a reflection of the inspired leadership and guidance of Sinclair Wilkensen, the program coordinator and coaches like Darryl Alan, Seymour Bernier, Andrew Geaver, Adam Kloter, Albert Richards, Renita Rhymer, Carol Benjamin, Mary Beth Aguila as well as the unwavering support of many community organizations such as Rotary II, the Prior Foundation, the V.I. Lottery, and the United Way, to name just a few.

The students and coaches have prevailed over the years because they have had a deep understanding of the tremendous role that chess plays in students' academic life and the fact that it teaches the values of hard work, concentration, objectivity, and commitment.

For example, In Marina, Calif., an experiment with chess indicated that after only 20 days of instruction, students' academic performance improved dramatically. Evidence? After this brief smattering of chess instruction, "the Marina JHS math department reported that 55 percent of students showed significant improvement in academic performance".

A five-year study of seventh and eighth graders in a Pennsylvania school district showed that students who participated in chess class had a 173 percent increase in performance, and data from the Watson-Glaser Thinking Appraisal Evaluation showed overwhelmingly that chess improved critical thinking. skills.

We believe that with continued support of the chess program, many more Virgin Islands students will follow in the footsteps of these four exemplary young men and many more students will grow academically and bring positive recognition to the Virgin Islands and its people.

Congratulation to those chess champions being honored by the 29th Legislature and continued encouragement to those students who are working hard to become champions May God continue to bless you all and may God Bless the Virgin Islands.

- Linda De Pass-Creque, Ph.D, founder and board member emeritus of VIIFTAL

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