Elementary Chess Championship in Texas: Thomas Edison Charter School Team wins
The teammates include: sixth-grader Cashmere Young, who took second place overall in the tournament; Madalyn Yates and Mark Coney, fifth-graders who tied for 19th place; and Shanea Higgin, a sixth-grader who tied for 46th place.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Young said. “I was very excited and very happy. It felt like all the hard work we’ve done practicing paid off.”
Young now adds a trophy half his own size to the growing collection at Edison. Principal Salome Thomas-El has made chess a pillar of the school, believing it’s a way for students from the at-risk neighborhoods the school serves to learn how to grow from mistakes and challenge themselves intellectually.
“Coming from a neighborhood with a high murder rate, coming from a neighborhood where there might not be as much hope as they want, they feel like they can persevere and overcome,” El said. “It’s a game-change for them to go to this national stage and see that they can compete on any level.”
El said most of the schools competing were from far more affluent areas. The school that tied for number one is a Montessori magnet school, for example.
The Dallas competition was the second one Edison students traveled to this year. The other one, in Atlanta, pitted their elementary students against junior high students, but the team still took home third place overall.
“They were going toe-to-toe against students who were much older than them, but they definitely held their own,” El said.
Though the school still has some bills to pay off for things like food, transportation and registration, El said the team was only able to compete at all because of donations from supporters.
Read more: Delaware Online