Last month, 136 students from 16 Success Academy schools went to Nashville, Tennessee to attend the U.S. Chess Super Nationals V competition. The competition is for all levels of students, K-12, who compete in a number of different divisions.
Success Academy students competed in their divisions and, at the end of the event, some of the teams had been incredibly successful.
In the K-9 division, Success Academy’s Hell’s Kitchen finished in first place alongside another school. In the K-6 U1000 division, another Success Academy school finished tied in third place and other schools finished in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and tenth places in their divisions.
For some of the children in the Success Academy teams, it was their first time leaving New York state and their first time on a plane. None of that mattered, however, when they got to the Super Nationals as they competed like old pros.
Chess is just one of the many subjects most Success Academy students learn. Debate is also high on the list, as are many science subjects, math, history, geography, drama, art, a couple of foreign languages and, of course, English.
Success Academy students do not just have winning places in chess either. In fact, they are known for their excellent performances in a number of subjects in New York state events, including debate, theater and art.
The success of these students, however, is not too surprising. Even though they are predominantly students from Latino and African American families, and from poor areas of the city. Students most school districts in New York would say have little chance of doing anything of importance with their lives.
That is because Success Academy schools teach them to work hard, play hard, pay attention in class and, if they make a mistake, to do it all over again until they get it right.
Critical thinking and problem solving is also highly prized and cultivated. Both skills necessary in being successful in chess.
So it really is no wonder Success Academy students were able to compete with some of the best young chess players in the country and more than hold their own.