Huntsville Fraternity Chapter Donates Giant Chess Set to MLK Jr. Elementary

Students at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School celebrated a ribbon cutting ceremony for a gigantic chess set that was donated to the school last week by Coach Donald Hodge and the Huntsville Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Inc.  The nine feet by nine feet board, which is comprised of pieces that are nearly two feet tall, fills up about two thirds of the width of a school hallway.  Chess club students were joined by members of the fraternity, school administrators and staff, as well as District One Board Member Michelle Watkins.

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary Principal Cheryl Askew said that Coach Hodge has “just been great,” adding that he has been a big help to the students on the chess team even before offering to purchase the gigantic set for the school.

Chess club sponsor Joanna Bisher says that chess “teaches critical thinking skills, problem solving, decision making, and good sportsmanship.  Ms. Bisher adds that she began the mission of bringing chess to MLK about eighteen months ago and feels very appreciative of Coach Hodge for volunteering his time to work with the students.  A few of the students present also thanked him personally at the ceremony for taking hours out of his time to come and teach them how to play.

When Coach Hodge asked the students what chess did for them, they all replied in unison: “It makes you smart!”  He also pointed out that the set is large enough for students to play on teams, which really fosters an ability to work well with others.

District One Board Member Michelle Watkins thanked the fraternity brothers and Coach Hodge, saying that “it’s community partners like yourselves that make this possible for our students.”

The set will remain in the hallway for all of the students at the school to enjoy, and Coach Hodge says he hopes the visibility alone will encourage more students to learn to play.

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