Peskoe Students are not Easy Pawns - South Dade News Leader: Community News | South Dade News Leader | Miami Dade County

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Peskoe Students are not Easy Pawns

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Posted: Friday, April 14, 2017 10:36 am | Updated: 12:15 pm, Fri Apr 21, 2017.

A pawn is a chess piece of the smallest size and value. A pawn moves one square forward along its file if unobstructed (or two on the first move), or one square diagonally forward when making a capture.

At Irving & Beatrice Peskoe K-8 in Homestead, the things that are of the smallest size have great value. They are the students who attend the school.

Every morning the Peskoe Media Center opens its door at 7:50 AM and invites all students that are interested to come play. This is where the small students of value take into their hands the smallest chess piece of the smallest size and value and put it to good use. These students have dedicated themselves to learning and winning in the game of chess. They wake up early just to come and play.

Last year, the team were winners. They were 2nd overall in Miami Dade County and on the national stage, they ranked in the top 20! Jorge E. Beltran, a member of last year’s team was t their “super star” in the fact that he played a match that was almost three hours long.

The Elementary, Junior High and High School National Championships are held every year at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The last two years, the team and chaperones have driven to the tournament in a caravan of cars/vans. This year, Peskoe will again be attending and due to the fact that they placed 2nd in the district, the county is providing transportation.

Mrs. Aggie Blalock, teacher/Media Specialist and chess coach at the school stated, “I've been the chess coach at Peskoe K-8 Center for six years and have learn lots along the way.” She continued, “My goal overall for the club is to introduce them to the game and challenge them to become a better player and person. The royal game of CHESS teaches life lessons.” She explained, “Decisions make have good or bad consequences just like life. It teaches the glory of victory and the humility of defeat.”

A recent report by Johns Hopkins University stated, Research shows, there is a strong correlation between learning to play chess and academic achievement, While studies have shown chess to have a positive impact on kids in elementary, middle and high school, AF4C targeted second and third graders as the evidence, and certainly our experience, suggests it's the ideal age. Eight and nine year-old minds and thinking skills are developing rapidly, and chess teaches higher level thinking skills such as the ability to visualize, analyze, and think critically.

Blalock has noticed the student improvement and added, “Chess is a skill set of strategies and tactics that are learned and practiced over-and-over again. The only way of getting better is to practice and play countless hours. Throughout the years, I've seen kids improve in their skill set and self-esteem. I've also witnessed the focus; the need to sit and play a match for more than an hour by kids that have struggled with attention deficit. Chess has had a calming effect on them mesmerizing their imaginations. These kids seem to be the most creative when building their attack. One parent, Mr. Beltran, comes every morning to help with the children and my principal, Madelyn Sierra-Hernandez is very supportive.”

“Getting these students to Nashville takes a village and countless teachers and private donors are helping to change these students' lives forever.” Added Blalock. This year the club will take 8 players to the nationals. The cost is approximately $600 per child. For more information or if you would like to help the students get to Nashville, please contact Aggie Blalock at the school, 305-242-8340.

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