Mill Creek opened just over three years ago—students came from other established schools in the system. Since we were new we didn’t have many of the things the students were used to—we didn’t even have a playground.
A mom of one of my students asked if we were going to have a chess club, because her daughter had enjoyed it at her previous school. I told her it was in my “down the road” plans when I could get the funds to purchase the chess sets. She and her husband donated more than enough chess sets to get us started and were a tremendous help in setting it up and working with the kids.
That first year we didn’t get started until January and we averaged 35-40 kids meeting Friday mornings at 7:00 before school started.
We met in my classroom which only had 28 chairs, so some of them sat on the floor to play. It amazed me how they showed up so early in the morning, set up, played chess, cleaned up when the bell rang and went to their homeroom. I really think they would do just as well if I wasn’t even there.
Last year we started meeting in the science lab where there was more seating and table space. That worked out well, while we were averaging about 45-50 kids each week. This year’s first meeting was a big surprise when 70+ kids showed up—there was a traffic jam in the front parking lot!