Chess Program Ewa Makai Middle

February 2018

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Ewa Makai Middle School website

Awesome Foundation Oahu is happy to announce our February recipient of $1,000, Ewa Makai Middle School. AFOahu was contacted by Kathryn Kelly, a 7th grade teacher at Ewa Makai who wrote to us the benefits of chess.  Ms. Kelly explains chess allows students to think critically, analytically, with intense focus, creativity, calculation, and responsiblity.  For every action, there is a reaction, and depending on the strength of the move, can be either beneficial or detrimental to your position on the board. Moreover, success on the chess board echoes success in the classroom and beyond--teaching the students to focus, work hard, and play fairly will create a positive domino effect in the students' lives.

Ms. Kelly further explains in her application; Hawai'i is a place that puts a large emphasis on competition, mainly in the sports arena. Students are constantly being challenged physically, with many of my students on after school sports teams. However, more often than not, students are not engaged in intellectual competition. There are few opportunities for students to compete off the courts and using their intellectual abilities in a game-like manner. Chess combines both of those worlds -- it allows intellectual competition to be made fun, and winning or losing is an incentive for students to practice and get better. Even when she assigns content-relevant online games, students are much more eager to begin their work because they want to be on top of the leader boards.

Additionally, chess is an inclusive game that allows people of all abilities to compete. Despite physical or mental disabilities, everyone can partake in the game. It breaks down barriers otherwise established based on ability, with the knowledge that every student can play and improve.

Bringing chess to Ewa Makai is a dream of Kathryn Kellys, and something that will have direct benefit on the student population and the Ewa Beach community.

This all sounds like an awesome idea to us so here is where we can help.  With the $1,000 Ewa Makai Middle will be able to buy chess boards, pieces, and clocks, as well as hire a professional chess coach to ensure the students are getting the best chess instruction available. The chess coach in mind currently works with a number of schools on island, including 'Iolani, the home school alliances, and previously Washington Middle School. The hope is that after establishing a chess presence here on campus, the students will be able to compete with other students across the island and eventually, nationally.

Awesome Foundation Oahu seeks to bring success to our keiki here on the island. We believe that chess will enrich the lives of those that play it at Ewa Makai Middle School and this money is well spent.  Checkmate!