The Varnett School Southeast chess club finished first in the middle school division scholastic tournament at Kipp Spirit Academy on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. The win comes in only the second year of the campus's existence.
Sporting shirts proudly displaying VARNETT with a chess board symbol underneath, the participants also won individual awards. Darren Nixon won all five of his matches in placing first and DeTrevion Jerome finished in second place with four wins and one draw. Janae Jerome and Joel Eugene Onyejiaka both finished in sixth place. All won trophies for their efforts.
The team's first-place finish came among 25 schools composed of 170 students and the trophy was later presented to Dr. Margaret Stroud, superintendent of The Varnett Public School.
"The KIPP Spirit Academy tournament was our first scholastic chess tournament of the year," Mr. Richard Burton, the team coach, said. "Winning first place against some of the established perennial chess schools such as St. Peter The Apostle, Kipp Academy and River Oaks Baptist School means that we're opening eyes in the chess circles and establishing the Varnett School as a school to be reckoned with," Mr. Burton said.
"Chess is life! It's challenging but fun! I still can't believe Varnett Southeast won first place," Darren said.
Varnett plans to participate in the state tournament in Houston in March and the national chess championships in April in Grapevine, Texas near Dallas. "Our kids are working very hard to bring back trophies and solidify The Varnett Public School as a scholastic powerhouse in the game of chess."
The team members are:
Patrick Morrison, 3rd grade
Jyrese Nixon, 3rd grade
Isaiah Johnson, 4th grade
Inaya Mercer, 5th grade
Curtis Johnson, 5th grade
Janae Jerome, 6th grade
Darren Nixon, 6th grade
DeTrevion Jerome, 7th grade
Joel Eugene Onyejiaka, 7th grade
"Our goal is to have chess clubs at all of the Varnett schools," said Mr. Lonnie Reynolds, Varnett's athletic director.
Let's give a shoutout to our chess team, Mr. Burton and Mr. Reynolds!
Photos by Mr. Burton and Mr. Peter McConnell, Varnett's communications director