Ohio master teacher Maureen Reedy has great news for the championship chess team at I.S. 318 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

She writes:

Great news! The national championship chess team of I.S. 318, a public school with a high poverty rate in NYC, will live on!

Please consider a contribution to combine with the $20,000 being raised by the tireless efforts of my friend, Fred Wilson, of NYC, who has reached out in his blog to his AVC community with the promise of a $10,000 match (see below). We are getting very close. The project page, through DonorsChoose, is live here. You can even write a short, personal note to the kids! Believe me, it is a thrill, as a public school teacher of 30 years, to open up the site and read over 100 encouraging notes from the folks in the AVC community and beyond, cheering these students and their teachers on.

Just a few short weeks ago, 70 kids and their teachers, who together have devoted months and years, of after school and summer hours to studying and mastering the game of chess, thought they had played their last match. At the end of the school year, the sobering news was delivered; the funding for the infamous national award winning chess team of I.S. 318, featured in the documentary Brooklyn Castle, was cut by the New York City Department of Education (a 2 minute trailer here – Brooklyn Castle Trailer, the movie can be streamed on Netflix ).

If you have time, read on to find out what happened a few weeks ago, when I read Diane Ravitch’s blog about the demise of the chess team and emailed my friend, Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist in NYC, who supports public schools …

Fred is just an amazing guy! He becomes very fired up about opening up avenues to provide the resources for programs that help kids reach their potential by pursuing their passions and interests. Once I connected him with John Galvin, Assistant Principal of I.S. 318 and leader of the chess team, the funding project was hatched and it was full steam ahead. Fred sent out a detailed blog to his AVC community, offered a $10,000 match, and the contributions and good wishes started pouring in.
http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2013/06/crowdfunding-brooklyn-castle.html

Fred gets that this isn’t “just a funding project.” He understands that what he and his AVC community are supporting is a program that is a source of identity, pride, passion and purpose for these kids and their entire community; he understands that this is how a public school can be the glue that holds a community together.

Here are Fred’s words for the teachers and kids of I.S. 318… “They are the NY Yankees of middle school chess teams. They turn kids from the streets of NYC into chess masters. And I do not think you can put a price on that.”

Thank you Fred and thank you to your AVC community for joining together with all of us, so that we can bring the great news to the kids, teachers and parents of I.S. 318, that their chess program will not just survive, but will have the resources to thrive for a number of years.

Again, the project page, is live here, any amount is appreciated by Mr. John Galvin and the teachers, kids and parents of the amazing I.S. 318 school community.

May the “Checkmates” continue on indefinitely for these kids and the future chess team members that will follow, as their legacy lives on from year to year. Ultimately, the real story of these chess champions and their teachers is how this chapter in each child’s life will help to build a solid foundation for successful and secure futures as these kids venture out into the world.

Your Friend,
Maureen Reedy