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Students Challenge White House to Chess in Scholarship Drive Print E-mail
By Meiko Banjoko   
March 17, 2009
Will the White House take our Sustain the CHANGE Challenge?
We have changed. Help us keep every inch of ground.


Meiko Banjoko HHCF (408) 449-9810 or Lisa Suhay Ryan Academy (757) 583-7926

NORFOLK, VA. & SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Students in the Hip-Hop Chess Federation's "Chess in the Classroom" pilot program have sent a chess set and a challenge to White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel and "Team Obama" to play chess. Name your choice Mr. President: game30, blitz, Seirawan, Siamese?

Ryan Academy High School, Va. and John O’Connell School, Ca. are the only schools in the Hip-Hop Chess Federation’s new pilot program (started Sept. 2008), using chess in the classroom as tool to teach unity, non-violence, strategy, confidence and every subject from English to American government.

Ø  "Playing chess in the classroom this year we've become better students, better citizens, stronger players on the board of life and faced with an economic game which threatens our goals we unite," said A.J. Evans, senior Ryan Academy H.S. Norfolk, Va. "So yeah, let's throw-down with The White House, 'cause we could even help them with their strategic knowledge."

It didn’t cost schools or taxpayers a penny: The U.S. Chess Trust, state chess associations, Josh Waitzkin Foundation and corporations donated chess sets, clocks, books and old chess magazines to our schools.

Ø  Devyn Becker, 18, Norfolk, Va. is one of two Ryan students accepted to Old Dominion University, neither can go unless funds are raised. Becker added, "If the White House staff doesn't know how to play, don’t worry, we can teach you. Most of us didn’t learn until just this year at school."

Adisa Banjoko, CEO of HHCF, San Francisco, Ca., runs scholarship tournaments help students who are not normally perceived as “achievers” acquire scholarships to attend community college or to seed student loans for those accepted to college but unable to attain scholarships any other way. The prize fund ran dry when the economy tanked. See www.hiphopchessfederation.org and learn more at lisasuhay.blogspot.com.

The Fundraiser: Ask neighbors, friends and the public to sponsor players (like a walk-a-thon) a few cents or dollar per move we make against our opponent. A flat amount for blitz matches on the clock. They can also give a flat amount if we win. So for us, it’s not just weather we win or lose, but how we play the game.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the Obama administration to sustain positive change in education, without an Act of Congress,” said Lisa Suhay, HHCF partner/teacher at Ryan Academy.