When students in the chess program at Lipscomb Elementary have an argument, they grab a chess board and challenge each other to a match.

Approximately 80 Lipscomb students are currently participating in Chess in the Schools, a national program created by the American Chess Foundation. Students are taught chess once a week by expert players and compete in tournaments against other elementary school teams.

Lipscomb started the program in 1992, the first DISD school to do so. Chess has increased the students’ self-esteem and has taught them analytical skills, says teacher Carolyne Dean-Pillutla, the coordinator of the chess project at Lipscomb.

“I’ve seen it help some kids who have trouble controlling their anger,” Dean-Pillutla says. “When they would lose, they used to knock the board over. Last year, I saw kids grab a board and take it out to recess instead of fighting.”

Eight other DISD elementary schools joined the Chess in the Schools program in 1993, including Mount Auburn, Lakewood, James W. Fannin and Alex Sanger. Alex W. Spence Middle School also started a chess program that year, says John Jacobs, coordinator of the chess program for DISD.

Chess in the Schools was started in New York in 1986 for at-risk and underprivileged children, Jacobs says.

“You’d be amazed at some of the kids playing chess,” says Jacobs, a former DISD student who has been playing chess since he was 8. “Chess is an all skill game. There’s no luck involved. When you teach children to play chess, they get a real sense of accomplishment.”

“Chess used to be the exclusive domain for kids who had more advantage, but kids who have less advantage do not have less ability or brain power.”

In December, many of the DISD chess players participated in their first tournament in Fort Worth. It was a 19-school Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex competition that drew 242 players, Jacob says.

“Some of the kids had never been out of their neighborhood in East Dallas,” Jacobs says.

Out of the 19 teams that participated, Mt. Auburn finished second place, Sanger was sixth and Lakewood finished seventh. Mt. Auburn’s Rocky Jaramillo and Rolando Hernandez finished seventh and eighth in the individual rankings.

Lipscomb has also won its share of awards. Last November, the school’s team, the Dominators, placed third in a Dallas Chess Club Tournament. But, Lipscomb’s biggest victory was in 1992. With only two months of experience under its belt, the first Lipscomb chess team took fifth place in a national tournament held in Dallas. This victory got the attention of the DISD board, which recognized Lipscomb’s chess players at an awards ceremony.

Lipscomb has had to scale back its chess program over the past three years due to a lack of chess instructors.

“We only have one volunteer right now,” Dean-Pillutla says. “He teaches the basic strategy and advanced strategy for kids with more experience. We need volunteers.”

“We count chess as part of our math program because it teaches problem solving and grids. It teaches consequences, which is something the kids need to know about.”

DISD chess instructors are experienced with the game and are paid for their time, Jacob says. Many of them are retired, in college or self employed and can make the time to come to the schools during the day.

To volunteer, Call Jacobs at 272-7551.

News & Notes

WOODROW INVITATIONAL: Woodrow Wilson High School recently sponsored its first invitational golf tournament with 12 DISD high schools attending. In the boy’s division, Woodrow’s “B” team placed fifth. Team members are George Velasco, Kevin Johnson, MaClain Looper, J.W. Casey and Lucas Meyers. Looper placed sixth in the individual rankings. Woodrow’s girls team placed third. Team members are Emily Renda, Alicia Sarrett, Dana Dalton, Melissa Love and Tiffany Henseley. Renda placed fourth in the individual rankings.

Pro golfer Mike Roberts helped Woodrow golf coach Paul Bozarth organize the competition, held at Tenison Park Golf Course.

IMMUNIZE: The Woodrow/Long Health Center, in conjunction with the Dallas Police Department Weed and Seed program, will sponsor two immunization clinics, 3-6 p.m. April 10 at James B. Bonham Elementary, 2617 N. Henderson, and May 8 at J.W. Ray Elementary, 2211 Caddo. Cost is $3 per child. Parents must be present, and all previous immunization records are required.

For information call Dale McEowen or Priscilla Zapata at 841-5295 or Altonette Ford at 559-1952.

ON TO STATE: Stonewall Jackson Elementary will sent two teams to the state Odyssey of the Mind competition April 1 in Wichita Falls. Odyssey of the Mind is an academic contest requiring creative problem-solving skills. Students compete against other teams at their grade level. Stonewall had two teams, one in sixth grade and one in 4th grade, receive a first place award at the DISD competition held last month. The wins qualified the teams for state competition. The sixth-grade team coached by Patty Smith is Hilary Parton, Bethany Human, Stefani Brady, Elizabeth Horan, Catharine Houpt, Jennifer Hirsch and Anne McMillen. The fourth-grade team coached by Libby Graves and Beth Anschuetz is Allie Beeson, Courtney Graves, Jessica Goodman, David Zebreski, P.J. Sanchez, Yonas Fesseha and Eleanor Mathis.

EARLY CHILDHOOD PTA: The Stonewall Jackson Elementary Early Childhood PTA is planning a children’s outing April 8 to the Dallas Arboretum at 3:30 p.m. Call Jan Neal for information at 824-5788.

The PTA’s general meeting is April 13 at 7:15 p.m. in the school library, 5828 E. Mockingbird Lane. Jennifer Anglin from The Enchanted Forest Bookstore will speak about “How To Read To Your Child.”

On April 29, the PTA is sponsoring a tea at Lady Primrose for mothers. Call Julie Sneed at 821-9867.

A TRIP TO CHINA: Stonewall Jackson Elementary will turn into China from March 27 to April 7.

Since 1976, the school has chosen a country to study throughout the school year, culminating with an in-depth two week study of the country and its culture.

During the two weeks, students will learn about Chinese through art, food, costumes and guest speakers. On April 6, third grade students will perform “The Chinese Siamese Cats” at 7 p.m. On April 7 the school will have a Chinese market, lion dancers, Chinese character writing and a luncheon.

NATIONAL MERIT SEMIFINALIST: Neighborhood resident Andrew Waldrum was named a National Merit Semifinalist in the annual National Merit Scholarship competition. Semifinalists are chosen throughout the nation based on scores on the PSAT taken in the junior year of high school. Waldrum is a senior at Bishop Lynch High School.

YEARBOOK AWARDED: St. John’s Episcopal School’s yearbook staff has received an Award of Merit from Taylor Publishing Company for its accomplishments in yearbook design and coverage for the 1993/94 school year.

The yearbook, “Cornerstone,” was edited by Kate Burke and Kelly Stephenson and advised by Billye Turner. Yearbooks published by Taylor between October 2, 1993, and October 1, 1994, were evaluated for excellence by the company.

STATE CHAMPIONS: Bishop Lynch High School’s girls basketball team won its seventh consecutive state championship, setting a Texas girls high school record. The Lady Friars finished this season with a 24-10 record. This is the team’s 13th state title in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools. Coach Andy Zihlman, who has coached 10 of the championships, was named coach of the year.


April 1 – St. Thomas Aquinas School’s Mother’s Association seventh annual bingo night, 6-10 p.m. in the auditorium, 3741 Abrams Road. Call Mary Beth Harrington at 503-8823.

April 13 – Lakewood Early Childhood PTA annual Easter egg hunt at 10 a.m. with a sing-along and storytime at Skillman Avenue Church of Christ, 3014 Skillman.

April 22 – Bishop Lynch High School Fantasy Evening in the Caribbean auction/gala at the Grand Kempinski Hotel, 15201 Dallas Parkway, 6:30 p.m. Call 324-3607, ext. 129.

April 29 – Lakewood Elementary, 3000 Hillbrook, spring carnival at noon. Call 841-5250.

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