Policy Institute seeks donations so CPS chess wizzes can compete
Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) has partnered with local math teacher Joel Ocol on a project the organization says can make a life-changing difference for many young people.
“When we see solutions to better the state of Illinois, we back them,” IPI officials said in a press release. “That’s why we’ve partnered with Chicago Math teacher Joe Ocol to provide life-changing mentorship and coaching to young Illinoisans in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood.”
Ocol teaches chess to grade school students at Earle STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math] Elementary on the city’s South Side.
“Last year, we raised $20,000 for Mr. Ocol's chess program,” the release added. “We’re happy to report that the investment paid off.”
Earle students recently earned three trophies from the U.S. Chess Federation Super Nationals tournament in Nashville.
Team captain Tamya Fultz bagged two first-place trophies at the 2017 National K-12 Grade Chess Championships in Florida. In addition to being the only African-American and Chicago Public School student competing at that chess tournament, she was the only female among 25 finalists.
With Fultz now attending one of the city’s elite magnet schools, Ocol is again looking to make a difference.
“Wunderkind” Taahir Levi now headlines a group of nine fifth to seventh graders he is mentoring for the three-day, 2018 K-12 Grade Chess Championship in Orlando beginning Dec. 13.
With tournament registration and other expenses for the event estimated at $5,000, IPI officials and others are soliciting contributions to offset the costs.
“Mr. Ocol is changing the lives of young people,” officials added in the release. “Will you help Mr. Ocol give Chicago children the experience of a lifetime? If so, you can make a secure donation here. Every dollar will go directly to the team.”