Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic School Chess Team Mayor’s Cup Tournament Winners

The Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic School Chess Team competed Oct. 19 in the Mayor’s Cup Tournament at Chavez High School in Houston and finished third as a team among middle schools. In the High Intermediate Skill Section, Michaela Gutermuth finished seventh and Penelope Mulholland took eighth. In the High Novice Skill group, Aryahi Kadiyala earned seventh and Julian Gamino brought home ninth place.

ACCLAIM

Teachers and parents constantly seek new methods of engaging children who are confronted with the enticements of electronics. It’s not an easy task, and the adults deserve credit for creating ways that educate children in the face of all the distractions.

Sometimes, however, it’s the old things that can work best.

Students at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic School in Richwood are proving that to be true by showing their skills at competitive chess with some impressive finishes at Houston-area competitions. They included finishing third in the championship tournament at Strake Jesuit High School in Houston, which featured 144 players from 22 schools.

Trophies are not why more kids should learn and be involve in chess, however. It is for the mental tools players gain that benefit them beyond the game.

“Chess is an especially effective teaching tool,” wrote Peter Dauvergne, a Canadian academic and chess master. “It can equally challenge the minds of girls and boys, gifted and average, athletic and nonathletic, rich and poor. It can teach children the importance of planning and the consequences of decisions.

“It can further teach how to concentrate, how to win and lose gracefully, how to think logically and efficiently, and how to make tough and abstract decisions.”

All of those are cornerstone skills for effective learning as well as how to navigate obstacles that crop up in any person’s life, young or old.

Kudos to educators like those at OLQP who have used the classic strategy game of chess to teach today’s learners.

ACCLAIM

Appetites don’t end with graduation from high school

A common mantra for public schools is how important it is for their students to have enough to eat, one of the reasons for providing free breakfasts and lunches at campuses with a large percentage of poor students.

When those same students hit college, however, their pantries at home don’t magically become stocked with food. They are just as likely to encounter food insecurity, if not be more prone to it when the added expenses of higher education are thrown in.

Programs organized through the Houston Food Bank such as the recently opened Gator Mart at Brazosport College provide a valuable resource for teenagers from lower-income families as well as working parents to address the threats of hunger. It allows students to receive food scholarships that entitle them to receive up to 60 pounds of healthy food twice a month.

Gator Mart is also home to a clothing closet for students to have professional dress for presentations and job interviews, a bulk of which was donated by Elaine’s Fashions. This also benefits students long term by providing them suitable clothing when they seek better-paying jobs or start their careers.

It’s easy to sit back and tell people if they want improve themselves they should go to college, not realizing people from lower-income households can’t easily do that because of the difficulties of meeting basic needs. Gator Mart, and a similar Houston Food Bank-affiliated program at Alvin Community College, provide the means for people to improve their lives by removing obstacles to success and growth.

A SHAME

Legislator should resign in face of drug charges

There are few jobs in which someone charged with felony drug possession wouldn’t find themselves immediately unemployed after the silver bracelets are snapped into place. Unfortunately, politics is one of the professions where the employee believes an “I’m sorry” is sufficient.

State Rep. Poncho Nevárez, an Eagle Pass Democrat and House committee chairman, was seen on surveillance video dropping an envelope containing cocaine as he was leaving the Austin airport back in September, according to an arrest affadavit. Denial would have been useless given that Navarez’s House seal was on the envelope, the court document states.

Inside that envelope, according to investigators, were four small plastic bags of cocaine amounting to about 2 grams, the affadavit shows.

But Navarez, who turned himself in to authorities and was released after posting his bond of $10,000, doesn’t plan to use an official envelope for a letter of resignation. Instead, he announced he would not see re-election to another term but would continue on his merry way until then. That includes serving as chairman of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee and vice chairman of the Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety.

That he remains in office and in position to direct important policy decisions of the state is another example of politicians believing real-life rules should not apply to them. If Navarez truly was as remorseful as he claims, he would remove himself from the committees and the office constituents selected him to represent with dignity.

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