Like clockwork, the virtual Chess in the Schools (CIS) summer camp materialized in front of my eyes at precisely 8:50am every morning. Hearing Shaun’s clarion voice welcoming the students as they poured into the zoom…
Alumni Spotlight: Miguel Mino
Miguel Mino is a 2018 Chess in the Schools College Bound Alum. After falling in love with SUNY Binghamton on the overnight CIS college trip, he decided that was the path for him. He just completed his freshman year. Below is an excerpt from his essay titled “Why Chess is More than Just a Game: A Tool to Educational Success.”
“In addition to the cognitive effects that chess can provide students, chess can help students in schools in other significant ways. I use myself as a prime example of chess positively affecting my academics and my educational success. For the most part, chess helped me by providing a strong sense of community and mentorship that I truly benefited from. From attending chess camp to joining a college-bound program sponsored by a non-profit organization that revolves around chess, I grew and learned so much about myself. I went from an underachieving student to a student that was accepted to the top state university in New York. Playing chess and being surrounded by other chess players simply inspired and empowered me to take my education seriously and go to college.
My schooling days started really well academically, up until I gave up playing chess. After having stopped, my academic performance dropped and I noticed a lot of negative changes in my middle school self. However, after quitting chess and realizing the detrimental consequences, I decided to continue to play chess again. This was the best decision I made in my life for numerous reasons. Not only did I begin to flourish as a student, but my love and passion for chess grew even more. I was now playing chess again, teaching chess, and even began to focus more on school and my future. Luckily because of Chess in the Schools, I was on the right path again. Pictured below is a group of high school seniors, including myself, who all benefited from the power of chess and its community.
My Public Opinion Piece was written with the purpose to advocate for the importance of education through the game of chess. As a student who experienced being at risk and being saved by chess, I found that experience to be worth sharing and ultimately turning it into a research paper. My main goal was to express the importance of this game with all the lessons I’ve learned from it. The game has taught me so much more than good sportsmanship and that’s what inspired me to pursue this topic. As a chess player, I learned everything from proactive thinking to developing my network skills. I believe that you don’t only learn more about the game, but you learn more about yourself and life if you apply this game as a metaphor to life. The immense passion I have for chess and for the accessibility of education is what drove me to write this paper, to ultimately inform people to pursue chess.
As far as the images go, they were carefully chosen to support my point. The image above shows a group of high school seniors wearing a shirt that says “Thanks to you I am College Bound.” This picture is very important to me because it shows how the chess community literally elevated myself and my peers to strive for greatness. The point I wanted to get across with that picture is that chess doesn’t just help students become smarter through the game, but the relationships and connections you get through chess is what makes the game worth playing and pursuing.”