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ASPIRA of Florida



ASPIRA North Gets Trophy at State Championship

chess_teamOn the weekend of February 6-8, 2009 ASPIRA North Chess Club had the privilege of attending the 2009 Florida SUPERSTATE VI Scholastic Chess Championship held here in Miami, Florida. This was the second time the school chess team attended these events. Last year the team traveled to Orlando to compete at state level for the first time. The experience was great but the team came back empty handed; only the top 5 teams in the state got a trophy; ASPIRA North's team came in sixth place. This year, however, things got better; the team placed fifth in the competition's K-8 Unrated category and came back to the school with a trophy. This is a great accomplishment not only for our school but also for the ASPIRA organization.

chess_championIn addition, one of the players, eighth grader Alexander Barnes placed seventh in the State in the individual standings of the ‘K-8 Under 850' category; he won 5 out of 6 games. Alexander has been with the chess team since sixth grade and this is his last year with the school. We will lose a valuable player but we know that he has a great future in chess and wish him the best. The other team members that attended the Championship are: Dominick Pierre, Daniel Cano, Daniel Julien, Jemaxon Adrien, Jonathan Trujillo, Luis de la Cruz, Alexis Herrera and David Remilien.

Everyone in the school is very happy with the chess team's success. Students as well as staff and the administration are very joyful. The school Principal, Iliana Peña, is extremely proud of her students since she has always being supportive of the chess team. She even traveled with to Orlando to last year's competition, it was an exciting moment and this achievement is great for the school as a whole. Mrs. Peña stated that she "has seen great improvement in all the team members, not only in academics but in behavior, attitude and leadership skills."

This is not the first trophy for the ASPIRA North Chess team. Two years ago, in 2007 the ASPIRA North's chess team made it to first place in region II Title I Chess Tournament of Miami-Dade county public schools. This new milestone has awakened the desire to keep competing; more students want to join the chess club. Both Mr. Trujillo and Mr. Núñez are very happy with the results. Mr. Trujillo took charge of the Chess Club about 4 years ago when two other teachers, Mrs. De Jesús and Mr. Rosario agreed (among themselves) that he should be in charge. Mr. Rosario then said to Mr. Trujillo, "we have decided that you are the man" for the chess club. Although Mr. Trujillo had learned to play chess as a child, he had not played since, and declined the ‘appointment'. Mr. Rosario said that "all you have to do is supervise them so they can play" and that's how everything started.

Alongside Mr. Trujillo has been Mr. Núñez who is also a lover of chess. Since Mr. Núñez joined the team he has been a key person in getting the team ready for competition. Now we are even considering attending the National Chess Championship in Tennessee. "Mr. T" never thought that his ‘chess club' would go this far, but the students are the ones that make the difference, they love the game and play hard. We really never thought about tournaments or championships at state level, but here we are. Not all students at ASPIRA North are "into chess" but for those who are, getting a trophy comes with great pleasure and satisfaction. It gives them the opportunity to meet new students and go to different places as they face their opponents hoping to win yet another trophy.