Girl Power makes history in Toledo

From the left: Ylisia Crawford, Nia Thomas and Whitney Taylor Hughes.

Special to The Toledo Journal

The relatively new Jones Leadership Academy will be found to have made history in many different ways. Today that history making event comes in the form of the first Afro-American girls’ team to take 1st place as a team and 1st and 2nd place in the individual category honors.

The event was the 2016 Ohio All Girls Chess Championship hosted by the Columbus Chess Academy in Columbus, Ohio. This history making event will not be re-written and distorted as was the value of urban renewal for the inner city, or the surgical removal of those that were at the forefront of saving Scott High School to be replaced by those in an inner circle in saving that historic Black school.

History has always been distorted, but will not be allowed with this story of a group of girls from the Jones Leadership Academy Chess Club that went to the mat… or in this case the board…to show what they were capable of.

Chess is no walk in the park and requires understandings of strategic thinking and seeing moves ahead. It’s about options and responsibility for bad moves. It’s about making the right decisions and is a perfect tool to teach responsibility for ones actions.

According to the Johns Hopkins School of Education, research shows, there is a strong correlation between learning to play chess and academic achievement.

In 2000, a landmark study found that students who received chess instruction scored significantly higher on all measures of academic achievement, including math, spatial analysis, and non-verbal reasoning ability (Smith and Cage, 2000). Chess is intertwined with the skills needed in the game of life.

The girls were motivated by the words of Doni Miller when they appeared on the Bridges TV show, who told them that they had girl power and that they should use it in chess. At the All Girls Tournament, this was their battle cry.

Captain Ylisia Crawford, Co-Caption Whitney Taylor Hughes and first year player Nia Thomas made Toledo, TPS and the academy proud as they swept the tournament in the 4 to 12th grade category.

First place Ylisia Crawford
First place Ylisia
Second place Whiteny Taylor Hughes
Second place Whiteny
Taylor Hughes

There were many non-playing members of the chess club that played a role in its success. Among them are the Superintendent of TPS, Dr, Durant, Jim Gault, Executive Transformational Leader of Curriculum and Dr. Ward Barnett Principal at the Academy and who had a vision that chess could succeed in TPS.

House mother Yolanda Woodberry and coach Lionel Moore rounded out the non playing team. And without the support of the parents and the coverage given to our program by The Toledo Journal…maybe this history would not have been made.