BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer
Warren Woodberry is, perhaps, known throughout the state of Ohio, in the chess world, as the chess master who engineered the ultimate Cinderella story. In 2012 he took a group of kids, from Jones Leadership Academy, 430 Nebraska, who, never played the game, and led them to victory after victory of children who were veterans of the skillful game. But on Friday, September 15, the attention was on him, instead of his chess team, when his, “over 21,” birthday party was held in the chess room of the school.
In attendance for dinner, and cake were not only the students of the chess team, and their parents, but members of the community who’ve believed in, and supported the team over the years.
Yolanda Woodberry, wife, told The Toledo Journal that her husband’s birthday was on August 12, but he wanted to celebrate with the kids of the chess team, so they moved it to September 15.
“He’s always concerned about the children doing better in their academics,” she said. “He wants them to improve in their education, develop better social skills, and always follow through on their commitments,” Mrs. Woodberry said.
Russell Chapman III, 15, has been playing chess for three years, and said he has learned a lot from Mr. Woodberry.
“He sets important goals for us in chess, and calls us his warriors,” Russell said.
“He treats us like friends, and peers,” said Sophia Parish, 15 years old.
Rochelle Gould and Jennifer Hill each have a child on the team. Both praised Mr. Woodberry for his work.
“This is the best program ever,” said Ms. Hill.
“The chess program is the greatest thing since McDonald’s. It’s the life of this school,” said. Ms. Gould.
“I really appreciate everyone coming out today, and for supporting the chess team over the years, said Mr. Woodberry.
Although it was his day to shine, Mr. Woodberry was still focused on the kids. He said the next big obstacle to hurdle would be trying to spread the chess program throughout Toledo Public Schools, even though funding for after school programs have been cut by the Trump Administration.