Preparing for the LEAP Test while Playing Chess

Thursday, March 12, 2009 - 7:45pm

Fourth and fifth grade students at Park Ridge Elementary have a new technique to prepare for the LEAP exam. Our Kianga Kelley explains why one man is challenging the students to a game of chess.

Since 2001, former State Trooper Orrin Hudson has been preaching non-violence and sharing words of inspiration to thousands of children, all through the game of chess. Hudson says, “I’m on a mission to empower young people to think it out instead of shoot it out, heads up, pants up, grades up.”

Fifth grader Raeshelie Burton explains, “Instead of using your hands, you can use your hands at the same time but not physically. You’re just moving pieces and I think that will help you settle things more calmly.”

This week Hudson made his way to Baker, the first of many stops during his “Be Someone” tour across the U.S. For many chess is just a game, but for these fourth and fifth graders at Park Ridge Elementary it’s a learning tool they can use in and outside of the classroom. Fifth grader Michael Ford says, “It’s making me patient and think more.” Teachers agree, with only two weeks before the LEAP exam teachers believe Hudson’s lessons will help their students improve last year’s scores. Reading teacher Karla Johnson explains, “Chess enhances concentration, critical thinking, motivation, and problem solving strategy skills for the students and that’s the best thing they need at this time to prepare for the LEAP test.”

Baker Superintendent, Dr. Estes Taplin, is Hudson’s inspiration for the tour. Before heading to Ohio, school board members and teachers will also get a special lesson in chess.