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By Luci Manning

Student Champ: How Chess Changed My Life (Washington Post’s The Answer Sheet blog, District of Columbia)
Pobo Efekoro, one of the stars of the award-winning documentary Brooklyn Castle, wrote a blog post for The Answer Sheet on his experiences in afterschool. He credits chess and the other afterschool programs he was a part of in Brooklyn with shaping him into the person he is today and credits them with helping him meet Jon Stewart! He writes, “I gained the ability to be patient through sitting down at the chessboard and just being able to sit there for hours analyzing the different positions I was presented with. Also, I gained the ability to plan. I can plan ahead and plan how I will execute certain objectives and get to where I need to go in life. The chess program has also given me a resounding work ethic. I’m always working all the time doing things that are constructive for me and for other people and that’s very important. The chess program was also a great place for me to socialize with my friends after a hard day’s work in the classroom. All of these key skills I learned from the game of chess, and the chess program at I.S.318 helped me become who I am today.”
In a column for the Las Vegas Sun, Clark County School District Superintendent Dwight Jones writes about how the fiscal cliff could impact Las Vegas. “Our community cannot afford further cutbacks in school funding. The School District would be forced to reduce positions and programs that serve our neediest students, such as after-school programs, homeless student services, reading and math intervention programs, preschool programs and services for English Language Learners… I ask that Nevada’s members of Congress work to find an agreement to avoid these devastating budget cuts.”
NBA super star Chris Paul surprised afterschool students at La Salle Elementary School in Los Angeles last week with Christmas gifts and a pizza party. After Paul was traded from the New Orleans Hornets, he wanted to continue to give back to the community. “The son of two hard-working parents, Paul and his older brother are products of before- and after-school programs and he understands first-hand their importance and impact,” the Los Angeles Daily News reports. “For us, it's sort of where we were molded,” Paul said. “It’s where we learned values and did homework and arts and crafts.”
At the Women in Technology Workshop at Mildred E. Strang Middle School, (MESMS) IBM women facilitators showed afterschool students how to make lip gloss, body wash, perfume, pocketbooks, shoes and more and then guided students through presentations to introduce their products, including what they used to make the products, marketing plans, etc. “This workshop is a great opportunity for girls to work closely with the women from IBM and to learn more about what is available to them in the field of technology,” Megan Kalogris, a science teacher at MESMS, told the Yorktown Daily Voice.
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