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Cincinnati Enquirer (2 Education pages excerpted into this document) - Public Copy

Staff Sgt. Tracy Wallingsford, left, and Staff Sgt. Timothy Rhodes, right, make Clermont Northeastern senior Lucas Hannon an honorary soldier. Hannon was born with spina bifida, which put him in a wheelchair. His condition disqualifies him from joining the military, something he's always wanted to do. Thanks to Amy Palacios

Student in wheelchair determined to join military

Lucas Hannon always wanted to join the military. 10:41 AM

  1. Students at Mason Intermediate play on one of two chess boards constructed by Daniel Eichler. The Enquirer/ Michael D. Clark / The Enquirer/Mich

    Super-sized outdoor chess set? Check

    There is no other piece of school playground equipment like it among Southwest Ohio schools. 11:34 AM

    Super-sized outdoor chess set? Check

Dec. 3, 2013

Giant School Chess: Mason school has giant chess game

MASON — There is no other piece of school playground equipment like it among Southwest Ohio schools.

While other area students might spend their outside recess playing old-fashioned kick ball or other games, grade-schoolers in Mason can give their brains a fresh air workout.

Two giant, brick chess sets – the boards are 9 feet by 9 feet – are now part of Mason Intermediate School’s recess play area. The giant chess playing surfaces are adorned with large, black and white plastic game pieces, each about two-feet high.

It’s an oversized and more tactile version of the mentally challenging game, and each school day when the thermometer is above freezing, dozens of fifth- and sixth-grade boys and girls huddle around the games.

“Since the chess pieces are larger – instead of sitting at a table – it lets them walk around with the chess pieces, and they really enjoy having fun with it,” said Stephanie Meyer, a playground assistant for the Warren County school.

“It’s wonderful to have it, and the kids enjoy it. It’s a full group activity so other kids can watch while other ones play,” said Meyer.

Nearby, about a dozen boys and girls watch students ponder their next chess moves.

Among them is Araz Bhatt, a fifth grader and regular player of the “sport of kings.”

“It’s really fun to play. And I enjoy playing with my friends,” said Araz. “And it exercises my brain more.”

Greg Sears, principal of Mason Intermediate, praised both the recent additions to his school’s playground and the school’s former student who made them possible.

“It’s a great opportunity to expand their options at recess and not only exercise their bodies but also exercise their minds as well. And so it’s a great way to engage the kids into thinking during a fun time of the day,” said Sears.

On any scale, indoors or out, the ancient board game teaches critical thinking, strategy and decision-making.

Sears said Daniel Eichler, who is now a junior at Mason High School, deserves the credit for novel recess game.

Done as part of his Eagle Scout project requirement, the 16-year-old Daniel spent the early summer raising about $800 and then constructing the two game sets using 64 multi-colored brick pavers, gravel and sand.

“Daniel had a vision for helping the recess options,” said Sears. “He is a great kid who worked extremely hard and did an outstanding job on the project.”

Daniel said “I decided I’d do something to improve the playground.”

“Chess is a great sport of the mind. I’m really happy with the way it turned out,” said Daniel, who has visited his old school – across the street from Mason High School – during recess to check out his invention.

“When I’ve been over there during recess they were a lot of kids playing and watching. That was good to see.” ⬛

DMU Timestamp: December 05, 2013 03:19

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