A Parent’s Decade Of Perspective: Thirteen Years Of ICA Chess=Class Valedictorian, Full Scholarship & Immortal Memories!
Not too long ago we received an extremely touching email from one of our long time chess parents that basically summed up what it is we have been doing for the past twenty plus years. We have written about all of our students attending Ivy league schools and accomplishing great things out there but us talking about it is one thing (sounds like self-promotion doesn’t it?) while somebody going out of their way to express the following gracious words for being a part of their children’s lives for thirteen years is quite another. The benefits and memories herein are intangible and more valuable for many different reasons but as chess players we strive to find the absolute and tangible benefit in the abstract:
Connor Cabrera was with us for over thirteen years, and ended up graduating valedictorian at the top of his high school class and received a full scholarship to college. YOU CAN’T BEAT THAT! & Halldora that makes us ridiculously PROUD too!
This is the testimony that Connor and Lilla’s mom Halldora shared with us (and has kindly allowed us to share with you):
I hope this email finds you well.
Recently I have been going through a lot of things at my house, among them all of Connor and Lilla’s trophies and medals. The bedroom that used to be theirs became mine – without any change to the décor, until now. Yes, I have been sleeping with a rainbow fan ceiling light and all of the kids trophies and favorite child toys for the last 7 ½ years! Nothing intentional in not putting it away; I guess it just wasn’t time yet. Somehow when you look at the same things everyday they tend to disappear and you don’t give it any thought – they are just a part of your surroundings.
By taking them all down though, it brought up so much emotion and it lead me on a roller-coaster ‘down memory lane’. I went through literally 13 years of pictures and selected all chess or sports related pictures into one album. I also went through photos on the icanj.net website going back to 2006! I went through 10 years of photos on your site! Every album. I wanted to ask your permission if I could include some of those pictures to post on Facebook?
10 or 11 years doesn’t seem that long ago, but when I looked at the kids 5 or 6 years old sitting at a chess table it brought tears to my eyes; chess summer camps, going to States every fall, Princeton Day School and tournaments at Bergen Academy. Even though Lilla didn’t play for many years (I know she started at age 5, in 2007, but neither one of us remembers what years she stopped), and that Connor never became super competitive, you guys were a big part of our lives. For that I wanted to thank you. You, your staff, especially Solomon who at one point gave the kids private home lessons (I feel like I literally saw him grow up too..), Genry, Slava, you were all faces that we saw every week. I know you’ve had thousands of students in the 13 years we were involved with The Chess Academy and with years the memory of us will fade, but we will always remember you.
I know Connor sent you his own thank you a while back, by my encouragement. He is graduating valedictorian this June from Weehawken High School and has been accepted, full scholarship, to UCF (University of Central Florida), in Orlando. I have no doubt that his training in chess helped form a focused, inquisitive, and may I say brilliant mind. I am ridiculously proud.
Thank you again.
All my best,