Jun 11, 2023

Chess tables coming to all CUSD schools

Assistant Editor CVN

All Carpinteria Unified School District school sites will soon have chess tables available for students, thanks to the efforts of local student Elijah Sheaffer, 16, and several of his friends and peers over the summer.

Elijah, a longtime chess player, chose this task to be his Eagle Scout Service Project. An Eagle Scout Service Project is an opportunity for Boy Scouts to demonstrate their leadership skills and skills they’ve learned while scouting, while providing a service to their community and earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

“I chose this as my Eagle Scout Service Project because growing up, I always loved to play chess with my grandpa,” Elijah told CVN. “He taught me how to play and it turned into something I loved.”

School board member Andy Sheaffer, Elijah’s father, said he was proud of his son when he came to him with the idea, and said Elijah told him the tables would benefit children who didn’t have the opportunity to learn chess as he did. “He’s pretty focused on things that make you smarter,” Andy said.

Elijah told CVN the idea for chess tables came to him while driving past Canalino Elementary School. “One day I was driving by Canalino and I saw a chess club or tournament going on and I thought it would be cool if they had (permanent) tables to play chess on.”

Elijah’s plan includes creating concrete chess tables and stools, and installing two tables and sets of stools for each school site, according to his June presentation to the CUSD Board of Trustees. After all the chess tables are complete, Elijah plans to spend time at several schools to teach students how to play chess.

“He wanted to do something that had a long-lasting benefit for Carpinteria,” Andy said.

Putting together chess tables includes creating metal frames to pour the concrete over for the stools and table, smoothing them after drying and adding the top of the table to the surface of the table. The table top portion is made out of marble and terrazzo.

Since he began the project, Elijah has received some help from his fellow scouts in Carpinteria Troop 50, his siblings – including older brother Augie, who recently became an Eagle Scout – and his teammates from his water polo team. The groups worked together during the sweltering summer months, either at a local school, or at Sheaffer’s house or farm.

Elijah began his senior year at Carpinteria High School this year, and his father said he’s proud of the initiative and compassion behind Elijah’s project.

Elijah said he is excited to teach others how to play chess, and hopefully will pass on his love of the game. “Playing chess has made me better at analyzing all aspects of life,” he said. “I taught my younger cousin how to play chess, and I’m excited to get all the scouts out to help teach the young students how to play.”

Assistant Editor CVN

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