Donation will help squad attend national championship in San Diego
Friday, December 2 2011, 10:10 PM
A nationally renowned Brooklyn middle school chess club threatened by budget cuts has been rescued by a white knight — in the form of a local power company.
Officials for the Brooklyn Navy Yard Cogeneration Plant donated $25,000 to Intermediate School 318 in East Williamsburg to help fund the school’s chess program.
“It’s like a dream come true that someone responded to our cry for help,” said assistant principal and team coordinator John Galvin.
After a rash of budget cuts and a lean economy, Galvin said the school had a daunting task of raising $60,000 to help their students trek across the country to compete for a national championship. Faculty at the school and the chess champs have been working overtime to raise the money by selling candy bars, running bake sales and reaching out to private donors.
Even though they’ve raised a good chunk of the money, Galvin still feared the deficit would be too much — especially with the team’s big trip to San Diego, to challenge for another national title, looming in April.
“Either the price would have been too high or we would have been unable to take all the students who earned the right to go,” said Galvin. “That was a dilemma that we were extremely fearful of.”
Officials for the power company said they called Galvin yesterday after they read the story in Thursday’s Daily News.
“We thought, ‘Three weeks before Christmas, what perfect timing,’ ” said company official Sean Lane. “It just seemed to us how could we not support this school.”
Lane said the company regularly donates their time to the school and when they saw the school needed cash, the decision was a no-brainer.
“We rely on New York to be successful so that we can be successful and that starts with the kids in our own community,” said Lane. “It’s a way for us to give back to the community we work in every day.”
Galvin said even though the team is still $15,000 short, he can now focus on getting his kids in prime position to checkmate the competition.
The team spent yesterday at Google’s offices in Chelsea wiping the floor with the search engine’s best and brightest on the chess board, cruising to an easy 45-9 win.
“It just reinforced our belief that our kids are the intellectual equals of anyone,” said Galvin. “They’re proud of what they’ve accomplished and they’re proud to show it off.”