Ten years ago, St. Ethelreda, a majority-black co-ed Catholic school on Chicago’s South Side, was close to being shuttered due to low enrollment. Now, the school is sitting on top, thanks to the performance of three chess champions.
Shakira Luster, Trechelle Williams, and Imani Hall were greeted with raucous cheers from their fellow students this week as they walked down the hall with their hard-earned trophies. The three girls each placed in the top 10 of the state tournament last month, securing St. Ethelreda’s place as the top chess team in Illinois, reports ABC 7 Chicago.
“Chess, all chess. No running, no nothing—[just] sitting down, looking at a board, figuring out what’s the best move,” Imani told reporters about her vigorous training regiment (wearing a crown, no less!).
“We always thought we were the best chess team, but now that we have the trophy, it’s proved,” said Trechelle.
Their coach, Eric Luster, and principal Dr. Denise Spells credited the community with rallying behind the team—and the school.
Spells told ABC 7, “It’s what you do in school to build the community—a community of family, a community of love, a community of students who believe they can conquer the world if they set their minds to it.”