On any weekday afternoon you might expect 17-year-old Justin Gailey to be studying, playing basketball, or enjoying a video game. As an International Baccalaureate (IB) student at Lakewood High School in Jefferson County, he’s doing all this – and then some.
Every Monday afternoon this fall, you’ll find Justin teaching elementary students the game of chess at the Lakewood Library.
Justin started the program to give back to his community. His school’s IB program encourages students to initiate a community project, and when he realized there was no local programming teaching chess to kids, he knew he was the guy to fill the gap.
Justin’s interest in chess began at an early age as he recalls watching his dad and brother play the game, begging them to let him join the fun. Wanting to learn the game, he went to his local library to learn and play, but found he was still too young.
Justin was determined to play and quickly discovered the game on his own, then attended chess camps and even played in a Las Vegas tournament where he finished among the top competitors.
Justin has experience tutoring kids in math and says the game of chess helps with early math and critical thinking skills. He wants to see the program grow and more kids get involved. “Give it a chance,” he says. “Chess is a lot of fun and you can learn by playing the game.”
Justin hopes to study accounting or engineering next year.