Noble County Chess Fund Awards Grant!

PICTURE: Superintendent Nate Lowe on the left, Mrs. DeeDee Schermerhorn on the right, 4th graders of Mrs. Schermerhorn’s classroom.

The Community Foundation of Noble County is proud to announce that West Noble School Corporation has been awarded a $1,500 grant from the Noble County Chess Fund. This grant will support the revitalization of chess education and clubs in West Noble schools, providing students with access to quality chess instruction and opportunities to participate in chess competitions.

The Noble County Chess Fund was established in December 1996 by a close friend, in memory of Chet Dekko. Mr. Dekko was a respected entrepreneur, business and community leader, and dedicated family man who believed in education as the key to an independent, successful life. To honor Mr. Dekko’s legacy and support chess education for elementary school children in Noble County. This donor created this fund in lieu of flowers.

West Noble School Corporation will use the grant to rejuvenate the West Noble Chess Club. Although some chess activities currently take place in classrooms and clubs across all four school buildings, the existing chess sets are outdated, the boards are worn out, and many pieces are missing. Furthermore, there are no clocks or notation books available. With the new equipment purchased through this grant, it is anticipated that chess participation will significantly increase during lunch periods, study halls, and classroom sessions.

“I spent an afternoon one week in a 5th-grade math class teaching chess etiquette and some basic patterns,” said Dr. Nate Lowe, superintendent of West Noble School Corporation. “The kids and the teacher were hungry for more …This grant will enable us to provide the necessary equipment and resources to foster a thriving chess culture in our schools.”

Dr. Nate Lowe also shared a heartwarming story that highlights the unifying power of chess.

“In Mrs. Kiser’s first-grade classroom at West Noble Primary, there are two students currently learning English. These children do not speak much since they are learning the language, but when they see the chess board, they beam with excitement. Both students had played chess with their families. These two first graders then taught their entire classroom how to play chess. It was a beautiful moment that demonstrated how chess can unite people of all backgrounds, no matter their language, abilities, age, or anything else.”

The grant will also be used to purchase chess clocks and notation books for students ready to advance to the next level of competition.

“When I coached the chess team at the high school 15 years ago, we participated in several scholastic chess tournaments in our area. We have students who could and should be competing at this level again,” added Lowe. “It is time to bring chess back to West Noble in a significant way.”

The Community Foundation of Noble County is excited to support West Noble School Corporation in this initiative through the Noble County Chess Club.

For more information about the Noble County Chess Fund, grant opportunities, or to learn how you can support educational initiatives in our community, please contact Program Director Jazmín Herrera at or 260-894-3335.