FM Joshua Colas
Photo by Webster University (Paul Truong)
Joshua Colas is making his rounds. The native New Yorker is studying in the “Show-Me State” of Missouri and is now going to take his talents to the “Sunshine State” of Florida for spring break. The Webster University collegiate is going to be participating in a weekend of events hosted by the National Scholastic Chess Foundation (NSCF) in Sunrise, Florida. Robert McClellan has collaborated with legendary coach Sunil Weeramantry to develop scholastic programs in Broward County. He describes the events…
Over a few months, Sunil and I met with various entities across the County trying to determine a different approach to community chess. We developed a series of full-day workshops which we call Demystifying Chess and presented the first one in October 2014 with a grant from the Sunrise Police Dept that was then matched by Broward Education Foundation. Both organizations have been our partners ever since and we have now had over 500 teachers, sheriffs deputies and other professionals who work with children complete at least one full-day training. A little over two years ago we began direct instruction in the community by forming The Sunrise Center for Excellence in Chess.
Josh, a former All-American and six-time national champion, earned his National Masters title before the age of 13 and is currently trying to complete the requirements for the International Master’s title. He has taken his talents to south Florida to interact with a variety of scholastic programs developed by the Sunrise Chess Center of Excellence (www.sunrisechesscenter.org).
On Thursday Josh will be having dinner and then playing chess with some of the children in a mentor program we developed. Then Friday he will visit with young people in a detention center where we offer chess every week. In the afternoon, he will speak at an assembly and then play chess at Bair Middle School in Sunrise. And then Saturday, he will join us for Open Play which we have every Saturday morning at the Sunrise Civic Center.
Josh playing with Quinton Tanksley.
Photo courtesy of NSCF.
Josh has many a number of appearances and as one going into his last year at Webster is a perfect role model for students, especially those who are struggling with self-esteem issues and mired in at-risk situations.