Members of the Canton Police Department more than met their match Wednesday afternoon as they dropped in on Mr. Sherman’s after-school chess club at Cherry Brook Primary School.
Spread throughout the cafeteria at the school, officers spent more than an hour attempting to match wits with students, who took turns playing their new opponents.
The officers were clearly outnumbered as the club numbers more than six times the entire police department.
Each officer had as many as three or four matches going at once.
“It’s such a natural way for kids to interact with police officers,” said John Sherman, the first-grade teacher who runs a weekly chess club with some 65 students. He hopes to make the visit an annual event.
The department also distributed free police badge stickers, which were a big hit.
Sherman said police chief Christopher Arciero found about the chess club last year and suggested the idea. It was late in the year and it never happened but the two spoke again at the town’s vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook School shootings.
12-14-12 certainly made the effort more poignant and gave the department the chance to let kids see officers in a fun, more informal setting, Arciero said.
“It was an experience they’ll remember 10 years from now,” he said.
Sherman has run the chess club at the school for the last nine years. Chessboards from around the world are prominent in his classroom and he is a strong advocate of the game’s ability to teach kids cognitive skills.
Next for the club is March Madness fun.
Arciero said he was quite impressed with the level of participation in the club.