Today we left Santa Barbara first thing to drive to Glendale, CA for Robert and Phiona to speak to Clark Magnet High School. Wow, what a school, it was so impressive with all of the technology programs they have for their students. It was a beautiful campus outside and everyone was so great and easy to be around. The Mayor of Glendale came and declared April 28, 2014 Chess Day in Glendale in dedication to Phiona and her amazing story of perseverance! It was pretty cool, they presented her with a certificate and then she had the opportunity to share her story with students and have a question and answer.
They were so well received, afterwards students lined up to have their picture taken with Phiona. One class, after hearing Phiona had just seen Frozen, went and took down their decorated door. They had recently had a door decorating and theirs was Frozen, so they gave her the snowman off their door! The principal was so kind to give us a tour of the campus, Robert loved seeing the engineering classes, the robots they build and all the equipment they have. It was a great school, they mentioned they would like to stay in touch and may even help us with topographical maps of the site for the Kampala Ministry Center. We could go on and on about how kind that school was!
One graduate from the school happens to be Tatev Abrahamyan, a female Grandmaster! It was arranged for her to be at the assembly and then she took the time to play Phiona at the school for a bit and then went to a burger place so we could talk, eat and play some chess! Tatev was so awesome, she gave Phiona several chess books about tactics and printed out a ton of worksheets for her to work on. She ended up spending over 2 hours teaching and talking with Robert and Phiona, amazing! And all of this happened because of Ardy Kassakhian, City Clerk of Glendale, CA. He helped arrange the assembly at the school and the time with Tatev, he hung out with us all day and we were able to learn more about him and his background and share about Sports Outreach! He has offered to continue to stay in touch with Robert and Phiona and help in anyway he can. An absolutely awesome experience and amazing people in Glendale. So sorry this visit is so short.
PS: The Glendale News Press sent a reporter. A feature story is coming in the next few days but they have already posted this great photo gallery from their coverage.