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</head> Chess season starts in area schools
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News Story
Updated: 09/18/2013 08:00:02AM

Chess season starts in area schools

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Christine Roslow

2nd Lt. Bobby J. Thomas Jr.

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Polk Scholastic Chess, a nonprofit corporation providing chess tournaments to Polk County students for more than 25 years, has released its tournament schedule for this year.

The chess program is an invitational extracurricular program for all Polk County School students kindergarten through 12th grade.

The registration deadline is Sept. 24 and the fee is $35 per student. Late registration fee is $45 after Sept. 24. Students should register online through the website.

The monthly tournaments are at Highland Park Church of the Nazarene, Family Ministries Building, 4730 Lakeland Highlands Road, Lakeland. Usually attracting about 600 students every year, there are four of them and a championship March 15 for which players must qualify.

Volunteers are needed to coach at the school level, to serve on the board of directors and to supervise players during the tournaments. Volunteers must be a Polk County School Board approved volunteer. Check-in for the games begins at 7:45 a.m. Preregistration through the online system is mandatory; students will not be added on the first day of tournament.

The tournament schedule is as follows, first one is Oct. 19, second is Nov. 16, the third is Dec. 16 and the fourth is Jan. 11. The championship is March 15.

For information, call 863-640-3109.

Fall Family Exploration Day

On Saturday there will be a fall conference for parents of students with disabilities at Lake Region High.

The conference runs from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Lake Region, 1995 Thunder Road, Eagle Lake.

Those who attend the Fall Family Exploration Day will have an opportunity to attend workshops on topics such as Individualized Education Programs, Behavior Intervention Plans, Transition Planning, Inclusion, PreK/VPK/Head Start, Alternate Assessment and Autism.

To register, complete the registration form and email Lisa Miller, Polk ESE Advisory Council, at For those with questions, contact Miller at 863-698-6240.

Six named s emifinalists in National Merit Scholarship Program, four from Bartow IB

Bartow International Baccalaureate students Sabrina Grimes, Anderson Kragh, Youlei Li and Matthew Patterson were four of the six Polk County students named semifinalists in the 59th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These students join about 16,000 semifinalists from across the United States.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring and every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships. To become a finalist, the semifinalists must excel academically, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

The second type of scholarships offered are corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards provided by corporations and business organizations for finalists that meet specific criteria. Additionally, hundreds of colleges and universities will award finalists some 4,500 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.

The two other Polk students to make semifinalist were Michael Bratsman from Haines City High IB and Thomas Schreffler from Lakeland High.

Summerlin Academy grad commissioned

Air Force 2nd Lt. Bobby J. Thomas Jr. was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force through the ROTC program. Thomas is combat systems officer trainee assigned to the 479th Flying Training Group at Naval Air Station Pensacola. He served in the military for four years.

He is the son of Shelia and Bobby Thomas Sr. of Mayfair Way, Lakeland.

Thomas graduated in 2009 from Summerlin Military Academy, Bartow, and received a bachelor of arts in 2013 from the University of South Florida.

Christine Roslow can be reached at

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