School chess champs coached by Winter Texan with huge heart
Fri, 18 Oct 2013 03:56:49 GMT —
Sam Houston Elementary in the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District knows chess.
Trophy-filled cases dot the halls.
Student-signs adorn the walls.
The school breeds winners.
These kids are good.
They're the kind of players that beat high school kids.
One female third grader is number one in Texas.
With 21 team trophies last year, another 16 this year, the school is a force to be reckoned with.
Behind the checkmates is one man.
"You guys want to know the real reason why I'm here?" Action 4's Ryan Wolf asked out loud to students and staff in the school's auditorium.
"Yes!" everyone in the room said.
"Because of that man right there," Ryan said while pointing to George Rohrer who looked surprised. "Come on down."
George is a Winter Texan born in Montana who's transplanted to the Rio Grande Valley to help teach students chess.
For the last two years he TMs spent nearly three hours each weekday at the elementary school providing lessons to students for free.
He even volunteers to help students at the RV Park where he lives on Sundays and signs kids up for tournaments.
Priscilla Casas couldn't afford private lessons for her son which can cost up to $90 per session.
She said her son Michael has flourished not only as a chess player, but as an academic student thanks to George's kindness.
She wants to Pay it 4Ward and helped to set up the surprise at the school.
"Hello Mr. Rohrer," she said to him. "I'm very, very thankful. You don't understand the time and the patience that you give each and every one of these students. You give them the ability to learn and it has improved each and every one of them academically. Many of us parents cannot afford lessons and therefore you give your time Monday-Sunday. "I called Ryan Wolf to Pay it 4Ward."
Karen Gonzalez with FNB Insurance Agency is standing by to award the Pay it 4Ward prize.
"What you are doing for these kids is incredible," she said. "You are enriching their lives and giving them an opportunity that they probably otherwise wouldn't have. So on behalf of FNB Insurance and Action 4 News, please put out your hand."
Karen counts $400 and hands the cash to him.
George says it's not about the money or the attention.
"That's appreciated, but I see it every day in the parents," he said. "And they know I appreciate their support. They didn't really need to bring in the news. I'm kind of allergic to the TV cameras but thank you very much."
He says he simply wants to give kids the tools he wishes he had as a kid to succeed.
George plans to use all of his Pay it 4Ward prize to help student chess players afford tournaments outside the Valley.