Cheryl Gusenberg died. She was the second grade teacher at my school, and she had just retired to take care of her health a few weeks ago. A few weeks ago, we marked her farewell from teaching with toasts and food and good cheer; today we honored her memory with the Kiddush, prayers and beautiful eulogies. She will be greatly missed.
It was at her request and direction, and with her help, that I designed what I now name the Gusenberg Chess Set: a simple board and pieces built out of basic parts available from many woodcraft supply stories, which cost the school under $6.00 to build. It was a way to teach her second graders about chess, and about how things get made. But really, things get made because someone (like Cheryl), has a great idea, and demands that people follow through. Over the last three or four years, we’ve built something close to fifty of these chess sets, and taught a few hundred kids the basics of the game.
I hope that we continue to teach people to play chess, in memory of her, and her perseverance, her patience, and her drive to find ways to help every child she taught learn something new.