American Go E-Journal

BUDDHIST NUN MARJORIE “SU CO” HEY NAMED TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Thursday July 22, 2010

Marjorie “Su Co” Hey has been chosen as the AGF’s Teacher of the Year.  An ordained Buddhist nun, she is in good company, joining Honinbo Sansa, the 16th century founder of the Honinbo House, among notable go playing Buddhists.  Hey, who lives in Medford, MA, has been a dedicated go teacher for the past seven years, with go programs at elementary schools, libraries, and Boys and Girls Clubs, often running five or six separate clubs each week.  “For those people who are afraid I am teaching their kids Buddhism, I point out that go was being played at least a thousand years before Buddhism or Christianity were established,” Hey told the E-Journal, “go teaches us to do our best, treat our opponents with respect and to avoid being greedy (the surest way to lose).”   Hey seems never to have been worried about the competitive aspects of the game, and instead delights in teaching and helping beginners.  She is not a strong player herself, with an AGA rank of 18 kyu, but she possesses a special gift – the ability to fascinate and delight children.  Her main interest is in helping her students, and she enjoys seeing their progress. “Ralph St. Louis (age 14) and I played to see if he would be eligible to play in the Massachusetts Go Association (MGA) tournament. Playing even, he won by a half point,’ said Hey.  “The next morning I loaned him my 10 volume set of Level Up and he set to studying it before the Sunday tournament. I entered him as a 20 kyu. He played me the first game and mowed me down. He went on to play a 6 kyu and won and then lost to a 4 kyu. I only won two and lost two. Last night I checked the new ratings and I had gone from 19+ kyu to 18.9 kyu but Ralph went from 20 kyu to 16.6 kyu. WOW!!!! Ralph is more than 2 kyu stronger than me.”  Tom Bahun, a teenaged 2 dan, tells a similar story:  “the first tournament I went to at the MGA was dull and boring, but the next one was run by Su Co, and we had tons of fun.  All the kids had huge smiles on their faces they were  so happy, including me, even though I had lost.  She is all around a great person and a great teacher of go to children.” The Teacher of the Year Award has become quite competitive in recent years, and many excellent teachers are finding themselves on a waiting list for the honor, which includes an all-expenses-paid trip the annual US Go Congress.  Honorable mention goes to Portland go teacher Fritz Balwit, and Colorado teacher David Weiss, who were also nominated for the award this year. Hey will hold a round-table discussion — for those who teach and those who would like to — at the Congress, on Monday Aug. 2 at 5pm.
- Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: Hey, at center, teaching children at Brooks Elementary School in Medford MA.

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