D’mitri Moore, of Detroit, MI, and Jasmine Yan, of Edison, NJ, have each won $1,000 towards their college expenses, from the American Go Foundation. The scholarship recognizes high school students who have served as important youth organizers and promoters for the go community, and is awarded annually. Applications for next year’s scholarship are due by Nov. 20, more information can be found on the AGF website. Moore launched a go club at his high school in inner city Detroit, and stuck with it through thick and thin over the next four years. Moore’s essay for the scholarship speaks to his passion:“I believe that most inner-city children statistically fail to achieve, not because of their inability to comprehend, or actually do the school work, but because they are bored, because they are not being challenged on a level which forces them to think in a different manner in order to solve problems. The first person I introduced go to was one of these types. Everyday, when we would have nothing to do, I would teach the rules of go to this student and everyday he would steadily improve bit by bit. His intrigue of the game spread like a wildfire and his drive to one-day defeat me spurred him to want to play and study more. A connection had been made and every good go player knows that once you have a strong, connected group of stones, you have to make extensions from it in order to amass more territory. When I told him that I wanted to start a club at Renaissance High in order to get more people (specifically youth) in the city of Detroit to play, he was very determined to help look for a sponsor while I filled out the paperwork. Within our first 3 months, our group size tripled and all of the kids who may have never ever noticed each other walking down the hallway were connecting and bonding like they had been friends for years.” Moore entered his school in the AGHS School Teams Tourney, and was able to place fourth in the Jr. Varsity Division at their first tournament.
Jasmine Yan began teaching go as early as fifth grade, and launched go clubs at both her middle, and high schools. She led both teams to compete in the School Teams Tourney, and also became active as a teacher. When the opportunity to volunteer came, Yan immediately joined the AGHS, and eventually was elected President. In addition to running and organizing national tournaments, she helped with promotional efforts, and continued to teach locally the whole time. She first discovered go as a child in China, and wrote in her essay: “A few weeks after we had come back from China, I saw an advertisement for Feng Yun Go School, and I begged my parents to sign me up. However, in the first session, I was terrified to discover that I was the only girl, as well as the weakest in the class; for several weeks, I lost every game I played. Yet, during those difficult times, something about the game of Go persuaded me to keep playing. Nine years later, I have improved from 30 kyu to my current rank of 4 dan.” Not concerned solely with her own development, Yan also began teaching go at her Chinese school. “For the next three years, I taught the go class in FCD, with about ten to fifteen kids in each class. The first year was somewhat of an experiment for me. I learned that all the kids had different comprehension levels; some would understand the concepts taught immediately, and others took longer. Eventually, the kids in my class had ranks ranging from 1 dan to 25 kyu.” Yan also represented her country, as part of the US National Team in the first Mind Sports Games in Beijing, in 2008. - EJ Youth Editor Paul Barchilon. Photos: Top Left: D’mitri Moore; Top Right: Jasmine Yan.