Austin Dipasquale was not having much luck finding a club or extracurricular group to join. Despite the many options available to students at Adair County High School, none seemed appealing. Then, last fall, he had an idea: He would start his own.
“I just wasn’t really interested in what we already had here, but I wanted to be involved in something,” explains Austin, a junior. “I thought about it and decided to try to start a chess club. We got a sponsor and made it happen.”
Initial expectations for the club were low. Austin hoped at least three or four students would join, enough to play against different opponents the one or two times a month the club would meet. To his surprise, the club instantly attracted more than a dozen members.
“I wasn’t expecting to have very many, but we’ve had 13 to 15 people just about every time,” Austin says. “It was apparently something other students wanted too, but we just never had before.”
Austin’s interest in chess goes back to childhood, but his skills have improved tremendously since founding the club. “There’s definitely a lot of competition,” Austin says. “I’m not the best player, but I definitely want to get better and I’ve seen a lot of improvement already. I like the strategy, coming up with a plan, countering whatever your opponent is doing. It really gets your brain flowing.”
Christy Dover, Austin’s English teacher, helped Austin find a sponsor for the club – math teacher Andrew Reliford – and says he is one of the more unique students she has taught. “He’s an avid reader, very articulate and very intelligent,” Dover says. “He’s a good student and a fine young man.”
Aside from chess, Austin enjoys reading and playing video games. His current interest is author James Patterson’s “Maximum Ride” series, of which he has read all seven installments. His future plans are to attend Penn State University and study biomedical engineering.
“I like solving problems and I like helping people,” Austin says. “Making artificial organs and prosthetics, I think that’s something I would like.”
By Wes Feese
Media Relations, Adair County Schools