Challenging an older opponent

Jamie Mullen

Carlsbad High School offers students a wide variety of clubs to join. A new addition to this list is the Senior Citizens club, created by Christina Oakley. Christina founded this club with a desire to bring joy to the elderly who are in retirement homes; but her two dogs inspired the idea of creating the Senior Citizen’s club.

“My two dogs are therapy dogs and I have been going with them to retirement homes ever since I was young. That gave me the idea for the club since the residents were so excited to have visitors, whether they’re dogs or people,” junior Christina Oakley said.

Christina started bring chess games to the retirement home because it is something that is not played as often as people did in the past. This club is a strong way to connect with the community and it’s elders, but a way to hear about the elder’s past experiences.

“I really like getting to know these people and hearing what they have to say about the world today and also hearing about cool stuff from their past and when they were in high school,” junior John Kenny said. 

Christina sees the club appealing to people because it is a real opportunity to make people smile. While it’s true the club looks good on a college application, the satisfaction of making connections with people is far more important to members.

“It’s more than just something to go on my college applications, the connection I make with the senior citizens is a big part of it too, and playing chess with them makes it easy to start conversations,” Kenny said.

While this club is new and still growing, it has potential to be popular and gain members from all grades who enjoy playing chess and meeting new people. Learning chess is a valuable skill and it’s something a person can carry with them for their whole life.

“Chess wasn’t easy for me to learn when I was young, but I kept practicing and playing a lot and eventually got really good, but the senior citizens I play with still beat me,” Kenny said, “The most gratifying thing is seeing them smile and laugh when we talk about current events and other things going on in the world. This club may not be for everyone, but it really pays off.”