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Now, every kid taking part in the chess program says they plan to go to college some day.

In the southwest corner of Mississippi is Franklin County, a place time seems to have left behind. The county is covered in a mixture of trees and churches. There aren’t high expectations for the kids who grow up in the town of 7,000. Last year, just 7 of Franklin High School’s 93 graduates went on to a four-year college.

But one teacher has sought to change that, and it’s capturing national attention.  A year and a half ago, Dr. Jeff Bulington began teaching a new subject to kids at the school: chess.

Residents of the town thought the idea made no sense at first: could these simple country kids really learn chess?

It’s paid off. A year and a half later, Franklin County won a state chess championship. Some grade school chess players were even outplaying high schoolers at state.

The best part?

“Last year, only seven of the 93 graduates from Franklin County High School went on to a four year college, but every chess player we spoke to plans to attend college some day,” CBS reported on 60 Minutes.

“I feel like chess could take us anywhere. But it’s not about where it takes us, it’s about how far it takes us,” said Rebekah Griffin, who was in fifth grade last year when she played in State Championships.


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