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student playing chess

Meet Arielle

Arielle learned how to play chess at the age of five, managed to beat her Dad at the game by the age of nine and, at the age of 13, is well on her way to becoming a Chess Grand Master.  She may be tiny, but she is mighty!

Favorite subject:  “I really enjoy science, with Ms. Chapman, especially learning about viruses.  I guess some of that was influenced by COVID, but I’ve always been interested in how a virus affects humans.”  

Other interests:  “I like playing sports – I play tennis & soccer at school.  And I love playing chess – I’ve been playing since I was five years old. I’m in the Chess Club and I play in tournaments.  Before COVID, I was going to in-person tournaments but then those all got canceled, so I was really upset.  But, when I found Chess Club, I discovered that I’m still able to play and have fun in tournaments because they are online.  I usually finish in the top 3.  Occasionally, our coach has a backyard tournament, where we have dinner and play outside, which is really fun. One of the reasons that I love chess is because your size doesn’t matter.  It’s all about your brain and nobody can judge your brain.  Plus, chess is something that you can do competitively but you don’t have to be big or physically strong.”

Favorite teacher?  “I love all of my teachers but I really love Ms. Sanford, my Civics teacher.  I love that she lets us have full creativity.  I always get good grades in her class because she is flexible and happy to meet with students at lunch or after school, whenever I need help. She is just super nice.” 

Awards/recognitions/accomplishments?  “I was the winner of the high school chess tournament – I beat the high school team!   I also made the tennis team.  I started playing tennis when I was six years old, but then stopped when I was around nine or ten.  I was able to start playing again when I came to school at Tampa Prep, so it was really fun to make the team.”

Something that you’re proud of?  “I’m pretty proud of beating my dad in chess.  The first time I beat him, I think I was nine years old, and as a celebration, we all got to have Twinkie sundaes at dinner.  He taught me how to play when I was five years old and now he doesn’t even want to play me because I can beat him while I’m also reading a book.”  

Future aspirations?  “There are actually a few things.  I would like to go to Yale.  I know that it’s a very hard school to get into but I would really like to try and achieve that.  The other thing that I want to achieve is becoming a Grand Master in chess, which would mean that I’d get to play in a lot more tournaments.  When you’re a Chess Grand Master, you get a little mark that says “GM” by your name, and you get a certificate.  To achieve Grand Master status, you have to have a rating of 2500.  And, I have 1600 right now.  So, I’ve got some work to do.”

Favorite thing about Tampa Prep? “I love that you can have so many different friends. The teachers don’t make you all sit on different sides of the class, so you can sit with your friends, spend time together and work on group projects together.  You’re trusted that you can be with your friends and also get your work done.”

Arielle is also interested in

Kimmy Sanford, Tampa Prep History teacher

Ms. Kimmy Sanford on Arielle

Arielle is driven and dedicated to her success.

She arrives to class everyday upbeat and ready to learn! During review games, her drive along with her competitive nature make her a fierce academic competitor.

During class discussions and debates, her inclination to compete takes a back seat. She focuses on being an equal participant while gently encouraging her classmates to participate.