Southwest High students take home national ranks in chess tourney

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A trio of seniors at Southwest High School in Macon are now nationally ranked chess champions. The students have been working on their game for four years now, with the help of their coach Shimeka Davis. They are now the first team from Southwest High to compete in a national chess tournament.

“It felt amazing because I’m competing at a national level, and I actually won two games,” Elian Galvez said.

Cameron Rogers also helped the team secure two wins and says the victories made him very proud.

“I felt relieved like I’m one of the best,” Rogers said. “Now that I’m ranked nationally, I’m one of the best.”

The team says most kids their age find chess uninteresting, but their love for the game keeps them coming back for more. Team member Destiny Ringwood, says the game is a relaxing outlet.

“Just being able to play and put your mind on something is really relaxing and therapeutic,” Ringwold explained.

While she finds the game relaxing, Ringwood said competing in a virtual championship was difficult.

“I prefer to play in person,” Ringwood said. “My coach knows that because you can read their body language. They’ll move back or make a certain gesture when they make a mistake and you’ll be able to catch on to it easier.”

Overall the team took home five match wins, and their coach says she is thrilled for the team and how far they have come.

“They’ve developed into young people who are ready to go out into the world because we not only to teach them about chess but about life, and how to give back,” Davis explained.

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Peyton Lewis is a 20-year-old reporter from Stockbridge, Georgia. She graduated in December of 2019 with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She found a love for reporting after receiving a video camera for her 8th birthday. She and her friends would make mock newscasts in her backyard other creative content. Peyton's love for writing and creating videos pushed her to pursue journalism. In order to kick-start her dream of being a reporter, she left the traditional high school experience at the age of 16 to attend Gordon State College as a full-time student. She graduated with her Associate's degree two weeks before graduating from high school. Previously, Peyton worked as a news intern for 11 Alive in Atlanta, a radio intern for the Joy FM, and a reporter/ technical manager for Grady Newsource. Peyton dreams to become an investigative reporter that leaves a lasting impact on the world around her. She loves Disney, dogs, spicy food, musicals, and her family. Peyton also enjoys reading, watching movies, cheering on the Dawgs, and going on new adventures.