Parijat Mondal, Jack Easton, Greg Chikan and Jacob Grace stand with their trophies March 9. The team won both the Class 6A and state chess tournaments.

Members of the Manhattan High School Chess Team claimed first place in this year’s state chess championship.

The team traveled to Emporia Saturday to compete. Overall, 40 teams competed for the title.

MHS won both the Class 6A and state championships with 18 points, beating last year’s champion Lawrence Free State High School by one. This is the first time a team from MHS won the state championship in chess.

Jack Easton won the individual state championship and scored 6-0 for the team. Parijat Mondal finished 4-2 and got 21st place. Greg Chikan finished 4-2 and placed 31st. Jacob Grace finished 45th and finished 4-2.

The team only took four players as opposed to six players like other schools that would then bench two players.

Easton never lost a scholastic high school chess game, bringing the senior’s career total to 64 wins and four draws.

He was the individual high school state champion two other times, his freshman and junior year. He tied his sophomore year but lost on a tiebreaker.

MESI meals

At the March 9 K-State men’s basketball game, KSU freshman Cameron Koger won the Qdoba Queso 3-point contest. He won free Qdoba for a year. And he gave it all away to the local homeless shelter.

Koger said on social media that he doesn’t “really eat Mexican food,” so he said he wanted to give the 52 entrees at the fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain to someone. He held a contest on Twitter, asking people to give their best reason why he should give it to them. However, after several people suggested giving it to those in need, he changed who would be getting the meals.

“(W)hile all of you guys (for the most part) have good reasons why you want it, there are people out there that need it a little more,” he wrote on social media. “That’s why I contacted the Manhattan Homeless Shelter, who will be able to feed their entire shelter twice with the 52 entrees the voucher was for.”

Koger said he wanted the meals to stay in Riley County, and by giving the meals to the Manhattan Emergency Shelter, Inc., he said it would help battle food insecurity.

Qdoba officials said they will double the amount of food to “provide even more meals to the Manhattan homeless shelter.”

High school


Manhattan High School will have its first common read book next school year.

MHS Principal Greg Hoyt said “The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives” by Dashka Slater will become the inaugural book of the year that students and staff will read.

The story is based on a 2013 assault in Oakland, California. A black public school student, 16-year-old Richard Thomas, set the skirt of sleeping, gender-nonconforming white private school teenager Sasha Fleischman on fire. The story follows the subsequent trial and punishment of Thomas and includes his background. Fleischman received second- and third-degree burns as a result and spent three weeks in surgeries and recovering in the hospital.

The book is divided into four parts — “Sasha,” “Richard,” “The Fire,” and “Justice.”

Thomas was charged with aggravated mayhem and assault with intent to cause great bodily injury. Each charge had a hate-crime clause that could’ve added additional time to his sentence. He faced a maximum sentence of life in prison. The Fleischman family asked that Thomas be tried as a juvenile, to no avail.

Fleischman went on to school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Thomas was sentenced to seven years in jail after taking a plea deal.

Donations, grants

The Manhattan-Ogden School Board accepted $24,076 in donations and grants at its March 6 meeting.

College Hill Preschool received a $12,000 cash grant from Riley County Raising Riley for reduced fees for families. Eugene Field Early Learning Center received a $4,200 cash donation from Raising Riley for behavioral and mental health support personnel, and for costs associated with extended childcare services.

Frank Bergman Elementary PTO gave $561 to Frank Bergman Elementary.

HyVee donated $750 for art supplies and projects to USD 383.

Sunflower Pilot Club of Manhattan donated $1,000 to USD 383 to purchase supplies for students in the physical therapy program.

Pepsi-Cola of Manhattan donated $4,000 to Manhattan High School for building and departmental use to support student and staff activities.

Diane Shankwitz donated a sewing machine and accessories for the Eisenhower Middle School Family and Consumer Science program.

The Manhattan-Ogden Public School Foundation donated $1,000 to Eisenhower Middle School for the EMS Reads program.