VALLEY CITY, N.D. ( – In a day and age of technology and screens, it seems odd that young students would show such a profound interest in activities outside of those two things. It does seem everywhere you look that kids (and adults) use screens to fill the time and stay connected. However, during the 2022-2024 school, Mrs. Dawn Ihry’s 5th and 6th grade class came to her wanting to play chess during free time. A few chess boards made their way to the school. It was in the spring that Mrs. Ihry came to me to convince me that the school needed to do something more. The idea of a chess club came to be. At the start of 2023-2024 school year, we decided to continue that idea and start a St. Catherine School Chess Club. It was open to the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students (nearly all whom decided to participate) and every
other Tuesday after school the chess club met and played the game. After a while, a name was decided for the group (appropriately), the St. Catherine School Bishops.

The Bishops continued to meet and in early March a St. Catherine School Chess tournament was played. It was clear that all the students had greatly improved throughout the year. When asked the question, “did everyone learn something about chess this year?” a definite yes was heard from everyone. The winners of the school chess tournament were as follows: Beck Dietrich (Grade 6) – Champion, Gray Kasowski (Grade 6) – Runner Up, Cody Svenningsen (Grade 5) – 3 rd place. Five St. Catherine School students were selected to attend the North Dakota State Scholastic Chess Tournament (held at Shiloh Christian School in Bismarck) on March 23 rd. Five members of the Bishops Club were chosen to represent St. Catherine School based on three criteria: Grades, Attitude/Sportsmanship, and Competitive Success in the school tournament.

Original representatives were Ethan Zarbano (Grade 5), Gray Kasowski (Grade 6), Riggs Kasowski (Grade 4), Beck Dietrich
(Grade 6), and Andrew Hoff (Grade 5). However, due to weather the event was postponed until April 20th . Due to conflicts the new representatives are: Cody Svenningsen (Grade 5), Beck Dietrich (Grade 6), Ethan Zarbano (Grade 5), Andrew Hoff (Grade 5), and Amelia Martin (Grade 6) The St. Catherine School Bishops Chess Club is advised by, Mr. Lee, Ms. Hilgemann, and Mrs. Ihry. If you would like to make a donation to help support the Bishops, please contact Mr. Lee at or by calling the school office at 701-845-1453. Checks can be made payable to St. Catherine School and mailed to 540 3rd Ave. NE, Valley City ND, 58072.

Chess Club