Hillview student wins chess honors
Shawnak Shivakumar, 13, an eighth grader at Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park, won second place at the North American Youth Chess Tournament in the under 14 age group and third place in the Blitz tournament in Chicago, Aug. 16-21. He was also awarded the FIDE Candidate Master title.
The tournament had several nail-biting moments, his mother, Devleena Shivakumar. Shawnak started at the 13th position in his category and fought his way up to second place, according to the tournament's website.
"He had the opportunity to play with many top-ranking kids from across the continent," she said. "This was the first major in-person tournament after 1.5 years of online tournaments, and a unique experience for all."
In his spare time, Shawnak composes music and plays piano and is part of Bay Area Debate team. He is interested in creating a chess program at the Little House Activity Center with senior citizens but because of the pandemic, the plan is on hold.
At the age of 8, Shawnak was already a state champion chess player.
For more on the event go here.
Atherton officers donate backpacks to students
The nonprofit Atherton Police Activities League and Atherton Police Officers Association teamed up to buy 40 backpacks filled with school supplies to give to students at Atherton schools.
On Aug. 31, School Resource Officer Dimitri Andruha delivered the backpacks to Laurel, Encinal and Las Lomitas schools.
Stanford resident assistants go on strike
Resident assistants at Stanford University went on an indefinite strike Sept 2 after the university failed to meet their demands, according to the Stanford Daily.
The student staff members live in 28 residence halls and called on Stanford to meet four main demands: provide a virtual option for in-person trainings (a demand that surfaced after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a training in person), increase pay, involvement in decision-making, and revise the university's alcohol and drug policy.
Of more than 500 resident assistants which the university hires annually, only about 150 attended a training Thursday morning, the first day of the strike. The strike started about a week before students are scheduled to begin moving into their dormitory rooms.
Youth advisory committee applications open
Menlo Park's Youth Advisory Committee, which advises the Parks and Recreation Commission on activities, programs and events for youth in Menlo Park, is seeking applicants for the 2021-22 term.
Eligible youth should be in high school, live within the city limits of Menlo Park and commit to serving at least a one-year term from September to May. The committee meets once to twice monthly on Thursdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. during the school year and meetings are currently held virtually.
The application is online here and is due Friday, Sept. 17.
Provide feedback on county parks programs
San Mateo County's Parks Department is looking for people to complete a survey to weigh in on its programs and offerings to the community as it embarks on the creation of its new "Interpretive Strategic Plan." The plan, when developed, will outline the department's agenda for the next five to 10 years and is aimed at enhancing visitors' experiences, getting visitors valuable information and figuring out which activities and programs resonate with all visitors so as to engage them better. The department is also interested in identifying the barriers to accessing parks.
Go here to fill out the survey in English, Spanish and Simplified Chinese. The survey is expected to take about 8 minutes and closes Monday, Sept. 20.