Members of Madison City Chess League who graduated this year are Madhu Balaji, Rachael Ehrman, Andrew Park and Pranaav Satheesh. CONTRIBUTED

MCCL wishes good luck to 4 graduating seniors

MADISON – Among the hundreds and hundreds of Madison seniors who graduated this year, four of them scheduled time during their academic studies and extracurricular activities to learn, practice and compete with peers in the game of chess.

Madison City Chess League or MCCL has said goodbye to these dedicated members who participated in chess teams – literally since childhood.

“Congratulations to our graduating seniors,” MCCL Executive Director Todd Guthrie. “These student chess players are well prepared for their post-high-school lives. We wish them the best as they take on college and adulthood.”

* Madhu Balaji, James Clemens High School – Balaji will attend Cornell University, where she will major in computer science and pursue a minor in entrepreneurship.

She has served as President of the Society of Women Engineers at James Clemens.

Balaji is the founder of the Alabama Chapter of ProjectCSGIRLS, in which she teaches programming concepts to young girls. She has developed projects, including an EEG-based prosthetic arm and deep-brain stimulation software, that qualified for recognition from judging panels at international science fairs. With one project, she advanced from state competition to Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Dallas, Texas in 2023.

Balaji has played chess for 10 years.

* Pranaav Satheesh, Bob Jones High School — Satheesh plans to major in biomedical engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

In elementary school, he submitted an award-winning entry in Musical Composition for the National PTA Reflections fine arts contest. Satheesh is a National Merit Finalist. He has been focused on math, chess and HOSA (Future Health Professionals) during high school.

Satheesh was elected to serve as President of the Bob Jones Chess Club for the 2023-2024 school year. “He hopes to continue spreading his love for chess,” Guthrie said.

* Rachael Ehrman, Bob Jones – Ehrman plans to major in mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she received an academic scholarship. She achieved the status of National Merit Finalist.

Ehrman has been very active in band and Scouting. In her free time, she has learned to crochet and play bass guitar. Ehrman has been an active chess player since elementary school, and she was a member of the first-place team for the K-12 Section in the 2021 All-Girls State Championship.

* Andrew Park, Bob Jones – Park will major in computer science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University or Virginia Tech. At Bob Jones, he served as treasurer of Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society and was a member of National Cyber Security Honor Society.

Park co-founded the Supercell Club and was a member of the Varsity Tennis Team and Math Team. He was recognized for work in cybersecurity during CyberPatriot XIV competition. Park has played chess since elementary school.

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