Holland middle schoolers design, auction off 3D chess set

Ottawa County

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Eighth grade STEM students at Holland Middle School have spent the past few months creating a 3D chess set that represents the city and its culture.

They’re now auctioning it off to give back to their community.

“I believe what we’ve learned is to take initiative,” said Ben Rund-Scott, an eighth grader and the technology leader behind the project. “You can talk about a project all you want, you can do this, you can do this, you can make big plans, but you have to actually act on them.”

The students custom designed and printed the 3D chess board, which celebrates the Holland Dutch tradition. The king and queen are the Lower and Upper Peninsulas, the bishops look like the H logo used by Holland Public Schools, the knights are tulips, the rooks are lighthouses and the pawns look like wooden shoes.

The 3D chess set designed by eighth graders at Holland Middle School. (May 4, 2021)

“I think it’s really important that we are able to help the community and use our own skills to help people,” Ben said.

“Our community has done a lot for us,” eighth grader Kailani Thammavong added.

The group of students is auctioning off the chess board and donating half of the proceeds to Community Action House, a Holland-based nonprofit that helps people get access to things like food and stable housing. The other half of the money will go toward the school’s greenhouse project.

“It’s amazing. Any teacher will say this: being able to step back and watch what students can do when they’re given the freedom to try different things has been exciting,” said Bill Boerman, a STEM teacher at Holland Middle School.

Boerman said he’s glad he’s been able to see his students’ passions come to life.

“To come up with this and then take ownership of it and then apply all the skills we’ve talked about in other classes as well as STEM and do something that makes a difference in the community has been fun to watch,” Boerman said.

The auction for the chess board ends Saturday at 7 p.m. You can bid online.

Holland eighth graders play with the 3D chess set they designed. (May 4, 2021)

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