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Chess Team Coached By Teacher Who Skipped CTU's One-Day Strike Wins Championship

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Remember that teacher who skipped the one-day strike in order to teach and coach his students' chess team?

Well, something remarkable happened after that, reports CBS 2's Brad Edwards.

Joseph Ocol is a math teacher and chess coach at Earle Stem Academy in Englewood. He notably skipped the Chicago teacher one-day strike and his kids wanted to practice.

"It was a choice whether I should be with the picket line or with the my kids, so I chose the kids," he said.

They practiced and won. They became national champs against more than 60 other schools.

"I just, I just could not believe it," Ocal said.

Today, they're mentoring youngsters.

"If you teach the skill, you'll be able to master the skill," Ocal said.

This is life 101.

"Just like in chess, every move you make has a consequence," Ocal said.

"I think I was probably more excited than they were," said Barbara Woodlow, grandmother of champion Jelita Woodlow.

She says it has changed her granddaughter "drastically," going from getting Cs to now getting an A in algebra.

Barbara Woodlow says too many kids are being raised "As playing basketball and football and we make them physical champions but chess will make them mental champions...For me he's been an impression in my life."

"Trophies they lose their luster in the course of time," Ocal said. "What's more important is the stamina of character."

Sounds like a line to live by and end on.

Ocal was approached by the union, which attempted to garnish his wages for the day of action April 1. So far he's declined to give up his pay.

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