With educational funding near-constantly at risk, the parents of the P.S. 31 PTA are frequently looking for creative, innovative ways to raise money and support the school, which is classified as a Title I institution — determined by the percentage of students falling below the federal poverty line (for P.S. 31, that number is 62%). So with that in mind, the PTA is hosting a documentary screening fundraiser celebrating intersecting levels of local history on Sunday, November 12, at 12 p.m. at Princess Manor.

The feature film is Brooklyn Castle (rated PG), which tells the inspiring story of Williamsburg junior high school I.S. 318’s (Eugenio Maria De Hostos school at 101 Walton St) winning after-school chess team. The 2012 documentary spotlights five team members throughout their challenges both on and off the chessboard, while highlighting the program’s ability to overcome school budget cuts amidst the 2008 recession and foster the most winning junior high school chess team in the country, becoming the first middle school team to win the United States Chess Federation’s national high school championship.

Following the screening, director Katie Dellamaggiore and the now-adult star students of the film will participate in a discussion and Q&A.

Source: Department of Finance Brooklyn 1940s Tax Photos

But the history lesson doesn’t end there — apropos of the event, the original Princess Manor building was a movie theater. The Nassau Theater served as a social gathering spot for decades until the 1950s when it was bought and transformed into the banquet hall it’s known as today.

Currently, P.S. 31’s own Dupont Rooks chess team has placed within the top 10 at the New York State Scholastic Chess Championship and top 20 at the National Elementary Chess Championship.


Buy tickets to the screening and Q&A here.

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