New Dead Sea Scrolls, a couple of impressive ‘whiz kids’ and Utah County’s first elected female official


News you might have missed: New Dead Sea Scrolls discovery, a 15-year-old female chess champion, and a 12-year-old girl heads to college and then hopefully to NASA.


Dead Sea Scrolls – Israeli archeologists announced the discovery of dozens of new scroll fragments bearing a biblical text believed to have been hidden nearly 1900 years ago. In 1961, Israeli archaeologist Yohanan Aharoni excavated the “Cave of Horror” and his team found nine parchment fragments belonging to a scroll with texts from the Twelve Minor Prophets in Greek, and a scrap of Greek papyrus. Until now, no new texts have been found during archaeological excavations. The fragments are believed to have been part of a scroll stashed away in the cave during the Bar Kochba Revolt, an armed Jewish uprising against Rome during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, between 132 and 136 AD. Coins struck by rebels and arrowheads found in other caves in the region also hail from that period. (AP)

15 yo chess champion – Jessica Hyatt has already been awarded a $40,000 college scholarship and is just a few ranks away from making history as the first Black woman chess master in the world. And she’s only 15. To become a chess master, a 2,200 ranking must be achieved. Jessica is already at 1,950. Jessica is currently a sophomore at Success Academy, a school known for its exceptional chess program. Five years ago, she met her coaches Tyrell Harriott and David Mbonu, who are both National Masters, the highest level in the US. After becoming a chess master, she hopes to attend MIT. (Black News)

On her way to NASA – Alena Wicker is headed to Arizona State University, with dreams of landing at NASA as an engineer. She’s 12. “At 4 years old, she said, ‘Mommy, I’m going to work for NASA, and I’m going to go up there.’ She would point to the stars,” said her mother, Daphne McQuarter. “She just had a gift for numbers and Legos and science, so I started nurturing that gift.” Alena will be double majoring in astronomical and planetary science and chemistry. If all goes well, she’ll be done with college at 16 and off to NASA that same year. Her goal is to build rovers, like the one sent to Mars in the Perseverance mission. In the meantime, she is launching a podcast. Check out her Facebook page, The Brown Stem Girl. (Black News, 11Alive)

Meet Ellen Jakeman – The Utah State Archives and Record Service recently found a receipt signed by Utah County treasurer, Ellen Jakeman. She was the first woman elected in Utah County, the same year that Martha Hughes Cannon won a Senate seat. Her bio on the Better Days 2020 site reads in part: “The all-male county commissioner board wrote of her ability to give “a piece of her mind” to whomever she seemed fit, and she was a fearless speaker who never backed down from a political fight. The Deseret Evening News claimed that she ‘seems to have been born a disciple of the doctrine of Woman’s Rights. She has always been outspoken for her political principles and has never been afraid to stand alone, nor to be unpopular.’

Ellen Jakeman