AGazine, August 2017

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

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News and Notes

Calendar of Events



Propaganda Questions available for local tournaments

Report on Knoxville Meeting

The AGLOA Board of Directors and Tournament Council met last month in Knoxville, Tennessee, the site of the 2018 AGLOA National Tournament. This is the first time that the two groups had met jointly as the Board leads a transition that will see more of the tasks of managing the annual tournament taken over by the Tournament Council.

  • The Board of Directors welcomed its newest member, Washington, D.C., Family Court Judge Julie Becker.
  • The Board reviewed the financial report for 2016-17 and approved modifications in the compensation amounts for various tasks from question writing to assisting with the awards presentations at Nationals.
  • The Board and Council toured the Knoxville Convention Center and finalized where events will take place in the facility. Several changes were made from the last tournament there in 2014.
  • Many responsibilities for the national tournament that were previously spearheaded by Board members, e.g. meals, Saturday night activities, liaisons with hotels, were allocated to individuals on the Council and committees composed of Council members.
  • The Council approved a new, more detailed procedure for handling protests in cube games.
  • Also set in motion was a similar procedure for handling protests in Social Studies games.


Outstanding Senior: Dawn Bordenave

Congratulations to Dawn Bordenave for winning an Outstanding Senior Award at the 2017 AGLOA National Tournament. Dawn was the oldest member of a group called the NOLA Homeschoolers that competes in the New Orleans Academic Games League. Five different New Orleans coaches contributed to Dawn’s nomination form. Here are some excerpts.

Dawn has exemplified educational leadership within her league and beyond since she was an 8th grader. She always gave her best and strived to become a better player. The next year, she played in the Junior Division and was the first and only player from her organization to play at this level. At the time, the NOLA Homeschoolers didn’t have dependable coaches. However, Dawn took the initiative to lead and coach the younger players within the organization. In order for Dawn to succeed as a coach and player, she began practicing with a group of kids from a neighboring school but realized she needed a mentor for the cube games after playing Equations. She asked a coach of an opposing team to mentor and allow her to work with his players. He obliged. This allowed Dawn to surpass her expectations. The mentor’s players were more advanced which gave her a challenge. She wasn’t afraid to ask questions and began to better understand the game of On-Sets. After attaining this knowledge, she was able to successfully coach the homeschoolers, making them better as well. Dawn also worked with students from Isidore Newman’s Middle team who lacked a coach. In the 2015-16 season, her Middle team tied for 1st in On-Sets and won 2nd place at the local level. Meanwhile, she continued to assist the homeschoolers in preparing for the 2016 AGLOA National Tournament. Two of her Middle players were on a conglomerate team for Nationals and won 2nd place in On-Sets as a team. This year, her Middle and Junior teams both won 1st in On-Sets at the local level with three of her Middle players tieing for 1st place. Ten of her players qualified for Nationals with eight of them ranking in the top 10!

Dawn has assisted Ms. Paula Hidalgo at the local and national awards ceremonies. When the New Orleans league decided to host a one-week summer camp to improve current Elementary and Middle division players, she assisted Bro. Neal Golden with coaching. For two years, she attended Haynes Academy Academic Games Summer Camp to enrich her playing skills and has also assisted Ellie Gamble with the campers in the lower divisions. Simultaneously, she coordinated her schedule to provide services to the NOLA Homeschoolers Academic Games Summer Camp. Dawn is a nationally-certified judge at the local tournaments for the lower levels.

This is Dawn’s first and last year playing in Senior Division since she is graduating from high school a year early and currently ranks 4th overall at her school. She is working towards making female players in the New Orleans League stronger in the cube games. Finally, Dawn has decided to attend a local university so that she may continue to serve as a coach, judge, and mentor in the New Orleans Academic Games League.


Outstanding Educator: Dr. Vivian Lin

Congratulations to Dr. Vivian Lin for winning an Outstanding Educator award at the 2017 AGLOA National Tournament. She began coaching Academic Games seven years ago at Martin Luther King Elementary School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has attended six national tournaments. She has coached Equations, On-Sets, LinguiSHTIK, Presidents, Propaganda, and WFF’N Proof. Although her teams have not won any national championships, her former players have won 18 team and individual national championships in the Elementary, Middle, and Junior Divisions.

Here are excerpts from Eric Nelson’s comments on Vivian’s nomination form.

After a couple of years at King, she branched out, introducing new AG programs at another elementary school and a middle school. She started these programs to try and use AG to make a difference in the educational lives of students who didn’t have the opportunities of students at more affluent schools. At these programs, she recruited former players and other high schoolers to help her coach. She encouraged these students to lesson plan for their practices, to read literature on different teaching philosophies, and to expand their AG experiences beyond just memorizing Equations tricks or Presidents facts. In a sense, she is coaching the coaches as much as the players.

In the summer of 2015, she was part of three-person group that helped Ann Arbor Academic Games obtain 501(c)3 status and was an original member of that organization’s board.

At the league level, she has been a key part of the MLAG Steering Committee. She served as one of the directors of Region B, essentially organizing, setting up, and running the largest Saturday tournament in the league (over 200 students on most Saturdays). She has been a key member of local rules meetings and her keen eye for detail has been instrumental in proofreading rules documents and finding errors and inconsistencies. This was especially important when MLAG switched over to AGLOA-based rules in 2012.

She has been very supportive of numerous coaches and programs outside of Ann Arbor, often offering her time to teach new coaches new games, new rules, or new teaching strategies to coaches and teams that will be directly competing with her teams. One of the largest and most successful programs in the state, Northville, was founded by one of her close friends, Dr. Karen Chapel, who had played AG in middle school but was encouraged to get back into AG by Vivian’s early involvement at King.

Vivian pays for supplies for her team out of her own pocket. She has paid for some of her students to attend the state tournament in the past. Every year at the state tournament, she buys pizza for her kids and the parents who are attending. We always encourage her to save her receipts and submit them to our Ann Arbor AG treasurer for reimbursement. She rarely does. When asked her about turning in her receipts, she has said, “This is why I work.” She has a full-time job as a doctor and medical researcher. “I work so that I can have the money to pay for the things I want to do. AG is one of the things I want to do.”

That simple logical statement explains Vivian’s dedication to AG in a lot of ways. If there is work that needs to be done, do it. If a donation is needed, make it. If there are students to be taught, teach them. If there are new games we can learn, learn them. If there are rules to be reviewed and edited, review them. If there are coaches who need help and support, help them. There is no task that is too large for her, no task that is too great, no goal without a solution.


Down Memory Lane

A letter dated February 23, 1968, from R. Lawrence Liss, Assistant Director, Academic Games Project in Fort Lauderdale to Brother Neal Golden, Director of the New Orleans Equations League, contained this passage.

In order to have a continuing supply of PROPAGANDA examples for this and future years, we have already asked our Broward County students and the students in Allegheny County and Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, to write a list of 60 examples. This will give you 180 examples to use in your local tournaments and for practice each year. In return for this, we would like the New Orleans League students to write their list of 60 PROPAGANDA examples. We would like to have this at Olympics time.

Note: “Olympics” here meant the 3rd annual National Academic Games Olympics.

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