AGazine, August 2016

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

News & Notes Outstanding Senior Outstanding Educator Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


News and Notes

New Publication

CoachesBulletinThis month, AGLOA inaugurated a new publication. The Coaches’ Bulletin will be sent to league heads monthly, and they in turn will disseminate it to their coaches. The Bulletin will discuss rules changes in the various games played in AGLOA tournaments and the rationale for the changes, provide coaching tips, answer questions about the rules from coaches and players. A survey will be taken each month about the policies in the various leagues so that leagues can learn from each other.


Outstanding Senior: Elise Howard

Elise Howard (center) with her presenters, Brittany Fischer (l) and Ellen Bredeweg (r)

Elise Howard (center) with her presenters, Brittany Fischer (l) and Ellen Bredeweg (r)

Elise Howard of Suncoast High School in Palm Beach County, Florida, won an Outstanding Senior award at the 2016 AGLOA National Tournament in Atlanta. That completed her streak of attending Nationals every year since 5th grade.

The games she played were LinguiSHTIK, Equations, World Events, Presidents, and Propaganda. Elise played on 1st and 2nd place teams in Equations, LinguiSHTIK, and World Events.

Here are excerpts from her nomination form.

Ellen Bredeweg and Cecil Phibbs: “To put it into the words of one of our coaches from Palm Beach County, Elise takes the “I” out of TEAM. She had supportive coaches in her elementary and middle school years, but when she arrived at Suncoast High School, she found that it would be up to the players to organize, practice, and prepare for the games. When she began at Suncoast, Jessica Stone was there as an organizing force, followed by Brittany Fischer (both of whom preceded Elise as Outstanding Senior winners). Elise followed their examples, first helping organize the 9th and 10th graders, and in the past two years working with the 11th and 12th graders. That sounds easy, but when you consider that the students at Suncoast have lots of opportunities to do different activities, keeping them involved with Academic Games is a real accomplishment.”

“Once our national team was chosen this year, Elise created a ‘do-it-yourself’ Ling practice games kit for elementary, middle, and high school levels. In addition, she used texting and a blog to quiz the players on a variety of topics. Her coaches have watched her over the years as she has changed from an emotional girl to a capable player who always gives Academic Games her complete devotion. Our hope is that there will be someone in the freshman or sophomore class at Suncoast who will step into Elise’s shoes and carry on her legacy.”

“You might remember Elise from the tournament in Knoxville. She was the one in a wheelchair at dinner on Monday night with her foot elevated, and she was still in it after the Awards Ceremony when we got on our bus to go back home. Elise will be the first to admit that she might be a ‘little clumsy.’ We routinely caution her about hills, cracks in sidewalks, stairs, etc., but still she managed to twist her ankle after the tournament play was done for the day.”

Brittany Fischer: “I have had the pleasure of knowing Elise Howard as a teammate, competitor, and friend for over seven years. I have seen her grow tremendously as a person and truly blossom with the help of Academic Games. She is more than just a successful competitor, for she has transformed into a leader that realizes that Academic Games is more than just about the competition. Despite her increasing commitments in high school, she has always remained incredibly dedicated to Academic Games and took on the position of helping keep the team afloat in a school where teachers were already stretched with more duties than they can manage. She would help find a sponsor, attend and help facilitate every meeting, and promote the organization to other students throughout the school. She, with the help of her father, was essential to the team competing as they didn’t think twice about providing a ride for a team member in need, which helped ensure that everyone who wanted to compete could. Elise possesses the powerful combination as both a strong competitor and as a mentor always willing to lend a helping hand.”

“Her love and commitment for the games have always been evident, but so is her passion to share her enthusiasm about Academic Games with others. She has mentioned to me that she ultimately hopes to bring Academic Games with her to university and start a local league, a challenging goal but one Elise would gladly attempt. This comes as no surprise to me because on countless occasions I can recall Elise explaining the intricacies of Equations and LinguiSHTIK to others who did not possess her same level of expertise, but she did so in such a down-to-earth way that you wouldn’t guess just how accomplished she was. Her friendly and optimistic attitude always helped keep me and the team in positive spirits no matter the outcome, and she helped make the game enjoyable.”


Outstanding Educator: Brother Neal Golden

Brother Neal with one of his former players, Nick Cusimano

Brother Neal with one of his former players, Nick Cusimano

Brother Neal Golden was honored at the national tournament in Atlanta for his 50 years of service to Academic Games.

Larry Liss, AGLOA Board Member, wrote the following.

“Brother Neal Golden from New Orleans, Louisiana, first coached an Academic Games team in a Christmas tournament in 1966, just a few months after the first National Academic Games Tournament. He was so enthused about ACADEMIC competition (he is an incredible sports fan, as well) that he organized the New Orleans Academic Games League, which has flourished ever since. As a coach for fifty years, Brother Neals’s players and teams have won dozens of national titles. He is in the Coaching Hall of Fame, but had never been honored as an Outstanding Educator by AGLOA. (He was honored for many years by having the Outstanding Senior Award named for him.) Since he stopped coaching in 2010 at Brother Martin High School, Brother Neal has contributed to AGLOA more and more.

  • Brother Neal in 1966

    Brother Neal in 1966

    He is currently the President of the AGLOA Board of Directors.
  • He is chairperson of the Mathematics Rules Committee.
  • He writes the Equations and On-Sets judges certification tests every year.
  • He developed the Equations, On-Sets, and Presidents Worksheets that have been used in all leagues since the 1980s.
  • He wrote Propaganda: The Definitive Guide in 2006 to sharpen the definitions of the techniques so that answers to tournament examples would be more consistent.
  • He has compiled all the Presidents and Propaganda questions that have been asked in the past 50 years and offers them to coaches around the country.
  • He also gathers all the Presidents and Propaganda questions that are submitted by others each year and creates both the local and Nationals sets of questions for both Elementary/Middle and Junior/Senior Divisions.

His quick wit and brilliant mind are legendary. When his nomination video was played at the Awards Ceremony in 2016, at least a dozen of his former players shared powerful stories of how Brother Neal had mentored them as human beings to grow into confident adults. The whole room wept.

Tournament Council members said: “S’bout time he was honored.”


Down Memory Lane

For several decades, the awards presented at the national tournament included “Overall Math,” “Overall Language Arts,” and “Overall Social Studies.”

Each subject area award was calculated by combining the finishes of the teams in the games of that area. So the Overall Math winners were the teams with the lowest combined finishes in Equations and On-Sets in their divisions. Similarly, the Language Arts overall awards covered Propaganda and LinguiSHTIK. Social Studies included Mr. President and the game previously called World Events.

The Sweepstakes Awards, which in the beginning were for teams only, were considered the highest of the “overalls.” So Jim Davis got the idea to take the word literally and award the Senior Sweepstakes Champions a large pair of overalls, which he bought with his own money. The city slickers who won Senior Sweepstakes, and shall remain nameless, didn’t appreciate their “extra” award.

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