AGazine, December 2017

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

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


News and Notes

Calendar of Events


2 Michigan League of Academic Games (MLAG) Social Studies Training/Tournament
4 New Orleans Academic Games League (NOAGL) 1st Semester Awards Ceremony
6 MIU4 (PA) League LinguiSHTIK Tournament Grades 7-12
9 MLAG Regional Tournaments
13 MIU4 (PA) League LinguiSHTIK Tournament Grades 4-6
16 MLAG Region A Tournament
19 Western Pennsylvania Academic Games League (WPAGL) On-Sets Tournament


4 Beaver County (PA) Equations Tournament – 3 rounds, all divisions
Logan County (WV) Academic Games Tournament – all divisions, all games
9 NOAGL Presidents Jr/Sr Tournament #1-24
10 MIU4 League Presidents Tournament Grades Jr/Sr
NOAGL Presidents El/Mid Tournament #1-12
12 Jefferson Parish (LA) Secondary League – On-Sets Tournament (Mid/Jr/Sr)
16 NOAGL Presidents Tournament Jr/Sr #25-45
Palm Beach Academic Games League (PBAGL) Social Studies Tournament Round 1 – Current Events, Presidents 1-12
17 MIU4 Presidents Tournament Grades 5-8
Indian River County (FL) Presidents Tournament #1-12 and World Events – Theme
NOAGL Presidents Tournament El/Mid #13-24
20 MLAG Regional Tournament
23 NOAGL Current Events Tournament Jr/Sr
PBAGL Social Studies Tournament Round 2 – Current Events, Pres. #13-24
24 MIU4 World Events Tournament Grades 5-12
NOAGL Current Events Tournament El/Mid
25 Beaver County World Events – Theme/Current Events Tournament – all div.
NOAGL Presidents Awards Ceremony at World War II Museum
30 PBAGL Social Studies Tournament Round 3 – Current Events, Theme
WPAGL LinguiSHTIK Tournament
31 Indian River Presidents Tournament #13-24 and Current Events

If you do not see your league’s events above, please send your schedule to


Outstanding Senior: Sarah Palumbo

Congratulations to Sarah Palumbo of Palm Beach County FL, for winning an Outstanding Senior Award at the 2017 AGLOA National Tournament. Here are excerpts from her nomination by Ellen Bredeweg.

Sarah has been playing Academic Games for the past seven years, since 6th grade. When she left middle school, she attended a university lab school which did not participate in Academic Games. Sarah was the driving force in getting a program started at her high school. At first, there were just a few players who attended local competitions, sometimes not even a full team of five for some of the seasons. However, in the next two years, there was more and more interest, culminating this year with full teams for the local math, language arts, and social studies seasons.

Each year Sarah encouraged and cajoled friends into playing, and then she helped train them so they’d be ready for competition. This year there were more players who wanted to play for each season than were allowed at each match, so players had to demonstrate their skill at school practices in order to go to a competition. All the hard work paid off, and this year as Sarah’s high school team took 2nd place in Equations, then 1st place in both Language Arts and Social Studies in Palm Beach County’s local tournaments.

Throughout these years, Sarah has also made herself available to elementary and middle school students, working with them to perfect their Academic Games skills.

This is Sarah’s third national tournament. She came in as a high school sophomore in 2015 and took 1st place individually in World Events. She repeated that win as a junior last year.

Sarah is graduating from both high school and from college this year. She is a National Merit Scholar, and she has been accepted into medical school which she will begin in the fall. Interestingly enough, the topic of her participation in Academic Games has been a part of many of Sarah’s interviews, both for medical school and various scholarship awards. Each interviewer asked for details about Academic Games since she put it into all of her applications. Next year, even though she knows medical school will be challenging for her as an 18-year old, Sarah plans to be one of the coaches for the elementary and middle school students who attend the university lab school. Academic Games has meant a lot to her, and Sarah wants to continue to make it important for many more students. She also plans to continue to be active in the many charitable events in which she participates.


Outstanding Educator: Honey B Toranto

Honey B Toranto of Metairie Academy for Advanced Studies in Jefferson Parish LA won an Outstanding Educator award at the 2017 AGLOA National Tournament. Here are excerpts from her nomination by two of her fellow coaches, Sharon Witte and Elaine Chauvin.

Over the 17-year span of Honey B’s involvement in Academic Games, many of her students have won awards at the local level. At the national level, her students have won awards as part of the Jefferson Parish national teams. The program at her school continues to grow yearly. Children join the Academic Team in Grade 4 and continue through the next year while at Metairie.

Due to Honey B’s enthusiasm with the students and her love of the games, which she shares with them, many children continue with Academic Games all the way through their high school years. They continue to do well at the local and national level, too.

At the local level, Honey B is in charge of the scoring. Her main duty is to collect the score sheets, organize them and then call out scores to other scorekeepers. At the national level, Honey B organizes the players’ folders, corrals them for the games, and also has them report to her after each game. Additionally, she works diligently with others to get the Thinkers ready for the final ceremony at Nationals. She also helps set up the elementary playing room at the end of each evening when not having other responsibilities with the children.

One thing stands out in our minds with regard to Honey B’s commitment to Academic Games. She became very ill and was hospitalized, after which she could not return to school for a long period of time. There was really no one at the school to take over teaching the games to the students. So, Honey B enlisted the aid of former students and siblings of older students to coach her children. There was a teacher supervisor, but coaching came from former students that were willing to help. To us, that is true dedication. Several of her students did make it to Nationals that year, too!

Honey B doesn’t know a stranger. If you have met her, you will remember her with good thoughts. That is why at Nationals students that Honey B had taught possibly five years prior will still come up to her, hug her, say how they miss her and how they are doing at Nationals and in life!


Down Memory Lane

This is another story based on the book I Think, Therefore … I Play that Stuart White compiled for the 50th anniversary of Academic Games.

The late Dr. Bonnie Burt was the leader of the Elementary Division of the Jefferson Parish (LA) Academic Games League for over 30 years.

On any long trip (to Nationals), Bonnie treated the bus passengers to videos of … “Presidents.” What fun that was! Bonnie was single-minded in her reach for excellence for her players.

For every trip, Dr. Burt was so very organized. Each attending coach received a printed daily schedule (by the hour), indicating responsibility and location. You made sure you were where you were supposed to be, supervising or practicing.

Even breaking an ankle didn’t slow her down. Bonnie would talk with her assistant, Elaine Chauvin, saying what needed to be done and Elaine would then do the legwork, paperwork, planning, and readying our group for Nationals. Dr. Burt traveled to Nationals with a boot that year, and everything was just as it should be.

Dr. Bonnie Burt was a unique character in any setting. She was irascible and at the same time lovable. She left us too soon as a result of cancer.

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