AGazine, February 2018

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

News & Notes Outstanding Seniors Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


News and Notes

Calendar of Events


3 Florida State Tournament
6 New Orleans Academic Games League (NOAGL) Jr/Sr On-Sets – Rounds 3 & 4
7 NOAGL El/Mid On-Sets – Rounds 3 & 4
7-9 Michigan League of Academic Games (MLAG) Super Tournament: Elem/Minor Divisions
9 Jefferson Parish (LA) Secondary League – Presidents Tournament Mid/Jr/Sr
14-16 MLAG Super Tournament: Middle/Junior/Senior Divisions


7 Louisiana Invitational Tournament (On-Sets and Equations)
15 Deadline for certified judges to submit rules proposals for Equations and On-Sets
27 AGLOA National Tournament begins in Knoxville, TN.
30 AGLOA National Tournament ends.

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


Outstanding Seniors: Angel Phillips and James Stevenson

Congratulations to Angel Phillips and James Stevenson of Cass Technical High School in Detroit, for winning Outstanding Senior Awards at the 2017 AGLOA National Tournament. Here are excerpts from their nomination by Maurice El-Amin.

Angel & James

In my five years participating in the AGLOA league, this is the first time I am actually writing a letter to recommend someone for the Outstanding Senior Award. Ironically, this year I cannot narrow my choice to just one nominee.

I credit these two students with keeping our program afloat the last two years. We are in the process of breaking in a new coach and because of my other obligations at school that take me away from Academic Games, we were in a bind. At least so I thought … These two students began to really step up their junior year and continued to do so this year. They recruit players and mentor them, evaluate the strengths of players, organize and pack games, select players for teams, help solve students’ personal issues, design team gear, and a whole lot more!

They are a great example for younger students both in Academic Games and as students. They both are honor students taking the most difficult classes and receiving the highest grades. Both players have won numerous awards on the state and national levels, but what’s most impressive is the fact that they made the players around them better. I am a little nervous about what will happen next year, but I am hopeful that some player or players were influenced by the leadership that Angel and James have displayed. Both Angel and James demonstrate a true love of Academic Games that is infectious.

Outstanding Senior: Autumn Richards

Congratulations to Autumn Richards of Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans, an Outstanding Senior Award winner at the 2017 AGLOA National Tournament. Here are excerpts from her nomination.

Autumn has been instrumental in recruiting and coaching the Ben Franklin team. She joined the New Orleans Academic Games League in 2009 at the recommendation of a teacher. Upon reaching high school, she found there was no coach or adult coordinator. She has been so dedicated to organizing practices and coordinating rides to weekly games because of her love for Academic Games. She mimicked the coaching styles of her previous coaches in elementary and middle school and added her own flair from being on the front lines of competition.

Autumn has a very rigorous schedule that includes Gifted, Honors, and Advanced Placement courses while taking a course at the University of New Orleans, all while managing to participate in Academic Games, tutor peers, and volunteer.

A fond memory from her Academic Games career comes from her time in Elementary and Middle Divisions. The teams would compete at a local high school near an ice cream and snowball stand. Almost every Wednesday, Autumn would lead the team and say “Victory ice cream for everyone!” The parents would laugh and take the kids to celebrate. However, if they were not victorious, Autumn made sure to strategize and study for the next week’s competition.

As in sports, Academic Games has fostered healthy competition and discipline. She has formed friendships, earned respect for competitors and has a lifetime of memories from the joy and pains that Academic Games has created while enhancing her to be a better person. This sweet, shy and humble young lady becomes a fundamental genius when engulfed in these competitions. We are so proud of her and appreciate the journey.


Down Memory Lane

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

Academic Games started when a young graduate student from the East Coast decided that he would liven things up in a Sunday school class he was teaching by playing a game of logic. “We’d do a few proofs at the beginning,” says Layman Allen, now a University of Michigan law professor. “The class really enjoyed it.”

He decided that other children might like to play. With the help of a colleague and a government grant, he developed a logic game, WFF’N Proof. From there, the math game Equations evolved.

But making money wasn’t Allen’s motivation in creating the classroom games, he says. “I wanted to show that the stereotype of the black inner city kid who can’t do math is wrong.”

In 1971, Allen sought out Gloria Jackson, a math teacher from Pelham Middle School on Detroit’s West Side, and persuaded her to try Equations in her class. As Jackson recalls, the time seemed right for something different. “We’d had some problems at Pelham with low math scores,” says Jackson, now DPS supervisor of middle school mathematics. “It was at the beginning of decentralization, and you could try innovative programs without going through a lot of red tape.”

Jackson played the game and liked it. “I thought that it was exciting. All ability levels could be involved.” When she played the game in her class, she was pleased with the results. “They really took to it. I think that it was because it was different than the traditional class. We’d sit in circles, not in those rows. The kids would teach each other. It turned kids on.”

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