AGazine, July 2019

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

Calendar of Events Outstanding Educator Outstanding Seniors Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


Calendar of Events

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Outstanding Educator: Sandi Carothers

Congratulations to Sandi Carothers, coach at MacKenzie Elementary-Middle School in Detroit for over 20 years, for winning an Outstanding Educator award at the 2019 AGLOA National Tournament in Orlando. Sandi teaches all the games played at Nationals except LinguiSHTIK. Here are excerpts from her colleagues’ nomination.

Sandi began as a young coach, teaming up with two veteran coaches at Detroit Hutchins. She brought excitement and new life to an already established program. When the school closed due to funding issues and the loss of population, she and one of the coaches established Academic Games at their new school, McMichael, which won its fair share of awards and acknowledgements. After several years, that school also closed, the veteran teacher retired, and Sandi found herself as the sole coach at a brand new school, MacKenzie. She started an Academic Games program, battling the odds of teaching students who had no knowledge of the games, winning over support from administrators and fellow teachers, finding funding when there sometimes seemed to be none, and giving her students the confidence and skills to compete at the local, state, and national level.

Sandi is a vital part of the MLAG steering committee. She is a Saturday tournament director who excels in the skills of running a successful tournament so much that she is the trainer of new directors to the league. She is one of three coaches who oversee the social studies portion of the MLAG Super Tournament. She is the third component of the Super Tournament scoring room and also serves on the head judging panel for her grade level divisions.

Sandi’s students sometimes have difficulty attending practices and tournaments due to transportation issues. She always makes sure her students have a ride, often getting home late because she herself made several stops to transport her students (and their younger siblings). Since funding for her school district often involves much red tape which can cause delays, Sandi paid for twelve students to attend the MLAG Super Tournament with her own personal check so the payment would not be late. It is not the first year she has done this.

Sandi makes sure her students get what they need in regards to team shirts, snacks and supplies. At a recent spring break practice, she was heard to say to her students, “Let me know if you need a suitcase for our trip to Orlando and I will make sure you get one” because she knew several students did not own one. She has a family garage sale each summer. Her proceeds go directly to her team.


Outstanding Senior: Matthew Dowling

Matthew Dowling of Jesuit High School, New Orleans, won an Outstanding Senior Award at the 2019 AGLOA National Tournament. Matt began playing Academic Games in the fifth grade—Equations, On-Sets, Propaganda, Presidents, and Current Events. Here are excerpts from the nomination letter his coach, Jordan Holmer, wrote.

Matthew has always shown great talent and love for the games. Last year he was elected team captain, a role he still holds today. Matthew is always the first one to practice after school and has been a great help to me organizing the team for local competitions. In addition to his role in the high school team, Matthew has also been coaching at St. Pius X Elementary School for the past four years. In his first year, three students qualified for the national competition; five qualified in his second year. This past year, the team swept every game locally.

As a player, Matthew is king in my eyes when it comes to the history games! Presidents is his all-time favorite. Locally, he finished in first place for the past five years, although sadly at the national level he has fallen short four times and earned the silver. However, he is never discouraged. Instead Matthew strives to make himself better the next year. He even wrote a book that is currently available on Amazon called Hail to the Chiefs, which serves as a guide to the presidents for students in academic competitions. On the back cover he writes about his shortcomings at the national level and the reason why he chose to write his own book:

When I got to high school, my quest for the perfect Presidents book hit an impasse when I discovered that no decent one exists for teenagers. One must choose a paltry fifty-pager meant for a child or an 800-page titan that covers a single president. With one year left to compete, I’m committed to helping some other “Matthew” and inspiring future teens to be excited about Presidents. So, I have self-published my own Presidents book that attempts to engage high schoolers with easily understandable writing and a sprinkle of sass.

Matthew is not only a great competitor in Academic Games but he also strives to make others better. In addition to Presidents, Matthew has been a part of a national sweepstakes team which finished third in 2017 and 2018. In his senior year, Matthew finished first in local sweepstakes.

Outside of Academic Games, Matthew is very involved in other activities at Jesuit. He will likely be one of our valedictorians this year [he was] and is a National Merit Semifinalist. He is involved in the Quiz Bowl and Mu Alpha Theta. In his junior year, he placed first in both the District and State Literary Rallies for U.S. History. This year he joined the student team that produces Calliope, Jesuit’s literary magazine. Matthew also regularly tutors students through the National Honor Society.

Outstanding Senior: John McCabe

John McCabe of William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach County FL capped his eight-year academic games career with an Outstanding Senior Award at the 2019 AGLOA National Tournament. Here are excerpts from the nomination letter submitted by his coach, Ellen Bredeweg.

John’s commitment to Academic Games is so strong that in the nine years he played in our local Palm Beach County tournaments and in the State Tournament in Florida, John missed only ONE local tournament day for any of the games he’s played. For some of the games, he was the only player who came from his school, so he had to make arrangements to get to each of the tournaments. Over the past four years, there have been teams organized from his school because of John’s participation and encouragement. He also assisted with the training sessions we had for teachers at the beginning of each local season for Equations and LinguiSHTIK.

John is a well-rounded player who has consistently scored individually in the top three players for Equations, Language Arts (Ling and Prop), and Social Studies (CE, Theme, Pres) in our local and state tournaments.

National awards include these 1st Places: Elementary Sweeps 6th grade, Presidents 10th grade, Theme 10th grade, and Presidents 11th grade. He also has several second and third place national awards.

High school students in Florida must have a certain number of community service hours, but in his senior year, John said he didn’t need the hours from last summer’s Academic Games camp; he had plenty already.

In all the years that we’ve known him, John has been unfailingly polite, kind, friendly, helpful, considerate, and trustworthy!

Because John loves Academic Games, and because he wants to instill that love in other students, he organized and ran four-day Academic Games Summer Camps for the past two years which offered training for Equations and LinguiSHTIK. The camps were for everyone from beginning players and coaches to more experienced players who wanted to improve their game strategies. John lined up other high school players to assist him as well as some of our Palm Beach adult coaches. The summer camps were a huge success and had impressive attendance. John also offered to work privately with coaches interested in starting Academic Games at their schools. He was instrumental in raising the bar for the overall Academic Games program in the Palm Beach County School District.


Down Memory Lane: General Demands 1974

The 1974-75 LinguiSHTIK Tournament Rules included just this one rule about General Demands.

General demands may not involve grammar and must relate only to the word to be formed. Examples:

  1. The word to be formed must have exactly six letters.
  2. The word to be formed must contain the letter E.
  3. All P’s may be used as Q’s.
  4. All P’s must be used as Q’s.
  5. The word to be formed must contain a double consonant (or double vowel).
  6. All Z’s are wild; that is, they may be used for any letter whatsoever.
  7. All yellow cubes are wild.

Note: When making general demands, notice that you can accomplish more than one thing if you are talking about the resources. That is, you can make four letters wild by saying all yellow cubes are wild; however, when making a general demand that relates to the word, only one thing can be accomplished each time; that is, you may say the word must contain an E but you cannot say that the word must contain three E’s.

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