AGazine, June 2013

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

News & Notes 2013 Outstanding Senior
Kevin Wang
Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


Farewell, Dr. Burt!

Dr. Bonnie Burt

After 43 years in education, Dr. Bonnie Burt is retiring from the Jefferson Parish (LA) school system. Elementary Division will not be the same without this Hall of Fame Coach and longtime AGLOA Board member. Her farewell message:

Academic Games has been very near and dear to me, having been a coach and coordinator for over 30 years. Being involved in this endeavor has provided a venue for making many friends and creating many memories. I sincerely hope that the Elementary Division will continue with new leadership as these games provide so many superior educational benefits for those who participate.

I will miss all of the good times we have enjoyed and wish all of you the best as you continue with your careers.

Read the interview with Bonnie in the February 2012 AGazine.

Math Rules Proposals

The Mathematics Rules Committee, composed of six members from five different states, considered the following proposals for 2013-14.


  • Change the penalty for a player missing a shake from -4 to either -2 or 0.


  • Add a Summation variation: The Equation-writer may insert one or two summation symbols (?) in the Goal and/or Solution. So A ? B = A + (A+1) + (A+2) + … + B. If A is omitted, the starting number is 1.
  • Senior: Revise the ? = i variation so that it can be called even when no ? is rolled and no wild cube is called. The variation would allow all roots of any number to be available.

The committee voted to change the penalty for missing a shake to -2. However, neither of the other two proposals passed.

Reading Games Updates for 2013-2014

The four sections are A, C, D, and F.

The theme for 2013-4 in all divisions is scandals.
In Junior/Senior, a second theme is vice-presidents.
Also, Jr/Sr clues for #1-24 may involve U.S. Leaders Group 1: Tecumseh, Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Clara Barton, and Sitting Bull.


2013 Outstanding Senior – Kevin Wang (New Orleans, LA)

From the nomination by Dwayne Fontenette:

Kevin WangKevin joined Franklin’s team four years ago, leaving behind an impressive AG record at powerhouse Haynes Academy. Franklin’s level of success was ‘good” but we lacked a history of winning frequent city championships and being competitive on the national level. Kevin set out to change that. He recruited students from the Mu Alpha Theta club and participated in “homeroom talks,” in-class recruitment presentations. Because of his popularity and passion for the program, the club grew from a handful of committed students to having more than 20 players registered at each local tournament.

Recruiting students was only the first step. As the most seasoned player and by far the greatest mind on the team, Kevin took on the responsibility of teaching Equations and On-Sets to many students, particularly the new players. As a young coach with no formal teacher training, I found teaching the math games to 20+ students unwieldy, but I didn’t have to worry because Kevin was my right-hand man. When questions arose regarding the nuances of the game rules, Kevin had the answer. As an undergraduate college student, I often had difficulty attending practices or arriving to practices on time. Fortunately, Kevin took the initiative to lead practices. Oftentimes, when I arrived, students were seated and playing the reading games, discussing variations or working out Equations or On-Sets problems on the chalkboard. Never satisfied, Kevin eagerly requested weekend practices to supplement our twice-weekly in-school practices.

While Kevin’s commitment to our program was not dependent upon him holding a title, he served as the team’s president and senior team captain. As president, he was responsible for overseeing the entire 20+-member club to ensure that students were prepared for tournaments, team information was communicated in a timely manner and sufficient fundraisers were held.

Over the last four years, Franklin’s program has grown into a robust program. The team has grown from a measly, consistent six-person group to having more than 20 players at each tournament. We’ve seen growth in our success as well. During the last four years, Kevin was a member of seven city championship teams, eight additional local award-winning teams and earned eight individual local awards, including two city championships. His personal recognition is not a complete reflection of his record. The players that he taught have had noteworthy success. Our Junior Division team won six consecutive city championships in the New Orleans League. Kevin was a member of this team for two of the championships and helped train the Junior players the following year. Franklin now qualifies the plurality of students to attend the national tournament, including 10 of 30 NOAGL in 2013.

Finally, this anecdote epitomizes Kevin’s dedication to Academic Games. Last year, Ben Franklin High School prohibited nearly all of the team from attending Nationals because of state testing conflicts. Kevin was one of a handful of qualifying players who was eligible. While he could’ve chosen to sit out the tournament like his eligible peers, he didn’t. Accompanied by his mother, Kevin flew to Wheeling without a coach and competed valiantly, placing 2nd in Propaganda and 13th in Sweepstakes in Senior Division.


Down Memory Lane


Shown above is the Waldenwoods Conference Center in Hartland, MI, 30 miles north of Ann Arbor, as it looked in 1972 when it hosted the 260 attendees at the Academic Games Olympics, as the event was called then. [Thanks to John Person of New Orleans who donated a postcard he bought when he attended in ’72.]

Teams from the Keystone State swept the sweepstakes awards that year:

  • Elementary (Grade 6-below)
    Allegeheny Valley, PA
    Pam Bowser
    Jan Grinder
    John Kurtik
    Susan Playfair
    Dave Tomer
  • Junior (Grades 7-9)
    Allegheny Valley, PA
    Jayne Kratovil
    Joe Leftwich
    Barb Takach
    Mike Winklmann
    Steve Yakopec
  • Senior (Grades 10-12)
    Mount Lebanon, PA
    Jim Ferrell
    Brad Osgood
    Jeff Sell
    Dave Sze
    Andy Zangwill

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