AGazine, September 2015

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

News & Notes Outstanding Senior Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


News and Notes

Better Late Than Never

In March, AGLOA contacted the White House as well as all living ex-presidents concerning the celebration of the 50th National Academic Games tournament in Orlando last April.

Responses were received from Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. All offered their congratulations and best wishes for the future. Several of the responses were read at the tournament. In early September, the White House response arrived.


Louisiana 50th Anniversary Celebration

2015-16 marks the 50th year of Academic Games in Louisiana. The three Louisiana leagues will celebrate the occasion with a joint Junior/Senior Propaganda Tournament October 6 at Brother Martin High School.

The first competition in Louisiana took place during the Christmas holidays of the 1965-66 school year. Mount Carmel Academy hosted the tournament, which was conducted by the director and assistant director of the National Academic Games Project, Bob Allen and Larry Liss, from Fort Lauderdale, FL.

The seeds for that first Louisiana tournament had been planted the previous spring when five Mount Carmel girls and their teacher traveled to Fort Lauderdale to participate in the first National Academic Games Tournament. They responded to an ad for the Equations game in The Mathematics Teacher, the publication of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

The following fall, Mount Carmel invited the other Catholic high schools in New Orleans to learn the game of Equations in order to compete in the Christmas tournament. Participants received a surprise when Bob and Larry taught them a brand new game called Propaganda and conducted several rounds. That was the first Propaganda tournament held anywhere.

So it’s fitting that Louisiana celebrate the anniversary by playing Propaganda.

Paula Meets the Thinker

The picture below was taken by Paula Hidalgo, AGLOA’s Awards Coordinator, on a trip to Europe this past summer.


There are about 28 full-size castings of The Thinker, Auguste Rodin’s most famous work and the inspiration for the academic games awards. Many were created after the artist’s death in 1917. The one above is located in Paris outside the Rodin Museum. It was cast by Rodin himself in 1902.


Outstanding Senior: Shwetha Rajaram

Shwetha Rajaram from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, MI won an Outstanding Senior Award at the 2015 National Tournament in Orlando.

In her seven years of participation, Shwetha has attended Nationals every year. She has been a part of 15 national championship teams, including four sweepstakes winners.

Here’s what her teammates wrote about her in their nomination letter.

Shwetha Rajaram is the most reliable person that we have ever met in Academic Games or outside it.

This is quantifiably evident from her scores throughout her AG career. In the six consecutive national tournaments that she has attended, she has finished in the Top Ten individually three times, has received a perfect score in LinguiSHTIK four times (winning the title one of those times), and has been a member of the Sweepstakes winning team four times. Shwetha’s results are remarkable not only for their quality but for the consistency that they display; again and again, she has proved herself to be one of the best players in the country.

While it cannot be backed up by data points, Shwetha’s stability stems from her personality. In the over fifteen combined years that the three of us have been friends with her, we have never once seen her angry or even worked up. When the rest of our team is bouncing off the walls from anxiety, she is the one who calms us down. She is always positive, and she never gives up.

Shwetha is not simply stable; she is steadfast. Her dedication to both her teammates in particular and Academic Games in general is unimpeachable and immeasurable. One expression of this is that you can always count on Shwetha to give one hundred percent in every single shake. This summer, she even committed to driving one hour each way in order to attend an Academic Games summer camp in Detroit. But perhaps more importantly, she is the teammate that you always want by your side, the person willing to perform the seemingly small acts that hold us together. She writes down everyone’s scores; makes sure that everyone is awake and present; keeps track of the game boxes; hands out pencils, pens, and paper; gives away her entire snack to a hungry teammate. Without Shwetha, our team would be missing its heart.

What is most impressive about Shwetha is her kindness. It imbues and informs every action she takes, every word she says. It is why she is always genuinely, wholeheartedly happy for and proud of her teammates, why she always thinks of others first, why she places their needs above her own. When I first joined Academic Games in seventh grade, Shwetha and I had just become friends. Even though we had only known each other for a short time, she worked extremely hard to help me learn to play: sending me worksheets, offering advice, and recommending study techniques. She has never been one to stint on her help to her teammates because of concern for herself; she always shares all of her Ling words and Equations tricks and is always willing to drop whatever she is doing to answer a question. In a characteristic example of her self-sacrifice, she once volunteered to sleep on a chair when we found that our room for States had only one bed because she wanted the rest of us to have more room.

And thus, we nominate Shwetha for Outstanding Senior because of her reliability: her reliable stability, reliable dedication, and reliable kindness. These traits are why we nominate her and why we are so proud to call her our teammate and friend.


Down Memory Lane


With the picture of one of Rodin’s Thinkers shown above, this month’s article is in the form of a quiz.

  • The 1978 Academic Games National Tournament was held at a university that has a Thinker on its campus (pictured). This one came out of the mold Christmas Day 1903, one of eight cast before Rodin’s death.
  • Which university is this?

Comments are closed.