Inspiring Words

Lee Vaccaro and Nancy KinardLee Vaccaro played academic games in Palm Beach County FL. He has founded successful businesses.

Here is his speech at the opening ceremony of the 2011 AGLOA Nationals in Kissimmee FL.

It’s amazing to think that I was sitting where you are, 21 years ago. All the emotions and memories instantly come back to me … what incredible offsite excursion trip we were going to take, the thrill of waiting to see the scores posted on the walls, and if I was really going to be subjected to eating the hockey pucks yet again in the cafeteria at Rock Eagle. Like me, the memories created at Nationals will stay with you for a lifetime. The bonds that are created with your classmates and teachers from other states will also be with you forever.

In all honesty, Academic Games has taught and given me most of the necessary life lessons that I’ve needed to succeed later in life. Being taught to be an independent thinker at such a young age created the entrepreneur that I am today. What most people don’t know about me, however, is that Academic Games was my rock during my middle and high school years. My parents got divorced when I started playing the games in 7th grade, and back then, divorce was a relatively new thing. Needless to say, my dad was on his third marriage by the time I arrived at my senior year. The impact of that, and coping with a mother who was suffering from mental illness, brought havoc to my academic grades during my later high school years. However, I continually found refuge and solace with my involvement in Academic Games. My teachers became my guiding lights over the years … angels sent down from heaven above to look after me. And if it weren’t for Mrs. Nancy Kinard, I would not have graduated high school in my senior year as I missed too many days of school by cutting class. I actually graduated a couple weeks later than my class in a private ceremony held at the local county office. I thank God and the Academic Games program for creating the man that I am today.

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