The Sarasota County Academic Olympics sponsored by the Sarasota County School System kicks off with the first matches on 6 February. The format this year has been modified to conform to the Florida State Commissioner's Academic Challenge rules and format; namely multiple schools competing against each other simultaneously, and the only the “buzzer” team gets to answer the question. The finals will be held Saturday, 3 March, at The Landings School Board (Blue Building), 1960 Landings Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34231.
The Academic Olympics Program is a college-bowl type competition between teams of students from Sarasota County high schools. It provides students the opportunity to participate in a competitive team effort comparable to the experience of students who take part in sports activities. The athletic Olympic games can motivate our youth to excel on the courts and playing fields, then Academic Olympics can engender equally as much encouragement for young people to pursue learning in their homes and schools. This positive sanction to learning demonstrates that achievements of the mind are worthwhile – even exciting.
The Sarasota County School System funds and produces Academic Olympics each year with generous financial and volunteer support from our community. A number of individuals, organizations and businesses sponsor the program, including the Military Officers of America, Sarasota Chapter. Members of the Venice and Sarasota Branches of the American Association of University Women serve as moderators, judges, and score–keepers. The Military Officers Association of Sarasota presents the participating teams' students with gifts. The program demonstrates to students, in a highly visible manner, that achievement in learning is advocated and applauded by their peers and adults alike. The students acquire a wealth of knowledge in a broad range of interests, finely hone their critical thinking and problem solving skills, and learn much about good sportsmanship and team work.
To get involved, please contact Blake Wiley at firstname.lastname@example.org .
This program's main focus of highlighting the scholastic achievements of area students is the only such event in the high schools which is academic in nature and which provides competitive team effort comparable to that offered in athletic events. Training consists of extensive review in a wide range of subjects that include Mathematics, English, French, Spanish, Science, Social Science, Arts, Computer Science, Current Events, and Problem Solving. Teams then participate in interscholastic matches from January through March. Students must have a wealth of knowledge, critical problem-solving skills, and a high degree of manual dexterity to win. After final elimination matches, an All-Star Team consisting of the top-scoring students from the high school teams represents Sarasota County at the Florida State Commissioner's Academic Challenge, held each spring at Disney World in Orlando. Past All-Star Academic Olympics teams have won scholarships and twice a Sarasota County member was chosen to join Team Florida for national competition.
Academic Olympics continues to grow in numbers of participants, volunteers, and public visibility. This outstanding program celebrates academic achievement and continues to be a point of pride for the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and the Sarasota County school district.
Academic Olympics encourages academically talented high school students to be recognized for their hard work in all subject matters. These students become a part of a team, which bolsters the five C’s: competence, confidence, connections, character and caring. At the heart of their Academic Olympics experience, students’ self-esteem flourishes. In addition to so many personal benefits to today’s student, teamwork toward a common goal affords these academically talented students a meaningful place to learn valuable time management and communication skills while being recognized for their love of learning.
Community partners, such as the Venice and Sarasota Associations of American University Women and the Military Officers Association, contribute time, talent, and treasure to give young people at every participating high school a chance to shine. Faculty volunteer their free time to coach students through rigorous training sessions and district-wide elimination matches. The Academic Olympics season culminates in a Sarasota County Schools champion high school match and a chance for competitors of all participating teams to try for the All-Star Team and go to the State Academic Olympics Championship each April.