Academic Olympics

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Academic Olympics is a multi-stage high school (and possibly middle school) competition in Reno, Nevada that features teams from around the greater Reno area. Although it is run by the Washoe County School District, there does not appear to be anything specifically describing what Academic Olympics actually is on the district website. According to a student source, "The questions can be anywhere from 1 line to several. It depends on the category. And questions are written by teachers in the district." It is believed to be some sort of bad quizbowl, College Bowl-esque competition. All the information on this page is from online newspaper articles.

According to this article, "The Academic Olympics program allows students to challenge each other’s knowledge in diverse areas such as math, physical science, literature and economics."

According to this article, "The purpose of Academic Olympics is to showcase students’ skills and knowledge, as well as to review their curriculum and highlight WCSD’s standards. The Academic Olympics program began about 35 years ago with eight participating Washoe County schools."

According to this article, some questions in the 2008 competition included:

  • “Name the three parts of the carpel, the female part of a flower.”
  • “‘Show Boat,’ ‘Ice Palace’ and ‘Grant’ are by what Pulitzer prize winning author?”"

According to the above article, "The winning teams will get a total of $2,000 in scholarships."

According to this article, "Academic Olympics is a competition modeled on television’s “College Bowl” and is supported by the WCSD Gifted and Talented program. Students from twelve area schools participate through a series of "round robin" pairings held weekly for five weeks culminating in the tournament "play-off". Teams accumulate points for correct answers in the following categories: Math, Physical Science, Life Science, Current Events, English/Literature, Economics/Government, Fine Arts, History/Geography."

This article describes an Academic Olympics competition involving teams from the western central part of Nevada (south of Reno). According to the article, "During a round, a moderator reads questions related to various high school subjects. Every school has up to six team members at their table working to correctly answer as many questions as possible, to earn points for their school. Most questions have a 20-second time limit, while 45 seconds are allowed for computation questions."

According to this 1983 HS Yearbook article, "The Nevada version was initiated last year and resembles the format of the game show ' Jeopardy. ' with categories in current events, fine arts, social studies. English Literature, economics, math, and miscellaneous, and point values ranging from lo to 50. Teams selected a category and then attemp- ted to correctly answer lowest valued question in that category. The other team could then chose to continue on in that category for the next point value or go on to a different category. Participants from Reno High School were selected based on stan- dard test scores, counselor and teacher recommendations, and in- terest and dedication....Although Reno had lost many of the preliminary matches, the team members were nevertheless more than adequately prepared on the night of the final tournament, as they came from behind, eliminating all opposition, and captured the first place trophy, earning Reno High School the honor of representing the entire state of Nevada in the Califor- nia Decathlon competition."

This format may have also spread to other counties along the Sierras. Lassen County, CA, apparently offers Academic Olympics or has offered it in the past, with questions coming from Academic Hallmarks.