Academic Olympians flex their brain muscles |

Academic Olympians flex their brain muscles

by Sharlene Irete

Don’t forget to phrase answers as questions.

These are the instructions given to Jeopardy players and also to the Carson Valley Middle School students who participated in the Academic Olympics on Thursday.

“The idea behind it is that it’s a chance for kids not in sports to compete with their brains instead of muscles,” said Susan Van Doren, who organized the event with fellow teacher Elizabeth Leiknes.

Bart Niday, a seventh-grade student, took first place in the contest. He won an iPod shuffle and the Academic Olympics 2005 finals champion gold medal.

“The iPod shuffle – it’s a music player thing that holds 140 songs,” said Niday, 12. “My favorite is classical music.”

Niday used to watch Jeopardy on television but didn’t practice for his school’s event.

“I didn’t do anything to prepare,” said Niday “but I know a lot of stuff.”

In the second-place spot was ninth-grader Nick Hales.

Kelsey Conklin, ninth grade, and Anneliese Peters, seventh grade, tied for third place.

This was the second year for Leiknes and Van Doren to hold the Jeopardy-style competition at the middle school.

The Jeopardy equipment was purchased with a grant from the Douglas County Education Foundation.

“We can use it in class and for tests,” said Van Doren. “We had the Academic Olympics before but we revived it with the Jeopardy concept.”

“We had a great turnout. We had four other competitions to qualify 17 people to play today,” she said.

Each of the other competitions had a winner in separate categories: Thomas Wicker was first in social studies, Nick Hales was first in English, Bart Niday was first in science and Nolan Nickerson was first in math.

And the final Jeopardy answer? Ordained by the Pittsburgh Presbytery in 1962 with a charge to work with children through the media.

Who is Mr. Rogers?