All-American Student Classic brings academic/athletic competition to Lindsay on May 26

@TheSunGazette

LINDSAY – Educators talk about molding well-rounded students whose confidence is as evident in their posture at a desk as it is in their demeanor on the field of play. Physical education reinforces this ideal with a push for students to be strong mentally and physically as two parts of the same whole. And the academic decathlon is just as important as the traditional athletic decathlon as a measure of a students’ ability to master multiple disciplines.

So why do students have to compete in athletics and academics separately? Shouldn’t well-rounded students be able to display their skill of mind and body? They can in Lindsay this month.

On May 26, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders from Lindsay Unified School District’s six K-8 schools will compete in a unique competition that tests both their academic proficiency as well as their athletic prowess. Known as the All-American Student Classic, the extra-curricular program provides students with the opportunity to compete in a decathlon that includes three academic events and three athletic events. 

“Here at McDermont X we know that balance in life is key to happy and healthy individuals and communities. The All-American Student Classic promotes, celebrates and honors well-rounded youth who excel in both academics and athletics,” said Clint Ashcraft, CEO of McDermont Venture. “These youth are not necessarily at the top of the class academically and maybe they achieved something even greater; a balance that can provide them great careers and a happy, healthy life. What greater thing is there to promote for our youth.”

Registration for the event opens at 8:15 a.m. with the first of six competitions beginning at 9 a.m. Lunch will be held at noon with a closing Awards ceremony at 1 p.m. at the sports and recreation center located at 365 N. Sweetbriar Ave. in Lindsay. The invitational awards will include special plaques for the eight All-Americans and also beautiful gold, silver and bronze medals for the top students per grade level in each of the six events. 

“We are really excited to offer the first All-American Student Classic Invitational at McDermont X in Lindsay,” said Bob Pugh, president of the All-American Student Classic (AASC). 

AASC and McDermont X are expecting approximately 150 participants at this inaugural event in Lindsay. The major ingredients of this incredible competition will be participation, competition, sportsmanship, and most importantly, recognition. Family, friends and the public are encouraged to attend the event as it will showcase the “Best of the Best” elementary and middle school students from Tulare County using their knowledge and physical skills in the fast-moving competition.

“Conducting an incredible event of this nature has been a very deep passion of mine since 2012, the first year of our local school’s AASC,” said Richard “Dick” Schlagel, CEO and founder of All-American Student Classic. “It is certainly another dream come true. We at AASC are extremely grateful of McDermont’s partnership.”

Schlagel started the program in 1980 as then principal of Bartlett Junior High School (now known as Bartlett Middle School). In addition to academics and athletics, Schlagel said the program also focuses on sportsmanship and schoolwide student participation with first class recognition for each participant.

“The All-American Student Classic has all of the major facets for a successful and enjoyable school event – participation, action, choices, competition, sportsmanship, achievement, challenges, and the most important, recognition,” said Schlagel.

After a 25-year hiatus, Schlagel relaunched the program in 2012 with the help of another retired educator Bob Pugh. Pugh worked under Schlagel for 11 of his 22 years as principal of Bartlett Junior High and said the All-American Student Classic is recalled by staff and students as one of the most “positive and memorable” of Schlagel’s educational creations.

Since 2012, more than 1,600 students have participated in the All-American Classic thanks to its easy to implement program. Schlagel, Pugh and consultants Laurie Pugh and Cindy Camarena have created a list of services and resources to help districts quickly and effortlessly implement the program. The package includes consulting, computerized scoring results, video demonstrations, slide show presentations, forms, news releases, bulletins and checklists.

Schlagel said Lindsay students will also be challenged to break the scoring record of 945 points set by Ramona, a 7th grader at Alta Vista School in Porterville. She also set the record of winning eight individual event medals last year. Other school districts that have participated include Porterville Unified and Bakersfield City School District. For more information on the all-around decathlon, visit www.allamericanstudentclassic.com.

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