Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fourth Week - 2017 Academic Olympics


Song:  The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Theme from the movie of the same name


This was the fourth week of the Academic Olympics.

I had erred.

Next week will be the semi - finals.

Moreover...
as there were more schools involved this year...
this week's event went for four heats.



Alex walking into the school for the beginning of the contest.


The team coach is going over possible occurrences in the event.



This was the first heat.


Team Northstar pulled ahead early for the win.



The teams then had to go to a central point to find out the location of the next heat.


The beginning of the second heat.



The young man with his hand on his head was demonstrating mock frustration...
as the other team got a bonus set of questions on sports.

It is his particular strength...
and he knew the answers...
but couldn't answer...as the three questions were for the other team to answer.


Alex buzzing in for the win on a math question.


Alex's team chuckling at how quickly he had answered.


After halftime...
players were swapped out.



Northstar had again won the heat.



The beginning of the third heat.


The young man with the pony tail and the full beard was the powerhouse
for the opposing team.


They were just too strong...
and had pulled out ahead for the win.



This was the beginning of the fourth and last heat for the day.


Another math question had come up and Alex rapidly buzzed in...


for the win.



Northstar had again won the heat.


This makes Northstar's win loss ratio for the day at 3 - 1






As you may notice...
Alex had lost a lot of weight.

For over two months...
Alex could barely eat much...
as he has had a stomach flu.

Today will be the first day since the third week in December...
that he could eat anything in substantial amounts.


After the competition...
we went to one of our favorite sushi restaurants.

We started with appetizers.




It was good seeing Alex eating again.

Although he still does not feel too hungry for most of the day...
he is finally eating a healthful amount twice a day.


He even felt good enough for dessert.


I am unsure as to how the contest will progress.

I had thought that this day was the semi-finals...
but no word as to what it was...
was given.

I am assuming that next week will be the semi-finals.

As there are many more teams this year...
I am unsure as to what will happen next Monday.

Either way...
Northstar is poised to do well in the contest.


-----------

Today...
Alex took an important test at his high school.

We won't be getting the official results for a few weeks.


Alex is now studying on his computer at home ensuring he works well ahead
in all of his courses.

He has another important test in a couple of weeks.










Monday, February 27, 2017

Alex's Analysis Of 5 Quotes Of 'Hamlet'


Song:  Vincent

Artist: Don McLean




Alex was recently given an English Literature assignment.

He was to read 'Hamlet'...
and to pick five quotes from the book...
and to analyze the significance of one in each of the categories of:

Theme

Characterization

Setting 

Symbolism

Imagery




It had taken Alex about four hours to read 'Hamlet' and to outline his favorite quotes.

It had then taken him about one hour to type up his analysis of 'Hamlet'.


I really like Alex's online high school.

It allows him to schedule his studies to fit going to university at the same time.

They also have their students do a lot of reading and writing along fairly short time lines.

He has had to read many of the classics...
and to then write an analytic review of them.

This is true university preparation.


I had asked Alex which of the classics is his favorite.

Alex still likes 'Musashi' the most.

(Although it is a Japanese classic...
it is still a classic...and should be read by all high schoolers).









It is almost 12:30 AM and Alex just went to bed.

Later today...
a few hours after Alex returns from his university math class...
he will, once again, be competing with his Northstar high school...
in the Academic Olympics.

In the late afternoon...
it will be the semi-finals.

There will be two heats...
and the teams will be winnowed down to the top four schools to compete in the finals.

They must do well enough to make the cut.
Hopefully, their team will remain strong enough to do so.







Wednesday, February 15, 2017

University Recruitment Letters Start To Arrive


Song:  Midnight Oil

Artist:  Luke Pickman
(Original Composition - Played both Harp and Alto Flute)


It has begun!


Alex is signing up for their mailing list tonight.

This letter was one of the first to arrive for Alex
(along with one from The University of Chicago and from Northeastern University).

There will be many such letters from various universities as the year wears on.
These letters go out to many tens of thousands of students in the US
who score a certain amount on their PSATs / SATs.

Many of the Universities in the US get the contact information for recruitment
from The College Board.  They have the records of all students in the US who score
above a certain range in the PSATs and SATs.

As Alex had done well on both...
Alex had been invited to be on their mailing lists so they may send him
more information concerning their universities...
and the interested universities will then try to get the students to apply to them.


I fully understand that just these letters mean nothing other than they
are interested in having him apply when it comes time to do so.


The real test comes in October...
when Alex starts sending out his applications to the various universities
he wishes to attend...
and, especially...
 when he starts getting the letters of acceptance or rejection from those universities...
in about one year.

We also know that Alex may get many letters of non-acceptance...
as do the majority of children applying...
especially to such universities as Caltech
(where tens of thousands of prospects vie for only a couple hundred spots each year).

We will then just concentrate our efforts on those who accept him.

Hopefully...
Alex will have some nice universities to choose from.



It has been a long journey for us to finally get to this point.


It is nice to get this process started.

Alex has always worked very hard for the moment which is soon to come.

So...
about this time next year...
we should start getting the letters of acceptance  :)...
and those of rejection   :(...
and we will then have to start making choices and plans...
and it will then be time to move once again.


I am already starting to get butterflies in my stomach...
and we have a year to go!  :)










Monday, February 13, 2017

Third Week - 2017 Academic Olympics



Song:  It Don't Come Easy

Artist:  Ringo Star



Today was the third week of the 2017 Academic Olympics.

There were a total of four heats.

On this day...
half of all the schools were eliminated.

In two weeks...
Northstar will be advancing to the Semi-Finals.




This was the first heat of the day.

The young man on the left is particularly strong in History, Geography, and some Science.

The young man next to him is particularly strong in Current Events, Sports, and some Science.

The young lady is particularly strong in Literature.

Alex is the team captain, and he is the Math man for the team...
and he has some strengths in Science, and to a lesser extent...Literature.


This was the first heat team.


Luckily...
a math question came up.


Within a few seconds...
Alex buzzed in for the correct answer.


After half time...
the young man next to Alex came in.

His particular strength lies in Computer Science.

The other team also substituted some of their team members.


And...
it was Northstar for the win.



This was the second heat of the day.

They are from a very good school.

The young man with his hand on his head is also in Alex's math club.

He is a 4th year high schooler...
and a National Merit Scholar.

He had submitted his applications for many of the top universities in America.
He will be hearing from them soon.

Next year...
Alex will be doing the same.


After half - time...
the other team substituted in some competitors.

Then...
a math question was asked.

Alex quickly answered correctly.


However...
the other team was simply too strong in the other areas.

This was a win for the opposition.


In the third heat...
Northstar went up against another very good school.

They are known for sending many of their students to Ivy League Universities.

However...
Northstar came on strong and handily defeated them.

This made the win to loss ratio for the day at:  2 - 1

Even though Northstar won this heat...
they would have to win the next one to ensure their spot in the semi-finals.


The Northstar coach is talking with the team before the heat.


This was the opposing team.


The two young men closest to me were the main math men for their team.


Luckily...
another math question was posed.

Alex's team members always have fun watching Alex quickly calculate the problems...
and buzz in for the win.

Alex will often times merely write down the problem...
and do the calculation rapidly in his head.

As Alex buzzed in...
I looked over at the math men on the opposing team.

Both were still trying to write down their initial calculations when Alex buzzed in.

The nearest young man was just shaking his head as he looked at the problem before him.

The second young man merely said, "What happened!?".  :)


Northstar, again, had come on strong and defeated their opponents.


I love to see the respect the math men of the opposing teams have for Alex.

Alex has exceptionally rapid calculative capabilities.
He will often put down his pen as soon as he writes down the problem...
and then come up with the answer in his head in a matter of seconds.

Often times...
he will buzz in with the correct answer before the problem is even fully read.




After Northstar's win on this last heat...
their win loss ration for the day stood at:  3 - 1

After the last heat...
the Northstar coach briefed the team on the events of the semi-finals in two weeks.

I believe it will be a single elimination one heat event.

From what I understand...
another half of the schools will be eliminated in one heat at the semi-finals.


So...
after a quick pep talk...
we departed the campus and went out to eat.


We headed out to the car after the event.


We gave Alex his pick of restaurants.

As he is still experiencing some stomach upset...
he chose to have chicken at El Pollo Loco.

He finds chicken and fish the easiest to digest.

Once Alex feels fully well...
we will go out to a steakhouse.  

Alex has another exceptionally difficult math test coming in two days.

He is busy studying everyday...
and keeping ahead in all of his classes.

There are still many exams and tests coming soon...
so, Alex will have no rest, as he will be constantly preparing for them...
as they will keep coming at him for the rest of this...
his Hell Year.












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