OCAY League Third Competition Takes a Political View

When organizers for the most recent Oswego County Academic Youth (OCAY) League Competition posed the question, “what can be done to fix America’s educational system?” they were met with a myriad of solutions, many of which may have surprised them.

<p>Oswego received the first place honors and gold medal for the recent OCAY League competition. Pictured in front, left to right are: Allison Yule, Meghan Mahaney, Ashley Pitters, and Christina Abare. In back, left to right are: Oswego Coach Joshua DeLorenzo, Josh Jasewicz, Tori Jaskula, Nick Cocks, and John Carlos Verceles.</p>

You might not expect to hear students today challenge that our academic standards are not high enough or that we allow too much free time instead of requiring students in their junior and senior years to take challenging courses in math and science, and voice concerns over the quality of education versus what is being taught in other countries.

The third competition of the OCAY League season was quite political in nature. Entitled “2012” the competition began with a series of 10 quizzes on U.S. and World current events and geography.

The teams also created a political cartoon about the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, created a time capsule based on modern American life, and gave a persuasive speech on the education system in the United States.

<p>The team from Hannibal received the silver medal for second place. Pictured in the front row, from left to right are: Mike Miano, Adrianne Shortslef, Erica Weldin, Molly Downing, and Nicole McMahon. In back, left to right are: Coach Bill Mason, Cal Weigand, Suzanne King, Meghan Gillen, Megan O'Connor, and Tyler Beckwith. </p>

The teams, from eight of the nine districts in Oswego County, consisted of 6-10 students, who until they arrived at the competition venue, had no idea what the competition would entail.

Beginning with the timed quizzes, teams of two students were scheduled to take the tests as scores were tabulated by the judges. Each team member was required to complete at least one quiz and no member could complete consecutive quizzes.

The political cartoons about the 2012 presidential campaigns portrayed not only a political astuteness but also reflected artistic talent as well.

The cartoons were judged on their visual presentation, whether the cartoon showed clear understanding of the political concept and issue, and how clearly the artist conveyed the point.

<p>The team from Pulaski received the bronze medal for third place and included, left to right: Zack Stanard, Larry Halsey, Josh LaRock, Ruth Clark, Kailyn Jennings, Samantha Sheats, Breann Burns, Libby Greene, Mike Visco, and Kate Halstead. The team is coached by Melissa Osborne.</p>

The time capsule project had students create a list of five items that accurately depicted modern American life.

Then they created posters illustrating those items and the container that made up the time capsule. Judging was on the artwork and the items chosen to illustrate modern American life.

The teams selected items such as electronics including iPads, iPods, iPhones, Kindle Fire. McDonalds was another frequently used element, from the golden arches, to used French fry containers, other items included 3-D glasses, electric cars, the 2012 Olympics, the economy, the Hunger Games, reality television and video games.

<p>T.J. Wilson, from the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown High School team, hands in his team’s completed time capsule poster to APW Coach and co-coordinator of this OCAY League competition. He and Sandy Creek OCAY League coach Caitlin Urlacher created this event which was the third in the four-event season.</p>

The OCAY League was organized in the spring of 1997 with the idea that academics merit a standing comparable to athletics.

Students’ academic skills are challenged and showcased in a wide variety of competitive events that emphasize scholastic excellence, team building, leadership, and creativity. A particular strength of the league is its emphasis on cooperative problem solving.

OCAY is coordinated through the Oswego County BOCES’ Gifted and Talented Program service to local school districts.