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      Annual Gathering of Champions Recognizes Academic Achievement in Minnesota’s Students

Students were the stars Aug. 3 at the Mall of America during the 21st Annual Gathering of Champions sponsored by Synergy & Leadership Exchange. The recognition ceremony honored students nominated by their educators and academic coaches as Academic All-Stars.
More than 3,000 students, friends and family attended one of 10 45-minute shows where All-Stars and their guests enjoyed entertainment by Peter Bloedel of Perpetual Vaudeville, followed by Minnesota trivia questions where students had the chance to win exciting prizes donated by universities, companies and organizations throughout the state. Each ceremony included VIPs from education, government, business and industry. Special guests included Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Senator Carla Nelson and Minnesota Department of Education Deputy Commissioner Jessie Montano. More than 40 VIPs congratulated the All-Stars while Ameriprise Financial retirees served as volunteers for the recognition event. 
The ceremonies closed with the All-Stars walking across the stage, shaking hands with the VIPs and receiving their certificates of achievement. As they exited The Great Room, All-Stars signed their names on the giant roster of All-Stars and returning All-Stars enjoyed searching for their names on the banners from previous years.
Before and after attending their recognition ceremony, All-Stars and their guests enjoyed discounts at stores throughout the mall and rides in Nickelodeon Universe®.
Founded in 1990, the annual Gathering of Champions event is designed to recognize and celebrate the academic excellence of K-12 students statewide. Students were selected as Minnesota’s Academic All-Stars by their schools, with the recommended selection criteria including: top academic achievers, as measured by school policy or practice; students who have made a dramatic, positive turnaround in their academic work and achievement; or students who have finished first in a regional, state, national or international academic competition endorsed by the Minnesota Academic League. 














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