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About the Gathering of Champions
Each year, school officials in grades K-12 and providers of academic enrichment programs offered statewide are invited to name their top students as Minnesota's Academic All-Stars. Thanks to the financial support of several partners, Synergy & Leadership Exchange hosts a free recognition event for the Academic All-Stars. Recognition certificates are available to school officials who want to honor and recognize their Academic All-Stars at a local ceremony, or who are unable to attend the state event.

Students are selected as Academic All-Stars by their schools, with the recommended selection criteria including:
  • Students who are consistent top academic performers 
  • Students who have shown significant improvement in achievement or have overcome barriers to academic achievement 
  • Students who are local, regional or state champions in a Minnesota Academic League Council approved event. The names of approved programs are found in the Reach for the Stars catalogue, which is available online at – click on “Reach for the Stars” under the Educate tab.
Organizations whose programs or services are approved by the Academic League Council also are invited to nominate their regional, state, national or international champions as Academic All-Stars.  Registration of students is conducted each spring via this website by teachers, principals or other school officials, who then receive an invitation to the Gathering of Champions to share with their students and the students' parents.

The Gathering of Champions currently is held at the Mall of America in Bloomington the first Friday in August. A series of hourly recognition programs is held throughout the day, featuring the parade of the Academic All-Stars across stage to receive certificates of achievement and congratulations from attending dignitaries. Participating students also receive commemorative memorabilia, and discount coupons for rides in Nickelodeon Universe® and purchases at participating Mall of America merchants to share with family and friends who attend.

The Gathering of Champions was first held in 1990 on the grounds of the State Capitol, and later hosted at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, until the program was put on hold due to a loss of state funding in 2002. The recognition event was reinstated a year later in response to popular support from school officials and volunteer efforts led by Fridley High School principal David Webb.

Questions about the Gathering of Champions?
2019 GOC Logo - gold meal with red, white and blue neck ribbon
Congratulations to Sophie Birkholz from Kennedy Community School, winner of the 2019 Logo Contest!

THANK YOU to our generous sponsorand all those who attended the 2019 Gathering of Champions!

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Make sure to join our Gathering of Champions mailing list to receive email updates on this event.

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Synergy & Leadership Exchange
2075 Lookout Drive
North Mankato, MN 56003
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