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

The stars were out Aug. 7 at the Mall of America during the 18th 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 4,000 students, friends and family attended one of 10 45-minute shows where All-Stars and their guests enjoyed entertainment by Peter Bloedel – 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, business and industry, including the Commissioner of Education Alice Seagren, representatives from Senator Al Franken’s office and Congressman Keith Ellison’s office, executive directors from educational organizations, Minnesota Academic League  Affiliates and state award-winning students, who congratulated the 2009 All-Stars. Nearly 50 VIPs rotated their presence throughout the day.

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 had fun on rides and played games 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.

Synergy & Leadership Exchange (SLE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering collaboration to advance the development of ethical citizens, providing educational resources, and celebrating achievement and best practices in Minnesota schools, businesses and communities.

View the program from the event and a letter of congratulations from Governor Tim Pawlenty

For even more photos from the Gathering of Champions, visit us on Facebook!










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