Return to Headlines

Mackenzie's Academic Games Team & Coach Sandi Carothers

Mackenzie academic games team

How long have you been coaching Academic Games at Mackenzie? 

I have been Mackenzie's Academic Games coach since it re-opened as an Elementary/Middle school, making this my 9th year of coaching here and my 25th year of coaching overall.

The Mackenzie Academic Games team won the 2019 National Academic Games competition, and the 2020 State and National competition were canceled due to COVID-19. In your opinion, do you think your team had a good chance on repeating as National champions? 

Our team was deeply disappointed when the 2020 State and National Championships were canceled due to COVID-19. We had our entire 2019 championship team back for the chance to repeat. While nothing is ever certain, we felt as though we had a very good chance at repeating the success of the previous year. The students had dedicated themselves to improving on their previous performance and it was extremely disappointing to not even have a chance to try. I am so very proud of the kids for the way they handled themselves in that moment and their understanding that the sacrifices that they and so many others were making were saving lives.

How has your team been progressing over the last few years? 

Over the last few years, we could feel that our Academic Games program was growing into one that could not be dismissed by our competitors. Often, schools like Mackenzie are overlooked by those who adhere to preconceived notions about what students from certain schools could accomplish. Our students know they are capable of greatness and that good things happen to those who work hard.​​​​​​​

How has COVID-19 changed the dynamics of coaching? If so, how? 

COVID-19 has changed everything about our lives and coaching Academic Games is no different. My co-coach, Pam Champagne (retired DPS), and I are working hard to make sure we can replicate our practices in the virtual setting. The transition to the online platform has not been without its challenges, but, as always, it is the kids who make the difference. Mackenzie kids are smart, dedicated, and just overall good people. They recognize this season for what it is but are determined to keep Academic Games alive and thriving. I am proud to be their coach.

What goals has your team set for the 2020-2021 school year? 

Our goals for the 2020-2021 season are the same as they are for every season: work hard, be a good teammate, do your best, and learn. When those things happen, the rest will come.

Is there anything else you'd like people to know about academic games and our students?

Academic Games is more than just an academic competition. It is a place where kids can grow and learn how to be their best selves. The Mackenzie Academic Games team is a family, and our success comes from the understanding that families stick together. COVID doesn't have the power to take that away from us.