Academic league marks 25 years

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
St. Margaret Mary School won the Catholic Schools Academic League’s (CSAL) fourth- and fifth-grade Quick Recall tournament March 16 held at St. Albert the Great School.

It was an all-St. Margaret Mary final with St. Margaret Mary-Red defeating St. Margaret Mary-Black 28-16 for the tournament title.

In the semi final matches, St. Margaret Mary-Red defeated St. Albert-White 22-16 and St. Margaret Mary-Black defeated Sacred Heart Model School 25-16.

St. Margaret Mary’s victory coincides with the league’s 25th anniversary.

In the early months of 1990, Sherrill Griffin of Our Lady of Lourdes School and Linda Rickert of St. Aloysius School in Pewee Valley, Ky., wanted to create an academic league similar to the Governor’s Cup competition, which began a few years before, according to Lisa Kleyer, who coordinates CSAL along with Kim Koestel.

Initially teams from 17 schools were involved in the first season of league play. Among those schools were St. Bartholomew, St. Ignatius, St. Clement, St. Lawrence, St. Aloysius (Pewee Valley), Mother of Good Counsel, Holy Spirit, Our Lady of Lourdes, Ascension, St. Athanasius, St. Agnes, St. James, St. Raphael, St. Margaret Mary, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Denis and St. Polycarp schools.

The competition began with a fourth- and fifth-grade league and a seventh- and eighth-grade league. In 1994, CSAL added a sixth-grade-only league when Jefferson County Public Schools started a sixth-grade league, Kleyer said in an interview last week.

The seventh- and eighth-grade league also was re-worked to become a sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade division. This accommodated schools that could not field a team composed entirely of sixth-graders.

Today, nearly 1,000 students on 110 teams from 28 elementary schools participate in the Catholic Schools Academic League. This year, there were 44 fourth- and fifth-grade teams, 27 sixth-grade teams and 39 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade teams. Schools may have up to three teams.

Each match features 30 to 40 questions evenly divided among five categories: mathematics, social studies, science, language arts and arts and humanities.

Kleyer said the league aims to reinforce what the students learn in the classroom in a fun, fast-paced environment. And it promotes a positive learning environment, she said.

“We feel like it’s an athletic ministry. Not only are we reinforcing those things (academics) but we are trying to promote fair play and healthy competition,” said Kleyer, who has been involved with CSAL for 17 years, including eight years as coordinator.

Kleyer works in the office at St. Albert the Great School. She said being a part of the CSAL is a way for her to give back.

“Being with the kids is so much fun. … I know two kids at St. Albert in particular who were very shy starting out in the fourth-grade. By the time they were in eighth-grade, they were the leaders of the team. That’s what keeps me in it. To see the kids develop like that,” she said.

CSAL’s competitions are divided into two seasons. Sixth-grade teams and sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade teams compete in six-week league play in the fall semester, culminating in a three-week single-elimination tournament. Fourth- and fifth-grade teams compete in a similar competition during the spring semester.

At the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade Quick Recall tournament, held last fall at St. Raphael School, Sacred Heart Model School won the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade Quick Recall tournament Nov. 6. And St. Aloysius won the CSAL’s sixth-grade Quick Recall tournament held Nov. 3 at St. Aloysius.

For more information about the CSAL, visit www.csalqr.com or contact Kleyer at 425-3940, ext. 103, or csalqr@hotmail.com.

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