May 20, 2011

The headline of the May 17 front-page story “ ‘It’s Academic’ is still getting it right” got it right, but the article did not, instead perpetuating the very stereotypes that “It’s Academic” seeks to erase. 

The reporter stated, “ ‘It’s Academic’ made heroes out of the socially awkward, the pale boys with the shy smiles and the girls who looked smashing in glasses.”

Would you publish a Sports article describing athletes as big, dumb jocks — another inaccurate stereotype? I know that such a description is not true, and you should know better than to describe intellectually gifted kids with negative stereotypes as well. 

My daughter was on her school’s “It’s Academic” team and is now at an Ivy League college. She and her teammates thrived in high school, playing on sports teams, performing in school shows, heading up multiple clubs and activities, and enjoying full social lives. At college, she noticed that, like her, these top-performing students not only excel academically but set the same high standards for all aspects of their lives.  They are smart, they are fit, they excel in sports and music, they volunteer, they have strong social lives and wide social circles, and they even make sure they dress in the latest styles. They demand excellence of themselves — across the board.

Why would you commemorate the 50th anniversary of “It’s Academic” by insulting the very students the show celebrates? You exposed your own biases. “Smart” does not equal “geek.”

Karen Monks, Bowie

cc — martel, hesse

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Bravo to The Post and to Monica Hesse for the front-page article on the intellectually challenging “It’s Academic” competitions.

If we want large numbers of students to excel in school, we must give prestige and press to scholarly achievements such as this. I think sports are terrific, but we allocate a disproportionate amount of attention to sports over academic accomplishments.

Shirley A. Bloomquist,

Great Falls

sig ok college Counselor/Educational Consultant 11136 Rich Meadow Dr. Great Falls, VA 22066 Sbloomqu@aol.com 703 406 8034

Hi Tom,

1. I wrote the letter myself under my own name.

2. I only sent it to the Post.

3. I don’t have any direct connection to “It’s Academic” but I’ve been a HS science teacher, HS school counselor and in Fairfax Co. a counselor-administrator at West Springfield HS and at TJ, Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology. I’m a strong advocate for giving media attention to student academic successes.

My professional resume is attached.

Shirley A. Bloomquist, MA, Ed M

College Counselor/Educational Consultant

11136 Rich Meadow Dr.

Great Falls, VA 22066

703 406 8034