Alex Fager, NHS, and Team Florida Win 2014 National Tournament of Academic Excellence

Alex Fager (second row, far right), a Niceville High School graduate and one of the six members of Team Florida, helped his team win the 2014 National Tournament of Academic Excellence (NTAE) in a competition held June 14-17 at Walt Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  In the final, the academic all-stars beat out teams from Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. 

Team Florida’s members represented school districts across the state: Row 1: Michael Fennema (Leon), Jane Cooper, Coach (Seminole), Matthew Hendrick (Suwannee) Row 2: Sam Brenner (Seminole), Shreyash Agrawal (Palm Beach), Alex Chen (Seminole), Alex Fager (Okaloosa).

“We are so proud of Alex!” said Superintendent of Schools, Mary Beth Jackson.  “Congratulations to all of our academic coaches for a very successful year.  I want to especially say thank you to Carol Bernich for serving as our district coordinator.”

The NTAE is a highly academic national high school competition.  Each state’s team consists of six students and one coach.  As many as six teams may compete against each other in one competition. Players are asked questions in the areas of mathematics, science, language arts, social studies, the fine arts, world languages (French and Spanish) and technology.  The questions are written by educators from high schools and colleges throughout the nation.

“I extend my warmest congratulations to the students on Team Florida for winning the National Tournament of Academic Excellence,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. “This is an outstanding accomplishment for these bright students. I know their success would not have been possible without their determination backed by a high-quality education, the hard work of Mrs. Cooper and the district coaches, and the support of their teachers and parents.”

According to team coach Jane Cooper, a 41-year veteran teacher at Seminole High School in Seminole County, “At one time we were trailing Pennsylvania by more than 70 points!  It was a heart-stopping, come-from-behind masterpiece of teamwork.  I’m so proud of them for keeping their wits about them when things looked bleak!”

Each of the players received a ring, a medallion, and a $2,000 scholarship. 

For more information about the National Tournament of Academic Excellence (NTAE), visit