The Competition

2020 Winners


1st Sean Bullock, GVHS

2nd Marlena Platzer, HVHS

3rd Ryan Severn, IVHS

4th Rona Stublefield, NVHS


1st (tie) Leif Borngasser, GPHS

1st (tie) Chris DeLonge, NVHS

3rd Alex O’ Sullivan, HVHS

4th Gabe Bafia, IVHS


1st Julianne Burdis, GPHS

2nd Chloe Duncan, NVHS

3rd James Cook, HVHS

4th Savannah Vogel, IVHS

Social Science

1st Tyler Przybylski, GPHS

2nd Jared Brosio, NVHS

3rd Jonathan Wood, IVHS

4th Joseph Gerson, HVHS


1st Michael Hendrick, GPHS

2nd Daniel Beachy , HVHS

3rd Morgan Dodge, NVHS

4th Ellie Rigby, IVHS

Team Award GPHS

2016 Academic Masters Final Agenda and Testing Instructions

Music Exam Prep Guide

2021 will mark the 38th year of this unique Josephine County tradition. The Academic Masters competition began in 1984 with some visionary Grants Pass businesses. The founders wanted to inspire students to stretch academically and intellectually. Those original benefactors were Gold River

Distributing Company, Grants Pass Medical Imaging, Smith Management and Southern Oregon Medical Center. To them we owe the debt of this thriving community event.

In 1984, $10,000 was donated for awards to top students in English, Mathematics, Music, Science and Social Studies. In the first years, Rogue River High School also participated along with the four high schools in Josephine County. To become an Academic Masters finalist, each student first had to compete at the school level in written, oral and sometimes performance exams. School finalists went on to the interschool competition, taking tough written exams at Southern Oregon State College. Finally, the 20 finalists gathered for the Academic Masters Final Competition to demonstrate their achievements before an audience.

The responsibility for judging and mentorship of Academic Masters shifted from Southern Oregon State College to the University of Oregon, and finally to our hometown Rogue Community College in 1988. Since then, the unique relationship between area high schools and Rogue Community College has grown. The College’s professors prepare and administer the exams in all five subject areas and judge the important final competition. We owe a special debt of gratitude to the many Rogue Community College professors who have devoted so much time and effort over the years to this extraordinary competition.

Awards have changed over the years from the original “all or nothing,” where a single winner won $2000, to a distribution of the award amounts so that all 20 competitors went home with a check ranging from $125 for 4th place to $1000 for first place. For the first time this year, award amounts are increasing to $1200 for 1st place, $600 for 2nd $400 for 3rd, and $200 for 4th place.

Since 1984, nearly $210,000 has been awarded to outstanding area students. An estimated $12,500 will be awarded for 2017. Final awards have changed over the years from the original “all or nothing,” where a single winner won $2000, to a distribution of the award amounts so that all 20 competitors went home with a check ranging from $125 for 4th place to $1000 for first place. This year, the anticipated award amounts will be $1200 for 1st place, $600 for 2nd $400 for 3rd, and $200 for 4th place. Since 1984, nearly $240,000 has been awarded to outstanding area students.425 area students have had the same experience as this year’s finalists. One of the most exciting aspects of the competition is witnessing how the competitors handle their opportunity to perform and demonstrate their academic prowess before a sizable audience. Over the years, perhaps 2000 Josephine County students have participated in the preliminary stages at their respective schools.

Those who have followed the Academic Masters for several years will recognize some Dynasties, siblings who have built strong family traditions by taking turns winning this extraordinary competition. North Valley’s Robert and Jennifer Self of North Valley High School won the English competitions in 1985, 1986, and 1988. From 1993 until 1996, Andrew and Janel Lamb of North Valley took top honors in science and music. In 1993 and 1995, Hidden Valley’s Mike and Scott Vogel won the math and social science competitions.

North Valley’s Jack Boyce has the distinction of being the only competitor from any school to win the math competition three years in a row, from 1986 until his graduation in 1988. Several other students have won their competitions two years in a row: Rich Burket in social science; Tim Peterson in music; Aaron Smith in math; and Vernon Snyder IV in music; Kirsten Sandberg in music; Eric Eckstein in social science; Sam Newman in math; and David Selinger in math.

To date, four students have won two different competitions in successive years. May Hong won science and music in 1988 and 1989. Randal Gronewold took math in 1991 and science in 1992. Sterling Southwick took music in 1990 and social science in 1991. Billy Wolke took first in social science in 1999 and English in 2000. Jonathan Simcoe won the social science category in 1998 and English in 1999.

In the school level competition, schools compete for the Academic Masters trophy and for a donation spent by team members to benefit their school. The team trophy for most competition points has historically found its home at North Valley or Grants Pass High Schools but in the very important category of audience participation, Illinois Valley and North Valley High Schools usually bring out the largest crowds at the evening competition.

We shall see which school prevails tonight.

It is interesting to note which schools have prevailed in which subject areas over the years.

For the first 8 years, Illinois Valley, North Valley, and Hidden Valley dominated the math competition. Then Grants Pass asserted itself and won 10 out of the next 12 math competitions.

In music, North Valley and Grants Pass battle each other from year to year though Hidden Valley did win the competition twice and Illinois Valley once.

In English, North Valley has won 9 times though each of the other schools has taken its share of honors with Illinois Valley winning the English competition 3 times in spite of being half the size of North or Hidden and one-fourth the size of Grants Pass.

In science, North Valley and Grants Pass run neck and neck, claiming 9 and 8 wins respectively.

In social science, Hidden Valley has given the two Academic Masters powerhouses a run for their money,

taking home the top prize 6 times.

But should you be foolish enough to predict based on these statistics, we remind you that the competitors stand alone on the stage and win or lose based on their individual merits. For each of you, may your name grace all future historical accounts of this great competition!

Rogue Community College Academic Master’s Judges for 2016

Science: Science Department Faculty – Don Schultz, Katie Ward, and Dorothy Swain

English: English Department Faculty – Dr. Verne Underwood, Rick Williams, and Dr. Chip Phillips

Social Studies: Social Science Department Manny Pacheco and Niki Coulter

Math: Math Department Faculty – Charlotte Hutt, Tracy Davenport, and Elijah Bunnell

Music: Music Department Faculty – Bryan Jeffs, Jon Bennett and Kelly Moodie