One team of six high school students and their coach is selected to represent each state and US territory. Students enrolled in grades 9-12 during the 2008 -2009 school year are eligible. In 2008 twenty-five states, the District of Columbia, and Guam sent teams. The 2009 goal is to surpass the current forty-seven-team record.


The National Tournament of Academic Excellence is a highly academic national high school competition modeled after Florida's statewide tournament. Each team consists of six students (four players and two alternates) and one coach. As many as six teams may compete against each other in one competition. This is not a quick response, trivial pursuit contest. Instead, it is a slower-paced tournament in which players are asked questions from 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.


The National Tournament of Academic Excellence is held at Disney's Contemporary Resort Convention Center in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Participants are lodged at the Contemporary Resort, and competitions take place in the adjacent Convention Center.


The 22nd National Tournament of Academic Excellence is scheduled for June 13-16, 2009.


The goal of the National Tournament of Academic Excellence is to provide a prestigious arena in which the nation's academically talented high school students are recognized. Funding is being sought for the 2009 event. Championship rings are provided by Herff Jones, Inc. Each member and head coach of the national championship team receives a $2,000 scholarship and a ring. The second-place team members and head coach each receive a $1,000 scholarship and a ring. The third-place team members and head coach receive $500 scholarships and rings.

Six students are selected from the tournament's participants to form the All America Academic Team. Each member receives a medallion awarded by Herff Jones, Inc. and a $1,000 scholarship.

The method of team selection varies from state to state. Those states with tournaments send the winning team or an all-star team selected at that state competition. Other states select the representative team using their own criteria. In certain states, interested teams receiving the informational brochure submit team profiles, and the tournament committee selects the representative team. In those states, teams must submit their profiles by March 13, 2009. Teams will be selected and notified by April 1, 2009.


The National Tournament of Academic Excellence is a non-profit endeavor whose sponsors to date include the following:

  • Florida Department of Education
  • Herff Jones, Inc.
  • The Host Florida School Districts of Pinellas and Polk Counties

How Much?

The cost per registrant is $375 and includes one 3-day Park HopperĀ© theme park pass and eight meals (one breakfast, one brunch, two lunches, and four dinners) beginning with Saturday evening's opening reception and concluding with Tuesday evening's closing dinner and awards ceremony. Registrations for all attendees must be purchased in advance. Registrations may not be purchased at the tournament.

Payment is due from selected teams by April 24, 2009. Purchase orders are acceptable before April 24. A late fee of $40 per registration will be charged for payment or purchase orders received after April 24.

Disney's Magical Express provides free shuttle service from Orlando International to all Walt Disney World properties.