Eduardo Polón Named Sophie Alterman Coach of the  Year
Margaret Rosser

Eduardo Polon - 2018 Sophie Alterman Coach of the YearSSFS Quiz Bowl Coordinator Eduardo Polón has been named the tenth recipient of the Sophie Altman Coach of the Year by the producers of It’s Academic. “Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running quiz program in TV history,” It’s Academic just concluded its 57th season on air. Named after the program’s creator, the award was introduced in 2009 “as a tribute to all It’s Academic coaches for whom Sophie Altman had so much respect.” Eduardo was presented with the award on Saturday, May 19, and the announcement will air on NBC4 on June 30 at 10:30 am, during the broadcast of this season’s Final.

Upon being notified by Producer Susan Lechner of earning the distinction, Eduardo replied, “I am as deeply honored as I am grateful to be recognized by It’s Academic and Giant Foods as this year’s recipient of the Sophie Altman Coach of the Year! Neither the importance of honoring Sophie Altman’s legacy as It’s Academic creator and long-time producer nor the exceptional coaches recognized before me whom I aspire to emulate escape me, and I am genuinely humbled.” Between participation on It’s Academic, the Montgomery Academic Beltway League (MABL), and other area tournaments, Eduardo has helped SSFS distinguish itself among the more formidable yet friendly academic teams in the Greater Metropolitan DC area, amassing an overall record of 178-83-4 since 2013. As back-to-back semifinalists on It’s Academic, back-to-back MABL silver medalists, and finalists of Blake High School’s It’s Academic Tournament, this year’s SSFS Quiz Bowl Team set or tied ten program records on route to a remarkable 47-15-0 campaign. Added Eduardo, “I am keenly aware that this honor is truly a testament to the dedicated scholars whom I have had the privilege to coach, and it is with this awareness that I accept this award on their behalf.” Named the 1999 Boys All-Met Soccer Coach of the Year by the Washington Post, Eduardo’s recognition as the 2018 Sophie Altman Coach of the Year places him in rarified coaching company. 

Born in 1913, Sophie Altman graduated from Wellesley College in 1933 and Yale Law School in 1936. Relocating to Washington D.C., she went to work in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal administration. A pioneer in television, Mrs. Altman accepted a job as assistant to the producer of Meet the Press and helped with the show’s transition from radio to television. In the late 1950’s, she developed the concept and format for It's Academic. In 1995, Mrs. Altman was named a Washingtonian of the Year by the Washingtonian magazine.  Sophie Altman remained actively engaged in the show’s production until her death in 2008.

Providing camaraderie for kindred spirits while celebrating academic achievement, intrascholastic Quiz Bowl Club (Spring) and interscholastic Quiz Bowl Team (Fall) provide healthy venues to foster friendships inspired by a mutual love of learning.  Best of all, it’s fun!  For more information, contact Eduardo at eduardo.polon@ssfs.org and to learn more about It’s Academic visit http://www.itsacademicquizshow.com/.

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