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California CCer wins National Memory Master championship

Leigh Bortins and Jackson Ford

Fountain Valley, California—Jackson Ford is just 11, but his ability to memorize facts is amazing. So amazing, in fact, that the Fountain Valley, California, sixth-grader won a national memory championship and a $10,000 cash prize May 1.

Jackson was one of 16 finalists in the National Memory Master competition held May 1 during a five-day cruise to the Bahamas aboard the Carnival cruise ship Liberty. Twelve 10-12-year-olds remained after the first round of completion, and six remained after the second round. Finally, after a third and final round and almost eight hours of grueling recitations, Jackson was the sole competitor left standing.

 “I can’t believe I won!” Jackson said immediately after the competition. “It was a lot of work, but I’m so glad I did all that hard work; it was definitely worth it! I had a blast on the cruise, and I’m glad I got to meet a lot of new friends.” Jackson plans to put his winnings into his college fund.

The 16 finalists had to survive a rigorous series of local and regional competitions to reach the finals. Each of the finalists received two free tickets to the cruise and $800 in traveling money.

The National Memory Master competition is hosted by Classical Conversations®, a classical education resource used by homeschoolers in all 50 states and 15 foreign countries. Classical Conversations now has more than 105,000 students enrolled in its tutoring programs. Jackson attends the Anaheim, California, Classical Conversations community.

Jackson is the son of Matt and Marcia Ford and the oldest of five children. He is finishing his fifth year as a CC student and has been a Memory Master all five years. He will be entering CC’s Challenge program for young adults in the fall.

History and geography are Jackson’s favorite CC subjects. In his free time Jackson enjoys competitive swimming, any adventure or sports activity, and reads voraciously.

CC provides resources, guidance and a community for a home school curriculum using classical education in three developmental stages: grammar, dialectic and rhetoric, and taught from a Christian worldview, according to its founder, Leigh Bortins, who underwrites the competition. She says CC supports homeschooling parents by cultivating the love of learning through a Christian worldview in fellowship with other families. She believes there are three keys to a great education: classical, Christian and community.

Started in 1997 and headquartered in Southern Pines, North Carolina, CC is a family-owned company that provides services to almost 2,500 CC communities around the world. For more information visit


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