By DAVID NARANJO
The Mineral Wells High School Academic Team made history on Saturday when they traveled to Lake Worth with 31 students who walked out of multiple competitions earning enough points to secure first place in the District 6-3A UIL Academic Meet. Throughout previous years, various students have advanced to Regional and State competitions, but never has the high school produced this many winners – scoring an amazing 429 points – to advance to the Regional Meet which will be held in Lubbock on April 18-20.
The University Interscholastic League offers a wide variety of academic contests for high school students, encompassing many elements of required high school coursework. These contests build upon the academic skills developed in the classroom and offer students an opportunity to expand their talents above and beyond those requirements.
Students competed in 16 events against six other schools, testing a variety of academic skills including math, science, history, writing, computer science and speech. Of the 31 competitors, 26 placed in 15 different events.
“First of all, our success in competition just shows the dedication of the students to prepare and work hard,” said MWHS Principal Doug Rice. “And second, it shows the dedication of the teachers to prepare us for academic competition.”
Competitors who placed 1st through 3rd will advance to the Regional Meet. If an event team won first place, the entire team qualified for regional advancement.
The 23 regional qualifiers will continue their preparation and study with hopes of also qualifying for the state competition that will be held in May.
Following is a list of the students who scored points at the district meet:
• Current Events: 6th – Evan Rice.
• Computer Applications: 1st – Damon Campbell, 2nd – Kevin Gregory and 3rd – Katie Pilgrim.
• Computer Science: 4th – Danner Eudy, 6th – Jorge Zambrano and 2nd-place team.
• Editorial Writing: 2nd – David Naranjo and 3rd – Jessica Whaley.
• Feature Writing: 1st – David Naranjo and 3rd – Jessica Whaley.
• News Writing: 1st – Maycie McCauley, 2nd – David Naranjo and 4th – Jessica Whaley.
• Headline Writing: 1st – David Naranjo and 6th – Jessica Whaley.
• Journalism Team: 1st place.
• Calculator: 1st – Kevin Gregory, 2nd – Mollie Wilson, 3rd – Jarrod Bennett and 4th – Rocio Perez.
• Calculator Team: 1st place.
• Number Sense: 1st – Kevin Gregory, 3rd – Jarrod Bennett, 4th – Caleb Bandy.
• Number Sense Team: 1st place.
• Mathematics: 1st – Kevin Gregory, 3rd – Jarrod Bennett, 4th – Mollie Wilson.
• Mathematics Team: 1st place.
• Champion Overall Mathematics Team, as well.
• Poetry: 1st – J.D. Choate, 2nd – Eric Espana, 4th – Marina Loredo.
• Prose: 1st – Courtney Havens, 3rd – Gabby Kindle, 4th – Josh Davis.
• CX Debate: 1st place team – Kenneth Lathrom and Coulton Winn.
• Speech Overall Champions.
• Chemistry: 1st – Kevin Gregory.
• Social Studies: 3rd – Ashton Kinkead, 4th – Anjelica Jones, 5th – Kylie Williams, 6th – Hannah Gilbreath.
• Social Studies Team: 1st place.
Students and their coaches began training for the events early in the school year. Many hours were spent after the regular school day studying and preparing. A series of practice and invitational meets allowed the students and coaches to develop and refine the skills and talents they would need for the district meet that was held on March 23.
Event coaches included Kristopher Allen, Mark Beaty, Julie Bishop, Sam Burgeson, Donna Parker, Jeff Williams and UIL Academic Team Coordinator Peggy Harvey.
Harvey began competing in UIL at the age of 8, and has been involved in UIL for a total of 46 years. She said she’s developed a passion for it. Reflecting on her years of competing as a student, Harvey said it even helped her to earn some college money.
“Speaking events helped prepare me to step into some good paying jobs after high school,” Harvey said, elaborating on the lasting importance and benefits of UIL.
The final event, the One-Act Play, will be performed at the district level of competition on Thursday evening in Kennedale. The play, The Imaginary Invalid, by Molière, was performed for the public on Tuesday at the high school auditorium and received high praise from the audience.
Director Kris Allen has faith his troupe will advance to Area Competition. If the play does advance, points awarded will increase the Academic Team totals to new record levels.
Mineral Wells ISD officials are very proud of how successful the Academic Team has been, and are excited for their advancement. The team will be recognized at the next school board meeting, April 9.