UIL Academics

The UIL Academics team finishes up their invitational meets and prepares for district.

Katie Griffith

More stories from Katie Griffith

May 17, 2022
The UIL math team prepares for their competition.

The UIL math team prepares for their competition.

     It’s not what most think of as a competition. Instead of being on the court or field, classrooms become the arena, and competitors prepare to show off their skills. Not the physical kind, but the academic.

     “UIL Academics gives students a broad and a deeper experience in the content areas, so it makes them better in their classes,” UIL Spelling and Vocabulary coach Marguerite Swilling said. “It helps them to gain confidence in the core classes that are going to be the primary things they take in college, and, it’s actually fun, it challenges you.” 

     The UIL Academics emcompasses many different activities to compete in including UIL Spelling and Vocabulary, Current Events, Social Studies, Math, Journalism, Debate, Accounting, Computer Applications, Ready Writing, Literary Criticism and Essay Contests.

     “No matter whether science, math, english, spelling, history or writing, there’s something in those classes for everybody,” Swilling said. “Whether you really want to compete and earn a medal or a trophy or something, it’s a chance to improve your own skills”

     Competitions are held by a host campus that other schools around and in the area can sign up to take part in. Each activity is held in a separate room, with assignments and times posted in the halls so students know when and where they compete. Invitationals are practice meets that help to prepare the participants for the official district meet. The top 6 students from each category that places are recognized and awarded at the invitational meet. Current Events competitor and senior Aidan Ramirez is one of the Rouse competitors who have placed at an invitational meet.

     “It’s definitely a nice feeling to be, you know, recognized and awarded for something you are passionate about, something that you are competing in,” Ramirez said. “It feels pretty good.”

      If they place at District, the competitors could then advance to Regionals, and even later, State. Once at the State level, there is the opportunity to win scholarships. However, even if the students don’t place, there are still many things they can take away from their competition experience. 

      “I think the best part of competing is that you learn so much,” Current Events competitor and  junior Sai Sriya Duggirala said. “You realize how and where to improve upon yourself.”

     Before the competitions, however, there must first be preparation. Each unique event prepares for their competitions differently. While UIL spelling may take virtual tests or study a word list, events such as Current Events use other preparation tactics. 

     “I like to listen to news podcasts on Spotify while I get ready for school,” Duggirala said. “Once I come home, I spend 10 to 15 minutes just getting to know what is happening around the world and in our state.”

     Much like other UIL events, UIL academics is a team based sport. Each student competes independently, but all the scores are combined together for the team. A participant may be able to palace independently in a category, and their team could place as a whole in the event as well. Having a good team atmosphere is important in both preparing and competing.

     “I think they’re really supportive, and they know how to help you when you ask questions,” Duggirala said. “They are always going to push you to do your best as well.” 

      UIL Current Events is one of the teams at Rouse that students can join to compete in. This event studies what is happening around the state, country and world, and encourages the competitors to stay up to date with the news. 

     “I would say that it’s important to study current events because it’s important for young people, especially people of our age, to be more informed of what’s going on in the world,” Ramirez said. “I think if we’re more informed about what’s going on in the world, and especially in the US, then we can gain a better understanding of how to help fix the problems.”

     UIL spelling and Vocabulary is another team that is offered at Rouse for students to join. This event focuses on words that may be multisyllabic, have accent marks of different kinds, hyphens, capitalization, medical terms, or foreign expressions. A list of 1500 words are given for students to study and learn before the meet.

     “Even though there’s competition, it’s not about winning a medal or trophy necessarily,” Swilling said. “It’s about improving your study habits, language abilities, and gaining confidence in using the English language.”