The teams pose with their first place and second place plaques.
The teams pose with their first place and second place plaques.

UIL Academics Teams Advance to State

Social Studies, Speech and Debate, Current Events and Journalism will compete at state on May 14, 15

UIL Current Events and Social Studies placed first overall at regionals and Journalism finished second place, runner up for the regional competition. The advancing teams and students will compete at state on May 14 and 15.

“It feels amazing to have beaten Cedar Park,” senior Kent O’Pella said. “As a band kid, I’ve felt the disappointment of coming in second place to Cedar Park one too many times. I’m really glad to have such a strong competition as Cedar Park in Current Events, but I’m so much more glad that we’re able to put them in their place.”

In Social Studies, junior Marcus Vizy placed first, while junior Brady Carter and senior Colton Rupe placed fourth and sixth. Junior Sohail Shaik will also compete at state with the team. Vizy and Rupe also compete in Current Events. 

“[UIL] allowed me to make a lot of friends that I definitely would not have made in other grade levels,” Vizy said. “We’ve spent hours together after school and [we] go to competitions.”

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In Current Events, O’Pella placed third, and Rupe finished in sixth place. Junior Renushri Yannam and Vizy will also be attending the state competition. The team gets together multiple times during the week to go over the top news stories of the week.

“UIL has been a positive outlet for me adjacent to my regular school work,” O’Pella said. “As a senior I have very little motivation regarding school as a whole, but UIL is something that really excites me. I think having that outlet to still get excited about something school-related has been a really positive thing for me.”

In Journalism, junior Snigdha Shenoy placed first in Headline Writing and third in Copy Editing and junior Zoe Clark finished in second place in Feature Writing. The journalism team is made up of yearbook and newspaper staffers. 

“UIL has helped me become more confident, helped me learn to handle stress, and allowed me to form deeper bonds with my teammates,” Shenoy said. “It has taught me to help manage my stress when I’m put under pressure, which is a great test taking skill.”

Additionally, junior Nitish Elangovan placed third in Informative Speaking in the Speech and Debate category.

“I joined Speech and Debate to get better at my speaking skills,” Elangovan said. “In this world of fast communication, it’s a matter of fluency in how you communicate your points to other people. It’s helped me communicate with new people more confidently and fluently.”

The day before regionals, the team went bowling and had a 3 hour study session.

“It was just a really fun afternoon, and while we were all somewhat nervous for the competition the next day, everyone was just having a good time and bonding together,” O’Pella said. “I feel like I got to know a lot of people better on the trip.”

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