Students pour over papers, furiously scribbling on the page, as they race both to finish ahead of the clock and to score better than their competitors. With much the same urgency as a runner turning into the home stretch, these students use their intellectual, rather than physical, talents to represent their respective schools. The UIL, while usually associated with athletics, also holds academic meets, in which students compete against their counterparts from district schools to perform better on various intellectual events.
Jesuit’s UIL academics team participated in the District 9-6A at the beginning of this month, opposing the same schools as district athletics as well as other DISD magnet schools such as Talented & Gifted and Booker T Washington. The students competed in a wide variety of events, ranging from current issues to mathematics.
The wide variety of academic subjects allows a wide range of Jesuit students compete in the competitions, depending on their skill set. Will Aberger ‘17 participated in the “Ready Writing” competition, consisting of a spontaneous writing assignment based on one of two given quotations. Aberger, who feels that writing is one of his strongest skills, commented that, “The competition helped me with timed writing, which will be good practice for AP exams and other timed writing tests.” This attests to the dual purpose of the UIL Academics contests, as they require preparation that not only helps students perform well in competition, but also improve skills that will help them in the classroom in the future.
The team turned in a strong performance across many events, including Matthew Clayton’s ‘17 first place finish in the Spelling and Vocab competition. Clayton, who also finished 4th in Current Issues to earn him a first alternate consideration for Regionals, will compete at the UIL Region II Championships on April 22-23 in Waco at Baylor University.
Also placing were Payton Bilgere ‘19 (T-7th in Spelling and Vocab), Mathios Mekbeb-Gillett ‘19 (8th in Number Sense and 14th in mathematics), Killian Leonard ‘17 (T-7th in Current Issues), Jackson Glenn ‘17 (23rd in Current Issues), Aaron Furton ‘17 (6th in Mathematics), Sam Cormier ‘17 (18th in Mathematics), and Jack Schwab ‘17 (5th in Ready Writing). Additionally, the Jesuit Mathematics team placed 3rd in the group competition, narrowly beating out the The School for the Talented and Gifted.
Mr Brandon Bub, who coaches current issues, said, “I’m really excited about the three students who competed, especially [Matthew Clayton] placing as an alternate for Regionals, and we’re hoping to build on this and do even more next year.” The UIL Academic Coaches are Ms. Mary Beth Farrell, Mr. Brandon Bub, Mr. Greg Nielson (who coached Clayton in Spelling and Vocab), and Ms. Patricia Watson.