A contemporary journalist and author of inspirational wisdom, Katherine Pulsifer sums up the achievements and future goals of the middle school academic UIL program.
The Brundrett Middle School Academic UIL students have spread their wings in search of knowledge and experiences. Throughout the fall semester, our teachers/ coaches (Danna Alcorn, Paul Balcom, Joe Kocurek, Philina Martinez, Andrea Skloss, Betty Smith, and Suzanne Casias) diligently worked with students to prepare them for academic contests held in December. Events in which students participated included art, calculator applications, dictionary skills, editorial writing, impromptu speaking, listening, maps, graphs and charts, mathematics, number sense, oral reading, ready writing, science, social studies and spelling.
Both written and speaking events challenged our students to grow beyond their regular classroom learning and pursue excellence in their chosen events.
The acquisition of knowledge does not come easily. Students studied before and after school, during their lunches and advisories. They graphed, read, wrote, spoke, spelled and listened. They endured practice tests and speaking try-outs. In addition, each competitor had to meet eligibility requirements, passing all classes and attending required practice sessions.
As with any worthwhile endeavor, UIL academic contest preparation requires dedication, commitment and extra effort; academic students stretch their minds in individually chosen events. Some students break out of their comfort zones and choose to compete in contests where they struggle, so that they may develop their skills and improve their grades.
Some students choose to compete in contests to become part of a team, learning lifeenhancing lessons of cooperation through competition. And still other students choose to compete in their subject of greatest strength to further their proficiency.
Their hard work proved worthwhile when, at contests on Dec. 2 and 6, our students soared through their individual events and gained valuable experience to enable them to continue to climb ever higher in the pursuit of academic knowledge. They gained experience in relating to other like-minded students from area schools, in competing with students who share an interest in their chosen event and in formulating friendships based on common goals.
Parents and community members should be proud of our students’ display of humility in victory and pride in representing their school. Our shared goals of growth and experience in competition was well met, and our 52 students performed quite proficiently to receive a total of 25 medals and 28 ribbons, representing first through sixth places in each event.
Students were awarded their medals and ribbons and celebrated for their accomplishments with cake and punch on Dec. 12. If you know a middle school student who competed in this year’s competition, please offer him/her a hearty congratulations—it takes more than just a desire to be a great academic UIL competitor.
As our middle school academic UIL program moves forward and continues to grow, we will build upon the “strength” and achievements of this year and see just how much “higher we can fly” in the years to come.
We look forward to the continued success of not only our program, but the successes our students will continue to achieve as they build upon the strong foundations that have already been laid and the legacy that has been further nurtured. Knowledge and experience gained. Greater success to come.
Suzanne Casias teaches English language arts at Brundrett Middle School.