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Sage Advice for Novice Coaches

By Jana Riggins, Speech and Debate Director | Tuesday, November 18, 2014 9:44 AM

Fresh out of college and barely 21 years old when I first acquired the title of “speech coach”, I still vividly recall the nervous queasiness in my stomach when I took my students to their first tournament. They towered over me, being the vertically challenged person that I am, and my youthful countenance had tournament administrators asking my students, “Which one of you is the coach?”

I learned a lot those first years, luckily sometimes from mentors who came my way and sometimes through mistakes I survived. If you are a new UIL coach, here are some lessons learned that may help you along your journey.

You can never dream too big. You may be starting a speech and debate program from scratch, with no budget and perhaps little administrative support for this strange animal you’re attempting to convince everyone is a program that is essential for success in the real world.  You may even be beginning with a zero budget. It probably appears that you are on an island apart from everyone. Don’t give up hope. As your speakers and performers start having success, people will take notice.

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OAP Updates and Reminders

By Luis Muñoz, Theatre Director | Monday, November 17, 2014 2:39 PM

Thank you for enrolling to participate in this year’s UIL OAP Contest.  To date, 1227 have enrolled in this year’s contest. This is the highest number in League history. We look forward to working together to make this a productive year.

Please remember to download the new Handbook for One-Act Play.  The link can be found under “Resources and Forms” on our website. Some major revisions were made on Oct. 16 on pages 28-29 and the pages that reflect the items involved.

Those of you who are looking for judges to complete your panels can find a directory of available judges on our site. It’s like for OAP.  We will be adding an addendum later this week.

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59 Students Named to All-State Journalism Staff

By | Monday, September 15, 2014 10:03 AM

Fifty-nine students have been named to the 2013-14 All-State Journalism Staff. To qualify for the staff, students must have earned 50 points by participating and winning different journalism contests throughout the year. Students can earn points by participating in UIL invitational contests, UIL district, regional and state contests, as well as ILPC and similar type journalism contests.

All-State Journalism Staff

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Former HS Photographer Talks About his Experience in Liberia

By Jeanne Acton, Journalism Director | Tuesday, September 09, 2014 11:21 AM

While on assignment in Liberia, John Moore wore protective gear to protect himself from getting the Ebola virus.
While on assignment in Liberia, John Moore wore protective gear to protect himself from getting the Ebola virus.

John Moore, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer who now works for Getty Images, recently returned from Liberia where he documented the Ebola epidemic. In high school, Moore was an award-wining photographer, taking home just about every ILPC photo medal. In college, he shot for the Daily Texan, the University of Texas at Austin newspaper, and the Leaguer.
After returning from Liberia, Moore spoke with Jeanne Acton about his experiences in that country.

Moore will be a featured speaker at the ILPC Spring Convention held April 18-19 at UT-Austin. At the convention, he will present a session with his photos from Liberia.

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Weblinks for Academic Coordinator Preparations

By Dr. David Stevens, Academic Director | Tuesday, September 09, 2014 11:02 AM

STUDENT ACTIVITIES CONFERENCES begin next week. Bring a busload of students and every coach you can round up. They are free and no registration is required. A tentative schedule will be posted two weeks before the conference. Handouts and presentations will be posted on the website as they are made available.

    WTAMU Canyon-Sept 13
    TAMUCC Corpus-Sept 27

    UT Austin-Nov 1

    UT Arlington-Nov 15

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Speaking Events Continue to Evolve and Grow

By Jana Riggins, Speech and Debate Director | Tuesday, September 09, 2014 10:37 AM

It’s the dawn of a new day, a new school year and I hope you are as excited as I am to begin the journey of this new competition year! The academic department at UIL is always seeking ways to bring growth and progress to our program, so my column this month is full of important changes and updates in every speaking event. Indulge in what will seem like a potpourri bulletin board.

The biggest news in Cross-Examination Debate is the confirmation of our site and location for the CX Debate State Tournament. You may have noticed on our original tentative calendar that two weeks were marked for state debate with a “TBD” notification. That is because for some time now, I have been exploring the possibility of alternative sites. This summer, I notified all debate coaches registered in the UIL speech coach database of our decision that, for 2015, the state debate tournament will remain at UT-Austin and will be hosted during the week of March 16 – 21.

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Introduction to the CX Debate Oceans Topic: Time to Dive In

By Noah Recker, La Vernia High School | Tuesday, September 09, 2014 10:35 AM

Author: Noah Recker, Debate coach at La Vernia High School and UIL representative to the NFHS National CX Debate Topic Selection Committee who authored the study report over Oceans. Noah’s paper developed into the resolution which debaters throughout the nation will be debating during the 2014-2015 school year: Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its non-military exploration and/or development of the Earth's oceans.

When asked to write for the National CX Debate Topic Selection Committee, I had some nervous trepidation. It felt like a huge weight had been put on my shoulders. I knew what I wanted in a topic and I hoped that my topic paper could convey those wants and needs. Across the state, I continuously heard coaches complain about the changing nature of CX debate and how it is getting tougher and tougher to recruit high school students into the event. It was time to create some waves with my topic paper, and I eventually settled on oceans. The breadth of the topic can help novices explore their imaginations with topic ideas and senior debaters can really dive into a wide range of research opportunities.

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Journalism Advisory Committee Updates Contests

By Jeanne Acton, Journalism Director | Tuesday, September 09, 2014 10:30 AM

Amazing things happen when you put a group of top-notch journalism advisers together in a room and give them a few hours to work. This summer is proof of that.
In July, 15 or so of your colleagues and I met to discuss, revamp and review the UIL Journalism Contests and the ILPC Contests. The advisory committee, comprised of some of the best advisers across Texas, accomplished more in 8 hours than I could have done all semester long.

Before coming together, I split the committee into five subgroups to focus on the following areas: 1) UIL Journalism Contests 2) ILPC Yearbook Contests 3) ILPC Print Newspaper Contests 4) ILPC Online Newspaper Contests 5) Broadcast Contests.

Each subgroup met for a few hours to discuss proposed changes that advisers emailed to me earlier in the year. Every voice was heard, and every proposal was discussed. Then, the groups came up with recommendations for changes to their area.

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Triple Threat: UIL Tradition Starts More than 40 Years Ago

By Sue Jane Mayes, Borden County HS | Thursday, June 05, 2014 9:39 AM

When science teacher Mickey McMeans drove to Austin in 1966 with Borden County High School’s first-ever academic state qualifier, he could not have imagined the tradition he was starting.

In the 70s and 80s business teacher Netta Jarrett coached multiple state champions in 1-A typing and shorthand.

Speech teachers Darrin Ard and Sue Jane Mayes would be the next generation of coaches, carpooling many students the 350-mile distance from Gail to Austin. Between them, they coached two speech championship teams and numerous extemp, interp, and debate gold medalists. Champions in spelling, ready writing, journalism and social studies were also added.

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OAP Contest Makes an Impact

By Julie Herman, Arts + Culture Texas | Thursday, June 05, 2014 9:33 AM

Reprinted with permission from Arts + Culture Texas

Theater students from Rogers High School, a small 2A school near Temple, wait in the wings of the auditorium. An official with a stopwatch stands in the corner of the backstage area. “One minute,” she warns. “Go.” The students snap into action, seizing blocks and steps, shifting them into position on the stage. They have seven minutes to build their set, brings in props and complete sound and light checks. Philip Taylor, the school’s director, stands watching. These students have helped craft the script to fit the 40-minute time limit, auditioned for parts, scrounged for props, created costumes, and rehearsed, rehearsed, rehearsed. One or two of them spare a glance up at the light bar high overhead. If their palms are sweaty, it’s because when the curtain goes up, this competition matters.

Some people think that Friday Night Lights defines our state’s youth. But football is not the only contest worth watching in the great state of Texas. According to Luis Muñoz, the state theater director of the University Interscholastic League (UIL), 1,220 schools will bring their best performances to the Texas UIL One Act Play (OAP) Contest this spring: That’s a boatload of thespians. Just like Texas football, this monster of a contest gathers high school teams and pits them in the largest U.S. competition of its kind.

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