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Select the OAP That is Right for Your Students, Your School

By Luis Muñoz, Theater Director | Thursday, October 27, 2016 9:48 AM

Producing quality theatre begins by selecting plays of literary value and theatrical merit. The theatre teacher is responsible for choosing scripts worthy of the educational experience involved. If English students must study the best literature, so must theatre students and theatre audiences be exposed to the best dramaturgy. Theatre is a reflection of life. When students experience superior plays written by outstanding authors, they learn, through character exploration, of the physical, mental and emotional development of the human personality, of people’s motives, reactions, standards and ideals, all of which enriches the students’ lives and helps them gain poise, social understanding, self-awareness and self-esteem.

Plays worthy of presentation in secondary schools are plays which may be accorded a place in dramatic literature. Such plays are legitimate teaching tools for expanding the literary, theatrical and social horizons of the students, challenging the talents and artistic abilities of the participants and offering a vital and important message of social and redeeming value to the adolescent and adult community. Such plays help fulfill the objective of aesthetic education.

- “A Play for All Seasons”

It is important that you ask yourself a simple question when making play choices, and it’s not, “What?”  The question that really has an impact is, “Why?”  It is important to understand that the selection of material not only has an impact on your program but on theatre education as a whole. Are we doing this particular title to make a point, to satisfy a personal desire or to give our students a positive educational experience?

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Survey Details how Speech and Debate Bolsters Students’ Confidence

By Dr. J. Scott Baker, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin | Wednesday, September 21, 2016 9:37 AM

Regina Wells Jennings teaches at Jersey Village High School in Houston.  Colin Malinak teaches at Saint Mary’s Hall in San Antonio.  Both Regina and Colin are young speech and debate coaches with a bright future leading their students in forensic competitions.  They are both exceptional coaches as well as human beings.  I know — I helped coach them in high school.

I don’t say this to take any credit in their success. Their accomplishments are about them, not anyone else.  I say this to provide two specific examples of former teens, unsure of their individuality and ability, who became leaders by finding their voice in interscholastic speech and debate activities.  Regina and Colin are not alone.

Through a 2015 national survey of speech and debate coaches, educators address multiple concepts regarding student development through participation; one of those issues is student confidence.  Texas coaches discuss benefits of confidence using terms such as “voice,” “ambition,” “self-advocacy” and “willingness to try new things.” Texas coaches reflect on how their students’ confidence grew through speech and debate experiences, just as it did for Regina and Colin.

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Former UIL Athletes Compete in Rio Olympics

By Chris Schmidt, Public Affairs Representative | Monday, August 29, 2016 1:59 PM

Olympic competitors are some of the most talented and well-trained athletes in the world, so it’s no surprise that many of them were successful high school student-athletes. Several former UIL State champions made waves representing Team USA during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Several even medaled at the games.

The following is a rundown of how former UIL state medal winners fared at the 2016 Olympic Games:

Camille Adams, Houston Cypress Woods HS: Adams was the fastest swimmer in the Conference 5A 500-yard freestyle event, winning gold at the 2010 UIL Swimming and Diving State Championships. At Rio she placed fourth in the 200-meter butterfly finals, only .7 seconds from a spot on the medal stand.

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State Spirit Pilot Recognizes ‘Full Spectrum’ of Friday Night Lights

By Lauren Kelley, UIL Intern | Wednesday, August 24, 2016 1:10 PM

UIL is the first state to hold a “Game-Day” style state competition where squads are given game scenarios and expected to choose and perform the right cheer for the scenario.
UIL is the first state to hold a “Game-Day” style state competition where squads are given game scenarios and expected to choose and perform the right cheer for the scenario.

Photo by Photo courtesy of Action Moments

350 schools. 4,000 students. Bigger than the UIL State Track Meet, and one of the biggest  UIL events so far. And it wasn’t just the size of the event — no meet could match the amount of school spirit at the inaugural UIL State Spirit Pilot this past spring.

“Coaches and teams were just over the top,” Assistant Athletic Director Traci Neely said. “They never really realized what it would feel like to compete and get a medal and how their communities would treat them when they returned from competition.”

UIL is the first state to hold a “Game-Day” style state competition where squads are given game scenarios and expected to choose and perform the right cheer for the scenario.

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Journalism Round-Up: Information to Start the New School Year

By Jeanne Acton, Journalism and ILPC Director | Tuesday, August 23, 2016 11:19 AM

And just like that it’s 2016-17. It’s hard to believe how fast time flies. When I started at UIL in 2004, I was pregnant with my first child. This morning, I dropped Charlie off at middle school. Middle school. Crazy.

Time is flying, and so are journalism teachers. Your lives are crazy busy, and yet every year, you manage to inspire your students to create amazing media. I am in awe of you, and I suspect this year will be no different.

As we start the year, I wanted to make sure I give you all of the information you could possibly need or want (plus a little more).

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New School Year Starts with Changes in Speech and Debate

By Jana Riggins, Speech and Debate Director | Tuesday, August 23, 2016 10:57 AM

Change. That’s often an overwhelming word teachers hear repeatedly when they reenter the school building after being gone for the summer months. Students show up for the first day of class and they feel the changes too. It’s not just the new clothes and supplies they may have purchased for school; there are new buildings, new teachers, new courses and bell schedules and always, new classroom procedures.

At UIL, you will find changes too. But rest assured, some things haven’t changed. The calendar for UIL speech competitions has not altered. Congress regional competitions are still Nov. 1-15, and the State Meet is Jan. 9-11. CX Districts still begin the first school day in January and end mid-February. CX State Meet is March 13-14, 2017 for Conference 1A-3A and March 17-18, 2017 for Conference 4A-6A at the University of Texas at Austin. Ignore superstition and book your hotel rooms now because the Capitol City is popular during spring break.

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Academic Team Gears Up for SACs

By Lauren Kelley, UIL Intern | Tuesday, August 23, 2016 10:38 AM

Each year, UIL hosts four Student Activity Conferences (SAC) to provide information to students, academic coordinators and coaches about contest preparation, demonstrations, performances and contest administration. The conferences feature lectures and presentations from UIL contest directors, college professors and high school teachers.

The SACs for 2016 are:

    Sept. 17 at West Texas A&M, Canyon
    Sept  24 at Texas A&M at Corpus Christi
    Oct  22 at the University of Texas at Austin
    Nov  5 at the University of Texas at Arlington

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55 Schools Competed at State Mariachi Festival Pilot

By Lauren Kelley, UIL Intern | Tuesday, August 23, 2016 10:27 AM

The State Mariachi Festival pilot was held at Southwest High School in San Antonio.
The State Mariachi Festival pilot was held at Southwest High School in San Antonio.

This past spring the UIL Music Department brought together students from across the state to celebrate the rich history and culture of Mexico through the UIL State Mariachi competition.

“In 2007, UIL began offering mariachi as a medium ensemble on the region level, but there was no advancement to a state event,” Director of Music Dr. Brad Kent said. “We felt like the next step was to create a state event to help continue the growth and development of mariachi programs in our schools.”

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Robotics State Championship in July ‘Exceeds’ Expectations

By Lauren Kelley, UIL Intern | Tuesday, August 23, 2016 9:57 AM

The first Robotics State Championship was held at Austin Convention Center in July.
The first Robotics State Championship was held at Austin Convention Center in July.

Photo by Photo by Chris Schmidt, Public Affairs Representative

Robots have not taken over the world yet — but they have entered UIL competition.

UIL hosted its first pilot Robotics State Championship in July at the Austin Convention Center.

“I expected we would have a good event, but it really exceeded my expectations in terms of how smoothly everything ran and just being a great experience for the participants,” STEM Activities Director David Trussell said. “I had a number of students and coaches tell me that they really appreciated what UIL is doing with the robotics program to help put a spotlight on the activity and encourage more schools to participate.”

UIL teamed up with FIRST robotics to provide two competitions for the meet: the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).

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75 Students Named to 2016 All-State Journalism Staff

By | Tuesday, August 23, 2016 9:51 AM

Seventy-five students have been named to the 2016 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.

2016 All-State Journalism Staff:

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