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Q&A with New Current Issues and Events State Director

By Andrea Negri | Friday, November 07, 2008 10:14 AM

 Tom Ray from Hays High School is the new Current Issues and Events State Contest Director this year. Last year, former director Bobby Hawthorne retired from the event.
The following is a brief question and answer with the new director:

How long have you been involved with the UIL and at what capacity?
In high school, I joined the UIL debate team as a freshman in 1983 and was involved all 4 years. I advanced to State in cross examination debate my junior and senior years and placed 3rd in 1986 and 2nd in 1987. I judged the CX State meet for years as a paid judge until I took a Speech and Debate coaching
position at Jack C. Hays HS in the fall of 1993. My teams won district each year I coached, and one of our teams won state in 1997. I then became just a teacher for about five years. I became the Academic Coordinator for Hays in 2006.

What are your plans for the CI&E contest?
My plan this year is to continue to balance foreign and domestic news as well as major Texas news and personalities. In the long term, I hope to move to more international events and personalities. The Internet and electronic library databases really level the playing field and make this contests
so interesting. I am looking forward to visiting with the coaches and coordinators around the state and getting their input as well.

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30-minute Clinic/Critique Offers Students a Great Learning Environment

By Richard Floyd | Friday, November 07, 2008 10:12 AM

The State Wind Ensemble Contest was established in 1976 as a part of the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest. During the years that followed, this event gradually evolved into the festival format that is in place today. It is now referred to as the State Wind Ensemble Festival (SWEF). It is viewed to be an educationally rewarding and positive experience for all participants. This year this prestigious event is scheduled for May 9, 2009.

Much of the success of this event has been attributed to the Clinician/Commentator component of the format. This feature allows each performing group to have a 30-minute post concert clinic/critique with a nationally recognized conductor/educator. The focus of the event is on the subjective, artistic elements of music performance rather than the objective, technical details that tend to dominate critiques in a totally competitive setting.

With the approval of the UIL/TMEA Music Advisory Committee and the UIL Legislative Council the event was modified in 2000 to what many would term a festival format. The intent of this revision was to build on the most successful elements of SWEF, which cultivate the positive aspects of making music for music’s sake rather than the attainment of an objective rating. In addition a listening component has been added to emphasize the very important value of becoming good audience members as well as accomplished performers.

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Council Approves Crew Change

By 0 | Friday, November 07, 2008 10:10 AM

The Legislative Council has approved the addition of a fifth crew member effective Aug. 1, 2009.  The fifth crew member should allow you to more safely execute technical effects and deal with the varying architectural demands of each locale. I want to personally thank the members of the UIL Academic Committee and the Council for their unanimous support.

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Time to Review Your List of ‘Things to Do’

By Mark Cousins | Friday, November 07, 2008 10:08 AM

It is hard to believe that November is already here and our first state champions for the 2008-2009 will be crowned this month.

As we edge closer to the end of 2008 and look forward to 2009, it is a good time to check and make sure you have done the things you need to do and get ready for things to come.

COPE (Coaches and Officials Positive Expectations)

The UIL Legislative Council requires all coaches to annually complete the COPE program. As of May 2008, the COPE program is available only via the UIL Web site. If you have not completed your COPE registration for this year, you need to take care of it as soon as possible.

So far, more than 30,000 coaches and officials in grades 7-12 have completed COPE registration for this year. But we know many more have not taken the time to be in compliance with UIL rules as of yet. Should a coach be ejected from a contest and be found not current in their COPE registration, the coach will receive a minimum one game suspension on top of the automatic penalty of reprimand and probation.

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Legislative Council Approves a Few Changes for 2009-2010

By Peter Contreras | Friday, November 07, 2008 10:05 AM

Having attended some 19 UIL Legislative Council Meetings over the years, this past month’s meeting may have been the quietest yet. There were proposals, ideas and concerns that were discussed, but at the end of the two-day public meeting, minor changes seemed to rule the day.

What has not changed over time is that proposals that were passed by the 28-member committee are an attempt to fix a problem or concern and, at the same time, ensure that the school children of our state continue to have a very positive and educational experience in our school programs.

New proposals were passed for swimming and diving, softball and golf to strength those programs. Please note, none of the proposals passed are effective until the 2009-2010 school year.

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After Ike, High Island HS Finds Its Way Home Again

By Charles Breithaupt | Friday, November 07, 2008 6:58 AM

Thomas Hardy once wrote, “You can never go home again.” He was right of course, but he never knew the people in High Island.

High Island is a small southeast Texas coastal town along the Gulf Coast. Ravaged by hurricane they had little hope they would ever be able to return, yet miraculously many did.

Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at High Island High School Paul Colton had evacuated from his own home as Hurricane Ike barreled toward the Texas coast. Having already cancelled one game because of the evacuations, Coach Colton was concerned that the damages to the tiny Conference A school, nestled on the gulf coast, could cost his team the season.

He, like many others in High Island, awaited news regarding the rest of the season. Most importantly he awaited information regarding the fate of the school and the homes of many players who lived in the coastal communities along Bolivar Peninsula.

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Two Staffers Win Awards

By Jeanne Acton | Monday, October 13, 2008 12:18 PM

Two UIL staff members received very prestigious awards in conjunction with the 2008 Coaching School in San Antonio this past summer. Both Cliff Odenwald and Dr. Mark Cousins of the UIL athletic staff were recognized at the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association Hall of Honor Banquet for their outstanding service to high school athletics in Texas.

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