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2004 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award Winners

Media Contact: Kim Rogers
Phone: 512-471-5883

Date: Dec 16, 2004
Category: General Information


AUSTIN, TX - The University Interscholastic League is proud to recognize 15 of the top UIL sponsors in Texas as the 2004 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners.

The winners were selected by a panel of judges in the areas of music, athletics, and academics from nominations submitted by school principals and superintendents across the state.

The award, now in its fourteenth year, was created to identify and recognize outstanding sponsors who enable students to develop and refine their extracurricular talents to the highest degree possible within the educational system.

“The benefits of interscholastic competition and student performance are only possible through the hard work and dedication of sponsors, coaches, and directors like these,” said UIL Director Dr. Bill Farney. “On behalf of the UIL, I commend these outstanding educators.”

Each winner will receive $1,000 and a symbolic keepsake from the UIL in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the pursuit of educational excellence through interscholastic competition. The University Interscholastic League continually strives to strengthen and promote the role of extracurricular activities in Texas through programs like the UIL Sponsor Excellence Award.

The UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners for 2004 are as follows:

Eulin Cain, Avery High School
Eulin Cain of Avery High School has coached junior high athletics for 25 years and high school cross country for 15 years. In addition, he has coached UIL Science, Number Sense and Mathematics for 30 years, and Calculator Applications for 15 years. He’s coached qualifiers to the State Meet every year between 1983 and 2004. He was named Texas Math/Science Coaches Association Science Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004.

“The awards that his students have received are countless; and it is a statistic that he does not keep up with. The one statistic that he does count is the number of former students who have finished college and are actively pursuing a career of their own, many in the field of education.” — Robert Kelsoe, Principal, Avery HS

Janice Caldwell, Lindale High School
Janice Caldwell of Lindale High School has coached CX Debate and informative/persuasive speaking for 26 years, as well as Lincoln-Douglas debate for 20 years. She served as UIL campus academic coordinator for 26 years while coaching prose/poetry for 17 years and Current Issues & Events for four years.

A former National Federation of High School Associations National Speech Teacher of the year, Caldwell coached the 2004 3A state championship speech team and led the school to the overall 3A state academic championship. She’s coached five LD state champions, one informative state champion and one CX state champion.

“Janet Caldwell is successful. It is not because she has the best resources, smartest students or the largest budgets. She is successful because she builds positive relationships with students. When students enter her class their freshman year, they can’t help but absorb the positive environment. Their lives become her life.” — Jamie Holder, Principal, Lindale HS

Cliff McCurdy, Argyle High School
Cliff McCurdy of Argyle High School has coached Calculator Applications for 20 years, Mathematics for 10 years, Science for nine years and Number Sense for six years. In that time, McCurdy has coached 11 first place state team, 12 first place individual state awards, and three first place state teams for overall academics. Though he coaches in a small, 1A school, his students score higher than their 4A and 5A counterparts.

“Cliff encourages all students to participate and find the event best for them. He does not limit recruitment to only those who are academic superstars. He sincerely tries to reach as many students as possible. He creates an atmosphere of camaraderie and teamwork.”

“Students eagerly stay after school to experience the practice session for the teams that Cliff coaches. They go and recruit other students. It is considered very prestigious and desirable to be a member of the UIL teams. Cliff has been a primary force in creating this belief in the culture of the high school.” — Jeff Henry, Principal, Argyle HS

Carolyn Whitmire, Moulton High School
Carolyn Whitmire of Moulton High School has coached on the high school and elementary/junior high level: high school Number Sense for 18 years, and elementary/junior high number sense for 22 years. She’s also coached high school Calculator Applications for 17 years, Computer Science for 14 years and Computer Applications for 11 years. In that time, she’s coached 34 students to the State Meet, filling 65 State Meet slots.

“As members of my academic teams, students learn to respect the worth of others,” she said. “They must offer suggestions and solutions and be receptive to the ideas of others. Additionally, they encourage each other as they look beyond personal glory to try to promote the success of the team as a whole.”

“As a UIL academic coach, I serve as a mentor not only by guiding academic investigation, but also conveying my enthusiasm for learning. Our level of knowledge keeps evolving, and we must be receptive to change. I must teach my students to be proficient problem-solvers and confident risk-takers. UIL competitive activities promote a stimulating venue that assures that my students will be prepared to meet the challenges that await them in the future.”

Carol Ann Nelson, Austin McCallum High School
Carol Ann Nelson is in her 25th year as Director of Bands at Austin McCallum High School. During her tenure, her bands have earned first division ranking and Sweepstakes trophies in 24 of 25 years. She has hosted UIL Concert and Sight-reading contests for 10 years and the district marching contest for four years. More than 40 of her students have been in Texas All-State ensembles, and at least that many have gone on to play in the UT Longhorn Band.

“The goal of music education is to awaken in students a love for music that inspires them to participate in music as an art form,” she said. “Competition fosters greatness in all who are willing to work toward their own maximum potential. Effective music educators instill in their students a healthy respect for competition and empower them with the discipline and self-respect necessary to excel in all areas of life.”

Paula Jay, Fort Bend Elkins High School
Paula Jay of Elkins has coached Ready Writing for 19 years, Literary Criticism for 17, Current Issues & Events for 13, Spelling & Vocabulary for 11 and Journalism for five. She’s led Elkins High School to two overall state academic championships. In 12 years, her students have won 15 district team titles, nine regional team titles and two State team titles. She has had students at State Meet every year that Elkins High has existed.

“UIL academic events both complement and extend classroom goals and objectives by encouraging students to master and apply content at higher levels of competencies,” she said. “Because academic excellence rarely receives the encouragement or recognition it deserves, UIL and other competitions are vital components encouraging students to achieve their maximum potentials. UIL events build self-confidence, establish team spirit, encourage risk taking, emphasize self-development and reward academic enthusiasm.”

George Harris, Gregory-Portland High School
George Harris has coached football and track in South Texas for 45 years. He was head track coach at Gregory-Portland from 1964 to 1982, where he is now head football coach and athletic director, winning 12 district and seven regional track champions at GP and compiling a 30-9 record in football that includes a state semifinalist and a regional semifinalist.

He coached football and track at Refugio HS from 1983-2001, winning 12 district, eight regional and six state track championships. In football, his teams compiled a 106-17-1 record.

“I think the single most important thing that athletes benefit from sports is discipline,” he said. “I realize that athletics also helps young people physically, psychologically and socially. An athlete who works hard prepares both mentally and physically, has confidence and perseveres will have the edge to win.”

Deena Kolafa, Brazos High School
Deena Kolafa of Brazos High School has coached volleyball for 20 years, compiling a 480-139 records and reaching the playoffs 18 of 20 years, including six state finalists and state champions in 1998 and 2003.

She also has coached seven regional tennis finalists and two state qualifiers, including a bronze medalist in 2004. In addition, she coached UIL computer applications for 23 years (six regional qualifiers, one state qualifier) and accounting for 17 years (eight state qualifiers, 14 regional qualifiers).

“There are never ‘losers’ where UIL competition is involved,” she said. “Competition creates energy and enthusiasm which I have found is an excellent environment to learn and to teach in. My deepest belief is that all of my students and athletes can do something, and they can do it well. It is my job to search out their strengths, teach them what hard work is all about, and then find a place for them to shine.”

Dawn Richardson, Brookshire Royal High School
Dawn Richardson of Royal HS has coached track and field and cross country for 19 years, winning seven consecutive district track (16 overall) championships and one regional title in 2004. Her cross country team has won 14 district titles and qualified eight teams to State. She also has coached volleyball, tennis and basketball, taking teams to the basketball playoffs eight years.

“Competition drives us all to be better people and to never settle for yesterday’s performance,” she said. “It gives us purpose and a better quality of life. It’s the thrill of preparing and competing that gives us lasting joy.”

Kandi King, San Antonio Churchill High School
Kandi King of San Antonio Churchill has coached CX and LD debate as well as informative/persuasive speaking for 24 years. She coached prose & poetry for 17 years and Current Issues & Events since its inception. She has served as campus UIL academic coordinator for 10 years and has been a member of the Regional Speech Advisory Committee. She also served as the 4A/5A representative to the Debate Topic Selection Committee.

In addition, she has served as Region 4 4A and 5A academic meet director, the only full-time high school teacher to hold such a post.

“A positive work ethic, professional dress, attention to detail, participation in professional organizations, a willingness to share one’s talents with peers, and the professional interaction and treatment of students are just a few of the qualities I expect from effective educators. Kandi exhibits strength in each of these areas. In addition, the record of excellence her teams have established under her leadership is most impressive. I realize there are times when sponsors and coaches in the fine arts feel like they labor in anonymity. However, Kandi is one of those individuals who thrives on the challenge of promoting the growth of competitive speech and debate. She has devoted her life’s work to that end.” — Joseph Reasons, Principal, Churchill HS

Katy Stockstill, Poth High School
In her 30 years as a teacher, Katy Stockstill of Poth High School has directed the One-Act Play for 25 years as well as coaching Prose and Poetry Interpretation, Informative and Persuasive Speaking, CX Debate, Current Issues & Events, Literary Criticism, Number Sense, LD Debate and Social Studies.  She also is the UIL campus academic coordinator. Her OAP troupes have won 20 district titles, and she’s taken numerous students to the State Meet.

“It is wonderful to see smiles and confidence that comes with a win, especially when it happens to a student who exceeds his or her own expectations,” she said. “As a teacher, I also want to be there so students can learn from failure as well. I love competition, but I know it is a tool and not an end all. It is a tool to help us discover what all we can do. Competition motivates individuals and teams to strive for excellence.”

Paula Meller, Higgins High School
Paula Meller of Higgins High School started the program at Higgins in 1987 and has coached One-Act Play for 18 years. She also served as campus UIL academic coordinator for 15 years. Her students have received numerous acting awards at all levels since 1988. Three students were selected state All-Star cast in 2000. She also has coached Literary Criticism, Spelling & Vocabulary, Ready Writing, Poetry Interpretation and Current Issues & Events.

“I do not believe that winning is most important, although it is nice when it happens,” she said.

“However, students usually realize that what they learned and how they grew during the journey of preparation is the real prize. The edge that competing with others brings to the process helps drive them, but the best memories come from the awareness that they really did accomplish something of which to be proud. All of them walk away from the competitions with greater self-awareness and a resolve to do even better the next time. What more can we ask from the future of our nation than that they strive for excellence and learn from mistakes?”

Janet Melton, Lampasas High School
Janet Melton of Lampasas High School has coached all speech and debate contests and served as UIL campus academic coordinator for 27 years.

She also directed the One-Act Play for 14 years and served as assistant director for nine, as well as coaching Current Issues & Events for 10 years and Number Sense for four. She’s brought students to State virtually every year, even though she coaches at one of the smallest and poorest 4A schools in the state.

“My philosophy can best be stated, ‘It’s not the destination but the journey.’ When you look at the number of students we touch each year, not many find themselves at the State Meet,” she said.

“If it were the destination that was important, are those who make it to the State Meet the only successful students? No. I believe the student who goes through the season without a trophy but who keeps trying is successful.”

Grace Friesenhahn-Soliz, Karnes City High School
Grace Friesenhahn-Soliz of Karnes City High School has coached CX debate for 22 years and LD and Informative Speaking for 17. She also coached Ready Writing, Literary Criticism and Current Issues & Events and served as campus academic coordinator for 16 years. She coached 25 CX debate teams to the State Meet, three of which won gold medals and four bronze or silver. She also coached numerous State qualifiers in Informative and Persuasive Speaking, including two state champions.

“Numerous coaches and directors in our region seek her advice and expertise. Her willingness to help others and her genuine desire to see students in our region succeed at the State level is reflected in the increasing numbers of students competing and the higher caliber of their performance.” — Harold Steele, Karnes City HS

Peggy Charlton, Palacios HIgh School
Peggy Charlton of Palacios High School has coached UIL Journalism for 20 years and Prose/Poetry and Informative/Persuasive for 16 years. She’s also coached Ready Writing, Current Issues & Events and Literary Criticism, as well as directed the One-Act Play for 11 years. She served as UIL academic coordinator for two years. She’s coached 15 state qualifiers, and at the district 2004 meet, her journalism students scored 106 points alone. She also advises the high school yearbook.

“My most rewarding experience in teaching is seeing a student with low self-esteem and poor self-confidence blossom by competing in this remarkable program,” she said.

“I have consistently gone into a school and upgraded the UIL program. In smaller schools, I sometimes coached as many as nine UIL events, in addition to directing the One-Act Play. I did this because I believe strongly in the program, care about kids and have observed what UIL can do to enhance a child’s education and self-worth.”

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