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2005 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award Winners

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

Date: Jan 20, 2006
Category: General Information


AUSTIN, TX- The University Interscholastic League is proud to recognize 15 of the top UIL sponsors in Texas as the 2005 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 15th 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 2005 are as follows:

Linda Coates, Medina High School
Linda Coates has sponsored UIL cross examination debate, prose interpretation, poetry interpretation, informative and persuasive speaking, ready writing, and dictionary skills for 15 years. Her students have won numerous junior high district championships, one high school district academic championship and she has had several medalists and competitors at the Academic State Meet. She continues to serve as the Medina Junior High UIL Academic Coordinator and coach for UIL speaking events at the junior high and high school levels.

“Schools are arenas of constant competition, providing opportunities such as UIL for students to experience the competitive nature of the adult world in a relatively controlled environment,” she said. “Ultimate competition takes place within, setting the bar higher after each competition. This step in growth ensures the success of students entering today's world.”

Greg Dick, Friendswood High School
Greg Dick has been involved in UIL music competition for 26 years, 21 of those at the junior high level. Under his direction in the last five years, the band participation numbers have increased by 50 percent, with 100 percent of those students participating in UIL solo and ensemble competition. He has had 42 students qualify for the All-State Band and has received five consecutive UIL Sweepstakes Awards in marching, concert and sight-reading. His marching band won the silver medal at the State Marching band contest in 2003, and was named 2005 TMEA Honor Band.

“My role as a teacher is to encourage my students to reach their full potential,” he said. “I push my students to strive for excellence, always exhorting them to do a little more and to reach a little higher. Competition, I believe, is an integral part of the educational process and because of it, my students excel far higher than they ever thought they could.”

Susan Duncan, Longview Pine Tree High School
Susan Duncan has sponsored UIL journalism events for 18 years, all of which she has been a yearbook advisor. Additionally, she has served as Academic Coordinator and Spring Meet Director for four years. Under her direction, Pine Tree High School has won the academic team district, regional and state championships. Her yearbooks have received the Award for Distinguished Merit for 17 years and have been recognized with Star Awards the last two years.

“I am convinced those who compete in UIL activities are motivated to reach beyond the commonplace and will be the leaders of tomorrow,” said Duncan. “Developing their skills and helping them reach their potential makes me a better educator and my community a better place to live.”

Gail Herman, Sulphur Springs High School
The 2005-06 school year marks Gail Herman's 25th year as a UIL spelling and vocabulary sponsor, and her first as ready writing sponsor. Her students have advanced to the UIL Academic State Meet 20 of the last 24 years, earning three team state championships, four individual state championships and numerous second through sixth place awards.

“The lessons students learn from competition are the lessons of life,” said Herman. “Students learn to prepare themselves, to challenge themselves, to believe in themselves. Students who can do these things are more likely to lead happy, productive lives.” 

Russell Holcombe, Cypress Springs High School
Russell Holcombe has been marching and symphonic band director at Cypress Springs High School for nine years, and previously served as assistant director for four years at Cypress Falls High School. He established the band and drumline programs at Cypress Springs High School and increased participation from 42 students to the current 214 students. He has received numerous first division ratings in concert, sight-reading and marching band performances and has had 10 students qualify to the All-State Band.

“My philosophy mirrors that of my school's mission,” said Holcombe. “All students need to be acknowledged for the gains they make and encouraged to try to exceed their current performance level.”

Denise Johnson, Tarkington High School
Denise Johnson has coached UIL sports for 25 years at Tarkington High School. She has coached tennis for 20 years, volleyball for 19 years and basketball for 10. Under her direction, the volleyball program was created and has advanced to the playoffs eight times, once to the state tournament. She has also coached players to the regional tennis tournament 17 of her 20 years. She also serves as head tennis coach, yearbook advisor, marketing director, Student Council sponsor, and FCA sponsor. 

“I believe an important part of coaching is teaching kids to believe in themselves and take pride in everything they accomplish,” said Johnson. “My philosophy includes teaching kids to believe in themselves as winners, whether winning or losing, but when giving their all in competition.”

William Kelly, Caney Creek High School
William Kelly has been a sponsor of UIL speaking events for 10 years and One Act Play assistant director for six years. He has served as UIL Academic Coordinator for the last 10 years and single-handedly created the UIL Academic Team at Caney Creek High School. Under his direction, his students have won the cross examination debate state championship the last two years, and have won numerous district and regional championships in Lincoln-Douglas debate, informative speaking, poetry interpretation, prose interpretation and persuasive speaking.

“I believe that competition is a key component in creating relevance in the curriculum,” said Kelly. “Through competition, students are able to apply what they have learned in an atmosphere that encourages confidence and competence.”

Hector Limon, Lubbock Estacado High School
Hector Limon has coached UIL baseball for 25 years, the last five of which have been at Estacado High School. His teams have been district champions for the last two years and have made the regional semifinals the last three years. He has been named District 4-4A Coach of the Year four times and is a member of the Lubbock Christian University Hall of Honor.

“My philosophy here at Estacado High School is to prepare all students to ready themselves for a competitive society before they leave my door,” said Limon. “Playing baseball at Estacado High School and entering society upon graduation go hand-in-hand as our athletes are taught to respect rules along with competing and striving for excellence.”

Steven Nelms, McKinney North High School
Steven Nelms has been a UIL choir sponsor for 22 years and a Texas State Solo & Ensemble sponsor for 18 years. He is the Chair of the Fine Arts Department of McKinney North High School and is the head choir director. He has received first division awards for the last five years in concert and sight-reading, and his students have received Outstanding Performer Awards for two consecutive years.

“Competition, whether against a pre-determined standard of excellence or a face-to-face evaluation, is a critical component in the process of achieving one's highest potential,” he said.  “In the end, the final result of specific competitions is much less important than the legacy forged by the spirit through which the challenge was forged.”

Marilyn Rollins, Grandview High School
Rollins has been a sponsor of UIL accounting for 17 years, 13 of those as UIL Coordinator. She has also been a sponsor of UIL mathematics events and debate throughout the years. Under her direction, her students have won district championships and have qualified for regional competition every year. Her students have reached the UIL Academic State Meet in both accounting and mathematics and have had the first perfect paper in the State Accounting Contest.

“Keeping the competitive spirit alive in our schools should be a fundamental part in all areas of competition as well as in daily life,” said Rollins. “Competition not only teaches the individual but also helps instill the team concept at the same time.”

Wanda Sessions, Arlington High School
Sessions has sponsored UIL One Act Play and speech and debate events for several years. Her students have qualified to compete at regional meets, and won the 2005 5A One Act Play State Championship. Her students have also received numerous All-Star Cast and Best Actor/Actress awards.

“I believe that, when challenged, a student will step up and try harder,” she said. “When they do, they discover their own self worth-the fiber of which they are made."

Sally Squibb, Lewisville High School
Squibb has sponsored UIL speaking events for 27 years and has been UIL Academic Coordinator for 31 years. Additionally, she has sponsored UIL ready writing since its inception as a UIL event and has been a District Meet Manager for 7 years. Her students have competed at the UIL Academic State Meet 17 years, 11 of those in persuasive speaking. She has coached five state champions and has several state qualifiers in speaking events.

“Ribbons will fade, scholarships run out, trophies and plaques tarnish, but to know you survived the odds and became stronger in the process prepares you for the future when the risks are much greater,” said Squibb. “You'll never know if you can win until you know you've tried your best, and then it doesn't matter if you've won or not because you will have improved, and that is winning for yourself.”

Dr. Max Thompson, Redwater High School
Dr. Thompson has sponsored UIL debate and speaking competitions for 17 years and prose and poetry interpretation for three years. His students have been district champions four years and have qualified for the state meet 35 times.

“As I walk through halls, visit classrooms, stroll through the cafeterias, I see potential,” he said. “I see students from all backgrounds and demographics and educational strengths who are just waiting for an opportunity to succeed. UIL competition can drive them there, and I am blessed to be able to go along for the ride, one child at a time.”

Rob Toups, Canton High School
Toups has sponsored UIL marching band, concert band and solo & ensemble for the past 15 years. Under his direction, his bands have won a bronze, silver and two gold medals at the last four UIL State Marching Band contests. Additionally, his bands have won Sweepstakes Awards in marching and concert competition consecutively for the last 12 years.

“The music education experience is unique in that it demands all that a student can give,” said Toups. “I strive to get successful results through UIL participation and competition which strengthens my students' determination to succeed and persevere to see his or her goals through.”

Donna Wallace, Van High School
Donna Wallace has sponsored UIL ready writing and literary criticism for 17 years and for the last 10 years has sponsored spelling and vocabulary. Additionally, she has been UIL Academic Coordinator for the last five years and has coached social studies, computer science and accounting for the last two. Her students have competed at the state level in literary criticism and spelling and vocabulary.

“All students deserve the right to go beyond their classrooms,” said Wallace. “UIL provides this opportunity by allowing them to meet other goal-oriented students like them, that have the desire to excel and learn.”  

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