Journalism students awarded for efforts in yearbook, UIL contest

Staying inside the box and following other people’s leads is a safe zone. However, trying something new and constructing new goals can help create new aspirations, take steps towards the future and turn students into champions. 

In preparation for UIL competition season, members of Wildkat Media competed in the CenTex Invitational last week. The competed in school and then the papers were sent to Austin to be judged by members of the Texas Association of Journalism Educators.

The Journalism UIL team accomplished big wins in all aspects of the competition, some being first time wins. This competition allowed others to learn, reflect, step outside of their comfort zones, and find their inner confidence for further competitions. 

“I did go a little outside of my comfort zone with this meet because I wasn’t going to compete in feature writing,” senior Heather Jackson said. “I’ve never thought of myself as a great feature writer, but placing definitely boosted my confidence.” 

First UIL wins are granting learning opportunities and moments to reflect on the hard work and drive put into competing. 

“I entered in feature writing and editorial writing,” sophomore Stone Chapman said. “This was my first UIL win, and I spent the whole semester preparing and practicing. Starting off small and getting better with time. The story prompts were kind of difficult, but I’m glad I went outside my comfort zone and I got the practice for next time.” 

Unexpected expectations leading to first achievements, reflections, and relief. 

“This was my first win in the UIL yearbook,” junior Preslee Wood said. “I felt surprised to be placed in UIL because I didn’t think my story was as good as it could have been. I was also expecting the quotes were something I had to come up with; however, they gave us the quotes, and a lot more than what we would need.” 

Reaching new stepping stones and pushing past challenges creates stronger, more confident writers who love competing in UIL. 

“I started competing in Journalism UIL my freshman year,” senior Katherine Lee said. “Placing in UIL is a definite confidence boost. Sometimes I reach writer’s block and want to stop writing, but competing in these competitions reminds me of how much I love it.”

There was more than one reason for some of these journalists to celebrate. TAJE also announced the winner of the Best in Texas yearbook awards. These awards were for stories, pages and pictures published in the 2021 yearbook.

“Winning the awards from TAJE Best in Texas gave me some confidence and points towards All State Journalism staff,” senior Summer Rains said. “I only competed in a few of the UIL contests this time, but I am ready for UIL season. I want to earn those points to be on All-State staff one more time before I leave Willis High School.”