Journalism UIL places first at district, eight students advance to regionals


photo or infographic by Emily Meachen

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS. The journalism team placed first in district. Seniors Summer Rains, Stephanie Keele, Heather Jackson, Katherine Lee, sophomore Stone Chapman and junior Jason Clark took the Journalism Champs title March 23 at The Woodlands High School.

There’s a lot of things necessary for success in UIL: a laptop, practice sheets, dictionaries, magic lucky charms and yummy snacks. Last Saturday the UIL team competed against some of the strongest players in the district. Their practice paid off when they combined hard work and talent with their lucky charms. The journalism team were named district champs. 

Those that placed first, second and third individually, will compete in regionals on april 23 at Baylor in Waco. Preparations have already begun.

1, 2, 3 SWEEP. Seniors Summer Rains, Stephanie Keele and Katherine Lee took 1st, 2nd and 3rd in feature writing at the district meet. All three will represent Willis High School at the regional meet in Waco on April 23. (photo or infographic by Heather Jackson)

“I placed third in news writing and I’m advancing into regionals. I have a lot of preparation to do before regionals,” senior Heather Jackson said. “Usually before an event I look at my past winning essays to prepare myself. My ultimate goal is to go to state and win like last year.”

The seniors in UIL have been competing for a while. After taking home first place at state last year, they have shown Willis what they can do.

“These groups of seniors have really made their mark on Willis High School and the journalism department. They make winning championships look easy, but it’s not,” journalism teacher and UIL coordinator Emily Meachen said. “They have worked hard all year to get to this point. I am super proud of every kid who competed in the UIL.”

Wednesday, the speech events were also held in the Woodlands. Willis also took home ribbons and medals for informative speaking. The students who competed will soon reap the rewards.

“My goal when I started UIL was to place so I could get my lettermen,” sophomore Jackie Diaz said. “I did not even know the high school had UIL last year. Being remote the first semester, I guess I missed out. I am so glad I joined this year.”

According to freshman Danica Sundquist, placing third in informative speaking was unexpected because she only started recently.

“I thought I was a decent speaker because I did speak in middle school, but I never thought I would make it to regionals my freshman year,” Sundquist said. “High school speaking is a whole new thing. The topics relate more to the world and politics, I feel more connected to the world.”

REGIONALS BOUND. Reacting to the good news, juniors Michael Schlowinski and Logan Hoover applaud for the 4th place winner in informative speaking. After not placing in the bottom three, Schlowinski realizes he is regional bound. (photo or infographic by Emily Meachen)

Before district, there were three invitational meets. These were meant for practice, but they also gave team members some confidence.

“I’ve competed in every single UIL meet and event since the beginning of the year to help me prepare to do great at district,” senior Stephanie Keele said. “I didn’t expect to win so much because it’s my first year in UIL. Everyone else has done this a lot longer than I have. Winning invitationals gave me the confidence to place at districts.”

Everyone had different goals going into district, whether it be hanging out with team members, getting a lettermen or even just food.

“I wanted a place so I could advance to regionals,” junior Jason Clark said. “I don’t have enough points to get All State Journalism Staff yet, but I’m glad I finally got my hands on a letterman. The best part, hands down, the snacks. Especially the Skittles.”