Journalists Win at State UIL Meet

On Friday, April, 21, three journalism students competed at the State UIL meet in held at the University of Texas in Austin. Senior Elizabeth Wilson placed fourth in feature writing and junior Elyssa Smith placed second in editorial writing.

            “I am super excited to have had the opportunity to compete at state three years in a row and place all three years, winning fourth this year,” Wilson said. “Journalism competition was something I looked forward to every year and I am going to miss it so much next year. That being said, I couldn’t have picked a better way to end my UIL competition days, nor could I have picked a better team to end with.”Journalism

            This was Smith’s first time competing at state, but she had the honor of being an alternate last year.

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            “I was very surprised to have placed second in editorial writing,” Smith said. “This isn’t my strongest event. I placed 3rd at district and 3rd at region, so I didn’t have very high expectations. I was blown away when they called my name at the awards ceremony.”

            The team won second overall with Wilson bringing in eight points and Smith bringing in twelve points.

            “It helps when I know that there are other people from my school competing alongside me,” another editorial writing state competitor and freshman Haley Burrow said. “It makes me feel more comfortable and not as tense at such a high-level competition.”

            The team also got to enjoy some of the many amenities Austin has to offer.

            “It was really fun to experience the city and the quirky features it has,” alternate for News Writing and freshman Ryan Williamson said. “Between the bats and the State Capitol, it was a very memorable experience.”

            Other Regional competitors from ECHS enjoying the overnight trip to Austin and The University of Texas included junior Kaitlyn Marquardt and freshman Jose Brito.

            Journalism coach Holly Willis and teacher Ashley Barnes directed the trip.

            “We spent a little over 24-hours in Austin and experienced so much more than the actual State event,” Willis said of the team’s down time enjoying “SoCo” (South Congress Avenue), Zilker Park and eating at food trucks, walking around UT and shopping on “The Drag” (Guadalupe Street by the university).

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            “To win at State shows how incredible these writers are,” Willis added. “The entire team is highly competitive and extremely talented … they’ve set their sights on a return trip next year which just excites me as their coach.”

The ECHS Journalism Team won both Regional and District Champions as well as bringing home the plaques for top team at the three invitational meets at which it competed.

To win each of these championships, various members of the team competing in four different writing categories placed in the top six individually in one or more events to earn overall points for the team.

“So impressive!” Willis said. “These bright students exhibit all that’s right about students at ECHS – they’re kind, enjoy life and want to do well for themselves, their families, their school, and our community.”

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