Three consecutive academic UIL wins

Five teams take first place, multiple regional qualifiers


Students who competed at the District UIL Meet.

Josephine Taitano, Staff Writer

Students who competed at the District UIL Meet.

The District UIL meet was held in Crystal City March 29-30. The Devine competitors walked away with the championship and earned five first place team awards, placing 35 students and sending 21 students to the next level of competition.

“Winning the Academic District Meet is a great source of pride for this community and school,” Principal Derrick Byrd said.

The Speech team won the first place title against tough competition across all events, adding to previous results from the District CX Debate meet this past January and the One Act Play competition in March.

“Our greatest competition was definitely Carrizo Springs,” senior Amada Guardiola said. “They have a lot of really great kids in their speaking events.”

The Journalism team also earned the first place team award, a feat that requires talent in five different events: News Writing, Feature Writing, Editorial Writing, Headline Writing and Copy Editing.

“I’m extremely proud of the effort that the girls put into this competition,” Journalism adviser Debi Petty said. “Everyone on the team medalled, contributing to our first place finish.”

The team practiced throughout the year with several in-house and invitational meets. Everybody on the team takes at least one Journalism class, which helps with their writing skills.

“News is my favorite event, so having a Newspaper class helped with my writing,” sophomore Madison Mata said. “Having the other girls on the team with me at the meet helped a lot.”

In the Science competition, three students placed in the top six, securing the title of first place team.

“I’ve never worked with a group of kids who are so dedicated,” Science team coach Mary Long said.

This year’s Science team practiced more often compared to last year. In order to better prepare for the UIL test, they regularly practiced during lunch.

“We held a lot more extensive practices because we had tough competition in the district,” senior Derek Weinstrom said. “We studied two times a week to cover different science topics.”

At the beginning of the year, the number of students that attended the practices exceeded the limit allowed to compete at district, sparking competitiveness among the group.

“They encouraged one another even while they were competing against each other for a place on the team,” Mrs. Long said.

Both the Social Studies and Current Events teams also earned first place team. Most of the students on each team have never competed in the event until this year.

“I wanted to try something new, and history has always interested me, so I said ‘why not?’,” junior Christian Hernandez said. “I studied hard for the test and was expecting to be nothing less than the top three.”

Mrs. Rosanne Lopez, the coach for both teams, held practices after school to improve everybody’s score.

“Every Wednesday, we would go into Mrs. Lopez’s room and look at the news online,” junior Anthony Limon said. “We also brought any stories that we had heard throughout the week.”

The first through third place students in each event will advance to the Regional contest, to be held at Texas A&M Corpus Christi on April 12-13.

“I am excited,” Hernandez said. “Regionals is an entirely new level of competition compared to District, and I love that challenge.”

The school has ordered the 2019 numbers for the academic sign in front of the campus to display the teams’ success for this year. This is the third consecutive year the UIL Academic Team has earned the district title.

“Devine High School takes this very seriously,” Mr. Byrd said. “It is expected that the students are successful in all that they do.”