Tompkins Students Excel at District UIL Meet


Celine Low

Throughout the school year, a number of students have been competing in regional and online scholastic events as part of the UIL Academics team. Coordinated by a number of teachers and coaches, UIL Academics gives students the chance to excel in subjects or topics that they have great interest in, and compete with different schools in both the region and nation.
“As a theatre teacher at Waller High School, I directed the UIL one act play and coached the UIL prose and UIL poetry teams. Here at Tompkins, I coach the spelling team,” English II teacher Amy Wernig said. “Being successful in the spelling and vocabulary contest is all about grit. The harder you study, the better you will do. As a coach, my job is to encourage and nurture my students’ inherent love for learning.”
Each UIL coach, including Wernig, has worked especially hard to prepare his or her students for the District UIL meet at Cinco Ranch. The meet spanned over an entire week, starting March 20 to March 25. English III and AP Language & Composition teacher Ryan Culver knows how important UIL is for his Literary Criticism students.
“UIL Academics is a unique way for a student to compete for their school. For the Literary Criticism event, it is heavy in reading preparation. I try to give access to tools and materials for the reading list, and schedule and diagnose practice tests,” Culver said. “I also try to be available if and when they have questions, but the most important aspect of success for this particular event is for the student to find the time to study the contest material.”
UIL Academics allows students to have a better grasp on topics that they already enjoy. Competing for one’s high school in UIL can lead to not only the feeling of success in qualifying for a regional or national competition, but can also help students to succeed more in class and better tackle difficult assignments.
“UIL contestants, depending on the nature of the event, are largely preparing for an individual competition, so as a coach, my role is to provide advise, encourage, and provide as many helpful resources as I can,” Culver said. “Like in sports, the academic coach can provide a facility to practice, and materials and advice to practice with –– but in the moment of competition, it is up to the student to perform on their own.”
Students competing in UIL can expect to be encouraged by their coaches, and be advised on how to best improve their competition skills. However, students also must learn how to best study themselves and focus on their own personal improvement. Junior Ping Rui Toong has learned how he can best study for his UIL events.
“This year, I will be doing UIL persuasive speaking, current events, and possibly a journalism event,” Toong said. “Because I participate in events that require writing abilities and a vast knowledge of current events, I have been keeping up with the news and have been refreshing myself on the structure of the tests. Keeping up with the news has been one of the most important actions I have taken to prepare, because it helps in two of my events: persuasive speaking and current events.”
Each UIL Academics event is scored differently, but the top scorers are the students that qualify to larger competitions. For instance, if the students in the Mathematics event have the highest numbers of correct answers and lowest numbers of incorrect answers, those students will be able to represent Tompkins at Regionals. Competitors have been consistently working to improve their event skills throughout the entire year, which has all led up to the important District meet at Cinco Ranch High School. Students/teams are ranked individually for each event, and by placing first through third, will move on to Regionals. Points are also awarded to the school for those who place in events. These points, accumulated from each competition at District, are later totaled up to rank Tompkins within Katy ISD high schools.
“Our coaches have given us practice opportunities and have also printed off practice tests,” Toong said. “The hard work and preparation we have done in the past couple months will surely pay off in the upcoming district competition.”

Congratulations to the following top UIL placers:

Current Events — 1st place Husain Dhoon
Social Studies — 6th place Danielle Blinn
Ready Writing — 6th place Janki Patel
Headline Writing — 1st place Danielle Blinn, 4th place Ian Fisher
Editorial Writing — 3rd place Ian Fisher, 5th place Danielle Blinn
News Writing — 5th place Janki Patel
Feature Writing — 5th place Janki Patel, 6th place Danielle Blinn

LD Debate — 2nd place Aman Gulrajani
Informative speaking — 3rd place Byron Xue, 4th place Siddhant Puranik, 5th place Husain Dhoon
Persuasive speaking — 2nd place Ping Rui Toong, 6th place Aman Gulrajani
Poetry Interpretation — 3rd place Jayda Howard
Prose Interpretation — 2nd place Chumeng Wang, 3rd place Jenna Juma