Avery Caddell’s path to the UIL state academic meet is strewn with candy wrappers.
The Paradise freshman will compete in the state headline writing contest next week, and UIL Academic Coordinator Megayla O’Rear said chocolate is behind his witty word choices.
O’Rear said she brings bags of Hershey’s miniatures to every contest, and Caddell consumes inordinate amounts.
“I find all these little wrappers,” she said with a smile. “But I think it gets him going.”
Caddell admitted to indulging on contest day.
“I get kind of hyper,” he said.
Caddell said he’s never done anything like headline writing before, but writing is one of his strengths. He placed second in district competition and second at regionals to advance to state.
He also placed third in news writing at district but says he likes headline writing because “he gets to be stupid.”
“He’s really very clever,” O’Rear said.
And that’s the key to the competition.
Contestants are given six stories to read and the size headline to write for each one. Caddell said one of his tricks is to look for the pun within the story and try to use that.
“I just kind of wing it,” he said nonchalantly. “This is my first year.”
Caddell also competes in math and science UIL events, plays football and basketball, runs track and is in band.
Traveling with Caddell next week are seniors Jennifer Welch and Cimmi Alvarez. They were selected for the State Speech Honor Crew and will serve as volunteers during the speech and debate contests next week.
According to the UIL website, the Honor Crew was designed to recognize outstanding speech students who aren’t already involved in the state meet.
Welch and Alvarez advanced to state earlier in the year in cross examination debate. Their subject was: “The U.S. federal government should substantially increase economic ties with either Cuba, Venezuela or Mexico.”
The girls had to pick a country and then prepare to debate and defend their choices.
“You debate it … and listen to everyone tell you what’s wrong with your plan,” Welch said. “And how it’s going to end in nuclear war.”
“Everything ends in nuclear war in cross examination,” Alvarez said, laughing.
Welch had competed in this event last year, but this was the first year for Alvarez. The duo won district, advancing to state, and although they didn’t place at the big meet, they did their personal best.
O’Rear said they’re looking forward to the trip to Austin, and she plans to take them to a favorite restaurant or two and on a tour of the Capitol.
The chocolate is packed – along with a bag for the wrappers.