Schools step up to challenge; Slidell blazes trail with title

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, May 30, 2015

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Two months back a certain columnist used this space to opine about the need for school districts to dedicate resources to UIL academics.

Well, that call has been more than met.

Shortly before 1 a.m. Friday my phone buzzed with news that Slidell had captured the Class A title in UIL academics.

Richard Greene

Richard Greene

The historic championship for Slidell capped what had already been an amazing year for local schools in the academic contests. Decatur, Northwest, Paradise and Slidell all won district sweepstakes.

Decatur went on to win the region title in journalism, and this week finished the year with a silver medal in feature writing by Mickey Drewry.

It was Greyhound nation that truly carried the banner for the county, taking more than a dozen students to Austin to compete along with its one-act play cast.

After midnight, Slidell, who had already won a team championship in computer science and a pair of gold medals from Shelby Vanover and Sarah Beaver, fit perfectly into the glass slipper and raised the state trophy.

Like their state champion counterparts in Wise County – the Decatur girls volleyball and Bridgeport boys basketball teams – it wasn’t by accident. It took practice and, as Slidell ISD Superintendent Greg Enis points out, a true commitment from the district.

“This has been a seven- to eight-year journey that we’ve been on,” Enis said. “There’s a lot of competitions we compete in. But we’re in the business of educating kids. The academic competition is something that makes the academics in the whole school better.

“Our board committed stipends and resources to it, and it’s made a difference.”

Hopefully, this is just the start, and other schools will join Slidell in this commitment to excellence on a playing field where the rewards are unparalleled.

That certain columnist, who didn’t get that state medal many moons ago, hopes next year to be singing the praises of even more schools.

Richard Greene is the sports editor of the Messenger and competed in several UIL events during high school.

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