Writing another success story: Paradise to send three to state

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, April 20, 2019
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Headed to Austin

HEADED TO AUSTIN – Paradise’s Tanner Forsyth, Cade Pearson and Hailey Holt qualified for the UIL state academics meet. Clayton Smith is an alternate for state in poetry. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

Over the past several years, Paradise High School has built a legacy of sending writers to the UIL state academics meet.

Three Paradise writers are continuing that string of success.

Hailey Holt, Cade Pearson and Tanner Forsyth qualified for the state meet last weekend at the Class 3A Region I meet in Abilene. Holt won editorial writing. Forsyth finished second in copy editing. Pearson took third in ready writing.

“We know our teachers work hard to prepare us,” Holt said. “The pressure [of success] makes you want to try your best.”

Holt is returning to state. Last year, she finished fifth in 3A in news writing, her favorite event.

This year, her editorial voicing displeasure on a proposal to allow student athletes to stay eligible while not passing advanced placement classes booked her a trip to Austin.

“I don’t think it’s acceptable to set standards that low,” Holt said.

“I’m thankful all the hard work paid off. It’s not always an easy event.”

Pearson was a bit surprised to advance to state. He expressed before the competition that regionals would be his final stab at copy editing. Then he found out he was headed to Austin.

Pearson, a freshman, said he didn’t feel confident when he turned in his essay based on a Winston Churchill quote.

“I felt relieved when I found out I advanced,” Pearson said.

“All the teachers work hard. Mrs. [Karen] Bohmfalk does a lot for all the writers.”

Paradise sophomore Clayton Smith is an alternate for state after finishing fourth in poetry interpretation.

“He was powerful. He took my breath away,” Bohmfalk said about Smith’s performance.

Smith said he was competing last year when he stopped due to health concerns of a family member.

“I picked up with the poems from last year and did well,” Smith said.

The three writers will head to Austin May 3. The state speech tournament, in which Smith is an alternate, is May 28.

In all, Paradise had 22 students compete at regionals. Paradise UIL academics director Megayla O’Rear said it was the first time the school needed a bus to take all the competitors to regionals.

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