UIL gateway to creating an academic culture

Posted on 06. Feb, 2012 by

The state of Texas offers nice carrot to get kids passionate about academics. The UIL academic contests give students an amazing opportunity to apply what they learn in a competitive environment.

But so far it seems like these academic contests are lacking as a priority at Wise County schools. However, there are a few teachers who understand the importance of these academic contests and are helping create a higher level of academic culture at certain programs in their schools.

Lance Morse, drama teacher at Decatur High School, has embraced the One Act Play UIL contest. He regularly takes his students to state. He’s created an atmosphere of pride and excellence in a fine arts program at Decatur.

Decatur journalism teacher Cindy Berry has helped create a culture of outstanding journalism at the high school level. The high school paper is one of the best in the state, and her students regularly outperform their peers across the state at UIL contests.

And there are a few others scattered throughout the districts on the rolling plains.

But these are the efforts of individuals teachers. Instead of this emphasis sweeping across campuses across the county, most are more worried about UIL athletic competition. Why? Football reigns as the all important past time in Wise County. Why? Boyd had tremendous success under J.G. Cartwright and won a pair of state titles. Nobody else in the county has done anything. No other team has ever made the state championship game and they most likely never will.

Yet year after year a culture of sports is heralded over an area where we can and should achieve state championship success. Every year our schools are full of very intelligent and creative minds. However, there has yet to be a Tom Brady or Bo Jackson to come out of a Wise County school. And if there is, they’ll be great regardless if the school has a culture focused on academics over athletics.

Every district needs to have a strong focus on UIL academic contests. Those avenues gives students a purpose to take their studies


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