Posted on 25. May, 2012 by Richard Greene
A University Interscholastic League state champion in Wise County was crowned last week.
It was not on the baseball or softball diamond, or on the track.
This champion came from the classroom.
Slidell’s Caira Heinze captured the Class A poetry interpretation title at the UIL Academic Meet held at the University of Texas in Austin. She also garnered a bronze medal in persuasive speaking.
From the outside, the state academic meet may not appear as glamorous as the athletic state tournaments and championships the agency features annually.
There are no screaming crowds looking on during a poetry reading, debate or journalism contest.
But the contestants that battle their way to Austin have worked every bit as hard or harder.
The lessons and the skills they have learned will pay dividends long into the future.
Heinze herself is using the public-speaking and study skills she honed in persuasive extemporaneous speaking to pursue a degree in government with an emphasis on politics in college.
She is one of many students that I’ve seen over the past two decades from North Texas schools that have found careers while competing in UIL events.
Here at the Messenger, two of our staff members started their award-winning careers in UIL journalism.
Even if the events don’t lead directly to a career, they teach skills that will help in college and beyond.
School pouring resources into UIL academics and actively working to recruit kids from the hallway to compete in events should be commended.
It’s a lot of hard work, but one worthwhile.
The way a late friend Rick Rike, who was the UIL director at Aubrey for many years, described his work was an opportunity to relate to children and help them find their niche. He often said if he’s able to do it for one kid, it’s worth it.
Congratulations to Heinze and the many other Wise County UIL academic participants this year. Your efforts are appreciated.