Posted on 28 March 2015.
Following her trip to the University Interscholastic League Academic state meet last spring, Rachael Ussery painted a picture of herself with Mickey Drewry and journalism sponsor Cindy Berry.
The painting was named the “Dream Team.”
EAGLE WORDSMITHS – Decatur High School writers (from left) Mickey Drewry, Rachael Ussery and Nancy Torres prepare for regional competition after sweeping the top three spots in feature and news writing at the 8-4A District UIL academic meet. Ussery is holding her painting, “The Dream Team,” which she created last year after her trip to the state academic meet in Austin. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty
But after Tuesday, the figures in that tremendous trio have changed.
“Now, Nancy [Torres] has replaced me,” Berry pointed out.
Ussery, Torres and Drewry swept the top three spots in feature and news writing at the 8-4A District UIL academic meet, leading Decatur to the journalism crown.
“It was cool. We didn’t expect it,” Torres explained.
Drewry added: “We walked out proud of the medals.”
But they also felt the envious stares of competitors after watching the trio walk up twice and carry away medals.
“You could feel the haters,” Ussery said. “It’s deja vu with us going one, two, three.”
Of the dream team, Ussery and Drewry are the seasoned veterans as juniors. Both advanced to regionals last year with Drewry in news writing and Ussery in feature. Though only a first-year journalism student, Ussery advanced to the state meet.
“It was really unexpected considering that I had not finished my Journalism 1 class,” she recalled.
“I barely made it to state. I got third every time.”
This year, she took first in feature and news writing at district. She also took second in headline writing.
Drewry, who is on her second year on yearbook staff, claims she’s not a writer. Her accomplishments prove otherwise – winning bronze medals in news, feature and headline writing.
“I’m on the yearbook staff as a designer. I don’t write anything,” Drewry said. “I like the UIL contests. It’s more formula writing. Mrs. Berry told me I’d be good at it, and it’s my third year to do it.”
Of the three events, Drewry quickly points out that headline writing is her favorite.
“I love headline writing,” she said. “You can be more creative.”
Though she’s the senior, Torres is the rookie on the Dream Team.
“It’s my first year doing UIL academics,” said Torres, who serves as the editor of The Decatur Journal. “I wish I did it before.”
Torres finished second in news and feature writing and fourth in editorial.
“Feature is my favorite because you can take a subject and make it your own point of view,” Torres said.
Berry points out all three have varied backgrounds and experience.
“They really are an eclectic group,” she said. “Two are on the newspaper staff and another on yearbook. They all don’t write the same. But they know what it takes to be successful.”
All three point to Berry as a pivotal part of their success.
“She’s helped so much,” Torres said.
Drewry adds that Berry’s past success with writers also gives them a little motivation.
“We have a big reputation to live up to,” she said. “There’s a standard we have to be at.”
In the contests, the three are competing against each other. But they refuse to look at it that way.
“It’s us against everyone else in the room,” Ussery said.
“It’s definitely a team effort,” Drewry adds.
Now, the dream team moves on to regionals.
1. Decatur 551.83; 2. Springtown 306.83; 3. Bridgeport 209; 4. Castleberry 125.33; 5. Lake Worth 92.
4. Christopher Perez, Bridgeport; 5. Bronson Burks, Bridgeport; 6. Kayla Morgan, Decatur
1. Springtown; 2. Bridgeport
4. Emily Baker, Decatur; 5. Gavin Buchanan, Decatur
Calculator Applications Team:
1. Springtown, 2. Decatur
1. Brett Edwards, Decatur; 2. Truman Young, Decatur; 3. Tyler Hamblin, Bridgeport; 4. Michaela Cross, Decatur; 5. Carlos Arevalo, Decatur; 6. Jacob Mogus, Bridgeport
Current Issues Team:
1. Brooklyn Blaylock, Decatur; 2. Payton McAlister, Decatur; 3. Allan Allsbrooks, Decatur; 4. Brandon Gatica, Castleberry
1. Noah Peterson, Bridgeport; 3. Joshua Martz, Bridgeport; 4. Dimitri Gilbert, Decatur; 5. Chris Casey, Bridgeport; 6. Zane Brown, Bridgeport; 6. Jennifer Shaffer, Decatur
Computer Science Team:
1. Bridgeport; 2. Decatur
3. Maddison Kyle, Decatur; 4. Nancy Torres, Decatur; 6. Vanity Johnson, Bridgeport
1. Rachael Ussery, Decatur; 2. Nancy Torres, Decatur; 3. Mickey Drewry, Decatur; 4. Vanity Johnson, Bridgeport
2. Rachael Ussery, Decatur; 3. Mickey Drewry, Decatur; 4. Lexie Chapman, Decatur
1. Trey Dale, Decatur; 3. Jesus Gam, Decatur; 4. Jake Warren, Decatur
1. Meghan Darst, Decatur; 2. Payton Carroll, Decatur; 5. Allison Garland, Decatur; 6. Kendall Martin, Decatur
Literary Criticism Team:
1. Noah Peterson, Bridgeport; 4. Maddi Waskom, Decatur; 5. Emily Baker, Decatur
1. Gavin Buchanan, Decatur; 3. Noah Peterson, Bridgeport; 4. Ancelmo Galindo; 6. Dimitri Gilbert; Decatur
Number Sense Team:
1. Rachael Ussery, Decatur; 2. Nancy Torres, Decatur; 3. Mickey Drewry, Decatur; 6. Wendy French, Bridgeport
1. Luke Thomas, Decatur; 2. Truman Young, Decatur
1. Dawson Smith, Bridgeport; 2. Yanet Ortiz, Bridgeport
1. Sarah Crouse, Decatur; 2. Tucker Garrett, Decatur; 3. Taylor Yates, Decatur
1. Kendall Hubbard, Decatur; 5. Madison Reed, Decatur; 6. Cody Teague, Bridgeport
1. Karl Davila, Decatur; 4. Gavin Buchanan, Decatur; 6. Brianna Jacobs, Decatur; 7. Patrick August, Decatur
1. Gavin Buchanan, Decatur
1. Regi Lane, Bridgeport; 2. Chloe Morris, Decatur; 6. Kayla Morgan, Decatur
Social Studies Team:
Spelling and Vocabulary:
1. Natalie Smith, Bridgeport; 2. Brianna Polk, Bridgeport; 4. Riley Keller, Decatur; 6. Lexi Chapman, Decatur
Spelling and Vocabulary Team: