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Students earn letter jackets through academic success

Norseman Staff
Seniors Ace Roueche and Samantha Lamb and junior Reily Dominy earned their letter jackets for their success in Academic UIL.

Though a high school letterman is most often associated with sports, drill teams, or bands, the opportunity to earn one is not limited to students within those organizations. Academic UIL letter jackets are also available for students who demonstrate a level of excellence in competitions.

“Over the years, we have had several student letters in academic UIL,” UIL academic coordinator and journalism coach Rebecca Dominy said. “It’s a little more difficult to letter in than in some other areas because it is based on head-to-head competition and earning at least 25 total points.”

Despite the rigorous process of achieving a letterman, reaching the 25-point threshold can be accomplished with discipline and consistency.

“The students who have earned their letter jackets have been able to win repeatedly and compete in several areas,” Dominy said. “Our students in the English and journalism contest have performed consistently well throughout the years and frequently move on to region or even state competition.”

Sophomore Reily Dominy said that she is proud to have earned her letterman in academic UIL and sees it as a reflection of a crucial part of her high school career.

“It is a representation of how hard I have worked in UIL academic events,” Reily said. “It is also a wonderful reminder about all the great memories I have made along the way with my journalism UIL teammates.”

Dominy has enjoyed coaching the journalism team for the last twenty years and said she has had some amazing students during that time, but it has been special to coach her own daughter over the last two years.

“I’ve been very impressed with Reily’s consistency in competition,” Dominy said. “I may be a little biased because I’m her mom, but I’m not a part of the judging pool, and her work speaks for itself. She has put in the effort and achieved a level of excellence already. I’m excited to see where it takes her over the next two years.”

Junior Samantha Lamb competes in the three English events: literary criticism, ready writing, and spelling as well as some of the journalism events. These events have proven to be a fulfilling experience for her and what she’s learned in the classroom.

“I enjoy literary criticism the most because I enjoy reading the different works and getting to explore them critically,” Samantha said. “I also like expanding my vocabulary with the words that I have learned in my English and Spanish literature classes.”

English event sponsor, Lisa Prejean said she is proud of the work Samantha has done throughout the years to compete at such a high level.

“Samantha is diligent in studying the texts and materials for literary criticism,” Prejean said. “Her ability to recall historical details and literary terms has helped her place in every meet we have attended this year.”

The spelling event is an individual and team event that allows all scores from the individuals to be combined to possibly advance as a team to the next level.

“Doing so well at UIL means that I have learned a lot in school, and I am able to apply what I have learned,” Samantha said. “It’s also important to me that I can help my team do well and advance together.”

Prejean has also been able to help junior Ace Roueche develop as a competitor and has seen them become more confident over the past two years.

“Ace has demonstrated some creative study techniques this year and has supported their teammates by sharing those materials with them,” Prejean said. “Ace has really stepped up this year and become a leader on the team.”

With Ace earning their jacket in just two years, their achievement demonstrates their effort and work ethic.

“Earning my jacket is a statement about how far I have been able to come as an individual and a team,” Ace said. “Since I didn’t come to Bryan High until my sophomore year, I feel like it says even more about how hard I’ve worked to achieve my goals.”

Ace has pursued events that they already had an interest in and felt that they could use their creative talents to be successful. 

“Headline is my favorite event in journalism because it allows me to be creative and focus on word play,” Ace said. “That is probably why I also like the spelling event so much.”

Dominy has enjoyed coaching Ace and said that she sees their vocabulary as an asset in many of the events they compete.

“Ace has been a great addition to the journalism team,” Dominy said. “Ace works hard and pushes themselves in every event they compete in. I have seen the quizlet Ace uses for spelling and the consistent practice.”

The events go beyond the competitions as students have found a place to feel at home during high school.

“Being able to work with the journalism staff outside of the classroom has helped us bond even more,” Ace said. “We take a lot of pride in what we produce for the newspaper, broadcast, and podcast, so when we can show up and perform at a high level during a competition, it just validates the idea that we are moving in the right direction.”

While the academic UIL season is over for this school year, the team will start early next year to work toward new goals and achievements.

“If anyone is interested in participating in academic UIL, they just need to stop by my room 6160 or come to the ice cream informational we have at the beginning of each year,” Dominy said. “There is a place for everyone with events ranging from speech and debate to science and math.”

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Christian Alvarado, Staff Writer
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