Vandegrift sweeps Academic UIL Region

Vandegrift won the Academic UIL Regional Meet on April 23, with three teams and two individuals placing first in their events.

“I was very surprised that I personally achieved first because there are very, very good test takers who are very well prepared for this, not only from our school but from other schools. As a team I knew it was going to be close but I was very confident in our team’s abilities, especially given how much time we put into practice, that we had a very good chance,” first place computer science and third place science winner Brendan Hollaway said. “It wasn’t a super big surprise, but I’m very happy it happened.”

Vandegrift’s accounting, computer science, and social studies teams all placed first at regionals, and the journalism team tied for first place, allowing them all be able to advance to state.

“The region test was pretty hard, especially because the multiple choice were incredibly specific questions and there were some that I just didn’t know the answer to,” second place social studies winner Trevor Egerton said. “But as a team we pushed through pretty well.”

The journalism team’s first place win was achieved single handedly by Alaina Galasso, who won first place in feature writing and second place in editorial and will be the only person advancing for the journalism team.

“I am so honored to be able to advance to state my senior year,” Galasso said. “I’m excited to end my fourth and final year of competing on a strong note.”

All of the teams prepared for their events throughout the school year in order to be ready for the UIL meets in the spring.

“I did feel pretty prepared because we’re very dedicated to computer science UIL here at Vandegrift in the fact that we meet twice a week in the morning and once a week after school, which is much more than other schools do,” Hollaway said. “We really enjoy computer science and we really want to succeed in it so we practice a lot.”

Each student has their own reason for participating in academic UIL. For Hollaway, it’s being able to meet peers with his same passions.

“One of the cool things about computer science UIL is meeting people who have already done incredible things in computer science,” Hollaway said. “Like for example, one of the kids from LASA (Liberal Arts and Science Academy) has already published a research paper about computer science. Unfortunately he couldn’t make it this year, but getting to meet him in the past, that was exciting for sure.”

For top chemistry scorer Riya Saxena, it’s preparing her for similar courses that she’s enrolled in currently.

“I think UIL science has helped in all of the sciences that I’m involved in in school right now, especially chemistry,” Saxena said. “It has helped me immensely.”

Each team that placed first will be allowed to take all of their team members to the state competition from May 23-25 at UT.