9 students advance to state UIL competition

Priyunka Maheshwari, Feature Editor

At the Regional UIL meet this past weekend at UTSA, Vandegrift placed fourth overall. Nine students are advancing to state, and the Current Issues and Literary Criticism teams both placed first.

“I was so excited to make it to state because I didn’t really expect it,” freshman Alaina Galasso, who placed first in editorial writing, said.

Students prepared for the regional meet by getting together with their advisors and using previous prompts to test themselves. The Current Issues team focused on reading the news each week and the team was tested over material from Nov. 1 to March 15.

“The tests this year have been completely different from what I was expecting,” senior Scott Pollock said. “I’ve read news articles beforehand though, so I figured it’d be pretty easy to do current events.” Pollock placed fourth in the Current Issues team.

Students will compete at state from May 20 to 22 at the University of Texas. The Current Issues team, who placed second at state last year, hope to win first this year. In preparation, students are meeting to review score sheets and comments from judges.

“I’m really excited to hopefully achieve our goal,” Current Issues team coach Ms. Lopez said. “The test was harder this year so we’re just trying to stay up to date.”

Each competition tests a variety of skill sets. Students in science UIL must have a comprehensive knowledge of the basics of science and the techniques used to conduct laboratory experiments. The Literary Criticism test is different from the school tests given in English class. By comparing history and literature and the correlations between the two in an essay and multiple choice test, students have broadened their horizons in how they view written work.

“The test was extremely challenging, but different than other tests,” senior Hannah von Oldenburg said. “I had about 60 multiple choice questions over poetry, plays, novels and literary history. I ended with a required tie-breaking essay over a poem.”

Participating students will be given similar tests to those in the regional competition but with different prompts. By attending team meets and obtaining additional advisor feedback, students will prepare over the next three weeks in the hopes of placing at state.

“It was quite nice to advance to state for the second year in a row,” senior Salman Siddiqi, who placed 17th in the Current Issues event, said. “I’m very excited for the upcoming competition.”