On March 23, the Sealy High School UIL academic team competed in the district meet for the right to advance to regionals. 12 students qualified to advance while 18 medaled overall. Sealy will be competing in calculator applications, social studies, number sense, accounting, editorial writing, headline writing, prose, poetry interpretation and ready writing in regionals.
Each category has a separate faculty member of Sealy ISD who volunteers their time to help coach the students. The subjects of those area can range from mathematics in calculator applications to writing like editorial writing to speaking like prose.
Despite the differences in competition, the students said they still connect with each other as a team through their interactions between the competitions.
“If you’re not sitting there with the people doing the same thing with you, it’s mostly just helping each other by just hanging out and not focusing on what could be stressing you out and just make it casually talking with friends,” senior Alissa Ashcraft said.
Sophomore Khondker Salim said his favorite part of going to meets like district is getting the recognition for their hard work but also the time spent with his teammates.
“Last year at regionals, I still remember all the restaurants and all of the places that we went to because it was just so much fun being able to hang out with them,” he said.
The team competes as individuals and teams within the categories with calculator applications winning first place as a team and all four members winning the top spots as individuals as well. Matthias Litzmann, who made the state meet last year, won first place, Alexia Henley won second, William Mock won third and Alejandro Guillen won fourth. It is the sixth year straight the calculator applications team placed first at the district meet.
Litzmann competed in the state meet as an individual and was the only member of Sealy to do so. He said while he valued that experience, the driving motivation for himself and the team is to make it all the way as a group.
“We’ve been going to regionals for a few years now so we really want to go further as a team,” he said. “We help out each other a lot and help each other figure out problems that we might be struggling with so to win as a team would be really special.”
Litzmann is among several seniors on the group including Ashcraft who was first in the prose competition. Prose is a competition in which the students have to perform a piece of literature without simply reading it off the paper.
“It’s really special to do this as a senior because it’s a chance to end my last year on a strong note with a win,” she said.
The team said they have increased practices with their coaches since advancing to regional to better prepare for the meet. The calculator applications team said they do at least one practice test a night and usually more, prose practices involve breaking down the pieces to better understand the best way to dramatically read it then memorizing the piece and editorial practice is breaking down pieces previously written by the students.
Erin Moore is the coordinator for the academic team and said the large amount of success the team is enjoying in so many different areas is a testament to the strength of Sealy ISD’s teaching abilities.
“We have great kids all around and our campus is well staffed with a lot of different specialists who do a great job of teaching them so we’re really just getting good stuff from the students and the teachers,” Moore said. “It’s exciting for these talented and smart kids to find their special place and find a group where they belong.”
She also said a large part of the team’s success largely stems from the faculty’s selflessness to sacrifice their time to help coach the students during breaks and after school. She said because of the hard work the students have put in, they don’t need to worry about dealing with the pressure heading into the regional meet.
“We don’t take the pressure off because they know what they want and what they have to do to get it and they’re dedicated to it so we don’t have to take the pressure off at all,” she said. “It’s a high-pressure world we live in now and this is a great way to prepare them for that.”
Sealy is sending Matthias Litzmann, Alexia Henley, Kenneth Cryan, William Mock, Alejandro Guillian, Khondker Salim, Maddie Goad, Garrett Chaney, Alissa Ashcraft, Kyle Ussery, Paige Moyle and Aaron Sanchez to the regional meet. If any perform well there, they will advance to state. The regional meet will be held in Corpus Christi from April 13-14.