Athens High School students are gearing up for the yearly University Interscholastic League, better known as UIL, competitions.
Maggie Mizell, the high school theater director, is taking over as UIL coordinator this year for the high school after the retirement of Myrna Bass.
Bass was the speech and debate teacher, as well as the UIL coordinator at the high school, and her position has been filled by first-year teacher, Nicole Yeakley.
Yeakley is preparing students for the upcoming UIL debate meets in Cross-examination and Lincoln Douglas Debate.
“I am very excited about taking over as coordinator for UIL this year, and I have high hopes for all our students competing this year,” Mizell said.
Jan. 31 is the Cross-examination district meet in Bullard, and any students that advance from there will go on to compete at the state level later in March.
The district academic meet will be held on March 26 in Rusk.
At the district meet, students will compete in Lincoln Douglas Debate, as well as speech, math, oral interpretation and many other academic events.
There are about 60 students competing in UIL for the high school this year.
Mizell is very optimistic about this years competitions. “We have a great group of kids, and they are working really hard to succeed,” Mizzell said.
Yeakley is working with her students on articulation drills and research to prepare for debate tournaments in which they participate on the weekends.
Two of the Seniors at the high school competing in Cross-examination are Stephen Grant and Jose Casteneda. They competed in a tournament in Van last weekend, and placed first.
Yeakley is very excited about this year’s debate competitions, and believes that this group of students will do exceptionally well.