pleasant grove high school newspaper, texarkana, tx

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Rough Time at Regionals

Junior Ashton Raney wearing the complementary T-shirt given to regionals contestants

Junior Ashton Raney wearing the complementary T-shirt given to regionals contestants

Jill Bultemeier, Reporter

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Even though Pleasant Grove excelled in the majority of events at district, they didn’t quite reach the same level of accomplishment at Commerce University for UIL regionals last Saturday.

“I think we did as good as can be expected, compared to how easy our district was. Regionals was probably ten times as difficult,” World History teacher and debate coach Leslie Abston said.

Many of the other schools competing have a scheduled class period for UIL, so Pleasant Grove doesn’t always get that same amount of practice in.

“Some of the people new to the region have come from a school that has a class for UIL and that’s all they do all year long, and so I think we genuinely, like, studied all of the courses and did UIL,” English teacher Valarie Shirley said.

Even though PG doesn’t have a designated period, now that students know what they’re doing, improvements should come much quicker.

“We can say to ourselves, ‘Okay, now we know what we’re up against.’ We formed teams, so now we don’t have to recruit, talk people into things, teach the coaches what will be on the tests,” Mrs. Shirley said, “And now we don’t have this huge learning curve that we had. Now we can hit the ground running from the get-go [next year].”

Now that teams understand how UIL works, coaches and students can focus completely on practicing their event.

“I think a lot of teams had study materials, and had access to study materials. They were just kind of new to the game and new to the system,” Ms. Abston said, “And now that coaches and students competing know how it works and what they’re up against and what level to which they need to be able to compete, now they can put in the effort.”

Both coaches are expecting the efforts to produce rewards, through hard work and as many practice tournaments as possible.

“I think we’ll see people going on to the next level, going on to state, especially in contests where the knowledge is just added to it,” Mrs. Shirley said.

Junior debater Ashton Raney is optimistic for next year as well.

“I expect to do even better, and hopefully advance to state, and I’m thinking we can all do better next year, since we have more experience,” Ashton said.

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pleasant grove high school newspaper, texarkana, tx
Rough Time at Regionals