Learning outside the classroom: Students participate in academic competitions


Brenda Avila, Staff Writer

Diana Ramirez-Lopez, Devi Puckett, Asha Mani,  and Emily Weaver stand with their debate sponsor Ms. Devi Puckett. Photo by Maddy Schell (11).

Academic UIL is an event in which students compete in district, regional, and state competitions against others in different scholastic categories, such as news writing, science, and mathematics. This year, an estimated ten students from Ann Richards will be competing in twenty five different categories.

“You go in and compete over things that you know or skills that you already have; it’s a way of sharpening those skills, and it’s a way of forming strong friendship and bond with other teammates,”  Devi Puckett, coordinator and social studies/speech and debate coach, said, “Ideally, it’s a way of building a resume and getting scholarship money for college.”

Several teachers have volunteered to coach students in certain academic areas, such as Mrs. Shamaa Lakshmanan. Mrs. Lakshmanan will be coaching Calculator Applications, Mathematics, and Number Sense this year.

“I love math, I love teaching, I love teaching math. So any opportunity that presents itself that allows me to do that, I will volunteer for,” Mrs. Lakshmanan said.

Teams have faced conflicts though with other priorities conflicting with practices and competing.

“Everybody at this school does a lot of different things. Which is awesome, but sometimes that gives a team situations, a little bit of inconsistency, so right now I have three people [on the team],” Mrs. Lakshmanan said, “it’s a strong team of three, so we’ll go far.”

Asha Mani (12), who has competed in Academic UIL since ninth grade, will be competing again in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking.

“I think it will help me be able to improve my speaking skills, and how I’m able to interact with other people,” Mani said, “I think it also gives you the kind of teamwork that comes with sports without actually having to make the team.”

The team competed in districts on March 25th and those who placed will be competing in regionals on April 4th-6th.

“Next year, we hope we’ll start out earlier in the year and have more team members so we can go to more events prior to district,” Ms. Puckett said, “So, we’ll grow I hope.”