Wylie students were successful in various competitions this spring, with numerous students advancing to state in Academic, Debate and Art competitions.
The Academic Team won its district championship, won the regional championship and sent 12 students to state competition.
Ayden Gertiser finished 2nd in the state in Math, 4th in Number Sense and 5th in Calculator.
Here’s a look at all the students who qualified for state in Academics, Debate and Art this spring.
Tennley had two different pieces of art qualify for the state VASE competition. One was a photo realism piece in water color called “Tell Me About It Stud,” and the other was a line-art drawing in Sharpie called “Real Eyes, Real Lies.” She said she was very excited to make state with both. “I was floored,” she said. “I screamed at the top of my lungs. It was a totally surreal moment.”
Chloe went to state with a mosaic called “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” that was inspired by her grandfather. “I used acrylic paint and water color,” she said. “I used old CDS that I had around the house. I cut them into the shapes and made a mosaic. My grandfather loved mosaics. He just motivated me. He was the one that always told me you should try to do this or that different mediums.”
Ayden qualified for state in three events, winning individual regional championships in two and taking 2nd in the other. He placed in all three at state and led the Number Sense and Calculator teams to state as well. “This is the best Number Sense team that Wylie has probably ever had,” he said. “We were confident. We knew we could do it. We were excited.”
Sanay was very successful at math competitions in Junior High, finishing in the top three at state in every event as a 7th-grader. He hasn’t missed a beat in high school, qualifying for state in two events as only a freshman. “I’m just glad to have made it as a freshman,” he said. “I had no idea what to expect. I knew I had a chance.”
Nitin enjoys all the math competitions but wasn’t surprised that it was Number Sense that got him a trip to state. “It’s my favorite because I’ve been doing it the longest,” he said. “I’ve always been better at it. It’s quick. I think we have a pretty strong team. I knew we had a good chance of making it to state.”
Timothy said he loves Number Sense more than the other events because it is timed which makes it more intense. “I love the pressure that it puts on you and that you have to do all this math in your head. Time is definitely a factor. I usually thrive in that. It’s almost like a thrill. We had a team that worked very hard for it.”
Tommy said the math team has been working hard in class and attending virtual meets to prepare for competition. “I was reasonably confident we would make it to state,” he said. “I like the competitive aspect as well as the camaraderie,” he said. “We have a really close knit group. It’s fun to work with each other every single day.”
Vincent said he likes math competitions because the answers are black and white. “There’s no gray area,” he said. “You are right or you are wrong.” He said the calculator team knew it would have some tough competition to make state. “We had two big teams that we had to beat,” he said. “We beat one in district and one at regionals. So that was neat to see.”
Connor said his two events each require you take a test and write an essay, but of the two, he likes Social Studies best. “You can be more specific and intentional at studying for it,” he said. “For Current Events, I just get on my phone and read the news.” He said he was very happy to make state in both. “I had studied a good amount and knew I had a chance,” he said. “But I was surprised.”
Nathan said he competed in Computer Science at the urging of his teacher Deana Evenden. “She said I should do it, and I did,” he said. “I am really lucky.” Evenden said she encouraged Nathan because of his natural ability. “He really has a knack for Computer Science,” she said. “He would write some code and would just surprise me that he knew how to do it. Or he would answer questions that we really hadn’t covered yet.”
Melia said she decided to try Poetry Interpretation this year and is glad she did. “It seemed cool,” she said. “I decided I really like it. So I kept on doing it. I really enjoy doing my pieces and competing. It’s fun to get up there and present something that you are passionate about.” She said she was surprised to make state. I was really, really grateful. It’s a little surreal. I was so excited, and I’m really grateful.”
Wesley said Prose Interpretation is a perfect outlet for his creativity.“I love taking a blank slate with no personality to it and finding the places and the areas and the moments that you as an actor can bring to life,” he said. He did not particularly like competing virtually. “When you are in a room with your peers and your judges there is a bit of energy,” he said. “It adds excitement to it. When it’s virtual, you lose out on that.”
Mason said Poetry Interpretation is very similar to acting. “I like it because it is a great chance to take on roles that are super hard to act out and really take you to the limit,” he said, adding that he wasn’t really surprised to qualify for state because of the work that went into practicing. “Mr. Shoemake does a great job of getting us prepared. I am super excited. I felt like we were super prepared.”
Caleb Speights, Senior, Informative Speaking, One-Act Play, Congressional Debate
Caleb has participated in theater and debate for years now, but he added informative speaking to his slate for the first time this year. “A lot of it was my coach trying to get me to expand my areas of participation,” he said. “But I think I prefer theater. I find it more fulfilling.”Debate and informative speaking, however, do provide life-long skills.“The skills from informative speaking are really helpful to learn,” he said. “I will have that public speaking capability.”
Brendan went to state in Congress as a freshman and earned a return trip to state this year, only the winter storm hit the week of competition, and he had to compete virtually. He lost Internet, so he was unable to finish the competition. He said his favorite part of competition is the people.“I like meeting different types of people and seeing different viewpoints,” he said. “I get to meet a lot of well-educated people with different philosophical viewpoints. It’s fascinating.”
Mia was the alternate to state, so she didn’t think she would get to compete. “I was told two days before that I would be competing,” she said. “I hadn’t done anything to prepare for it. We had to write like 10 different speeches to compete. I had to do them all day on Saturday. I did not sleep. I was so excited when I actually got into the round. I ended up placing 8th. Only the top six go to the finals. I just barely missed out.”
Joshua is partners with Kade and together they argue against others teams on a topic that stays the same the entire year. “I like that it is set around actual evidence,” he said. “You have to argue around structured arguments. It’s like a court room but statistical, and you have to present actual evidence. You make a case, and you have to have counters. It definitely makes you a better speaker.”
Kade Killion, Junior, Cross-Examination Debate
Kade, who is partners with Joshua, said Cross-Examination teaches you to think on your feet. “You have to have an outline before you go in the room, but that outline will likely get thrown in the dumpster. We didn’t have a round that went perfectly. We had to improvise.” He said it also teaches you to work with others. “Having Josh to rely on helps a lot. I don’t think either of us would have stuck with debate it we didn’t have a team environment.”
By Candy Reagan