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Home News-Telegram News Academic Excellence: Yantis students bring home three medals from state UIL meet

Academic Excellence: Yantis students bring home three medals from state UIL meet

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Yantis High School’s Samantha Dodgen and Cristo Sanchez came home from the state academic UIL contest with three medals in three events.


Dodgen is one of the most successful academic UIL competitors in school history. The senior won her 36th and 37th medals in academic UIL competition last week. She has competed in five events every year and qualified for regionals in all five each year.

“Sam Dodgen has been an outstanding academic competitor throughout her high school years.  She has medaled at State in each of the past three years and led the Yantis Academic UIL team to three consecutive district championships,” said Chip Mathews, YHS senior UIL coordinator.

In fact, she has captured five state medals over the past three years.

Dodgen, who also earlier this month earned accolades as YHS salutatorian, captured the state title in computer applications in 2011. Also during her sophomore year, she competed in One-Act Play, earning Best Actress accolades at the zone contest for her performance in “Suppressed Desires,” which advanced to the area contest that year.

Last year, as a junior, she was part of the second place spelling/vocabulary team and placed fourth in computer applications at state.

This year, she earned first place honors in spelling and vocabulary, editorial writing, headline writing and computer applications; and placed third in calculator applications at the district contest which qualified her for region. Then, she qualified for state by capturing second in both spelling/vocabulary and computer applications at the regional UIL contest. Last week, she won fifth in computer applications and sixth in spelling/vocabulary at state.

Dodgen’s years of UIL competition and working with the UIL coaches have proved very fruitful for Dodgen. They helped her discover what career she plans to pursue. Dodgen, daughter of Robert and Karen Dodgen, plans to attend Baylor University, where she will study computer science. She was awarded the largest scholarship the institution gives — a $56,000 Presidential Gold Scholarship, which is disbursed over a four year period.

Freshman Cristo Sanchez, son of Antonio Sanchez and Amelia Sanchez, qualified for the state meet this year by first earning second place honors at district, then third at the regional contest in ready writing. He came home this past weekend from the state UIL contest with a sixth place medal in ready writing.

Mathews noted that’s quite an accomplishment for a freshmen to qualify for much less win an individual medal at the state meet. Typically, freshmen medal at state do so as members of a team which includes other more experienced competitors.

Of course, this isn’t Sanchez’s first brush with UIL or academic success. At the junior high level, he placed in academic UIL in dictionary skills, spelling, ready writing, social studies and editorial writing competitions. He also competed in the robotics competition, making it to the practice run at the Region 7 meet.

Last year, Sanchez also was recognized as the Yantis eighth grade salutatorian. At that time, he indicated he found robotics competition interesting to the point he might consider the field as another possible career option; he was considering turning his interest in astronomy into a major and eventually a career in astrophysics.




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