SSHS leads in race for district UIL sweepstakes

From Staff Reports

March 26, 2008 - Sulphur Springs High School students competing in academic and business-related contests are moving up in the world in their respective disciplines.

The Sulphur Springs Wildcat University Interscholastic League Academic Team is leading other schools in the district UIL competition, while three of the high school's Business Professionals of America students have qualified for the national contest.

Following three contests in Paris, the SSHS UIL competitors had earned six individual awards. As of Monday, the school was in first place for the sweepstakes title, which won't be awarded until all district contests are complete.

SSISD Superintendent Patsy Bolton praised UIL Coordinator Gina Wilder and other SSHS staff when she spoke with them after hearing the news.

"The UIL results look great so far," Bolton said Tuesday. "I know you all are working diligently, and I just want to tell you how much I appreciate what you are doing. SSISD is blessed to have wonderful teachers who care and are willing to dedicate so much time and effort to motivate students in the UIL competitions. Keep up the good work."

While Lincoln-Douglas debate wasn't SSHS's strong suit -- they were shut out by Lindale and North Lamar, who took all four slots in the contest -- SSHS is still ahead of the other schools' paces in the district UIL tallies.

Lindale trails a pretty close second with four students placing in the three contests, according to Wilder.

SSHS wowed 'em at the Paris meet in the computer science category, shoring up the top four slots the contest, leaving only two slots for other schools. The top three finishers in each contest advance to the regional competition.

Among the computer science standouts was Sam Pierce, who took top individual honors, while Leah Davis earned second, Connor McCorkle third and Jon Henton fourth place individually. Texas High and Mount Pleasant closed out the computer science category with fifth and sixth places, respectively.

Sulphur Springs also had two students recognized for their individual accomplishments in ready writing. Zack Mahand earned second place honors while James Wheeler Jr. placed fifth place in the contest.

Texas High students took first and third, with Paris fourth and Lindale sixth.

Just prior to spring break, SSHS also had 18 students qualify to participate in the state Business Professionals of American Contest with 3,000 other conference delegates from across Texas. Of those, three SSHS students scored high enough to advance to the National BPA Leadership Conference and Contest May 7-11 in Reno, Nev., while four others were named as alternates for nationals.

Ryan Clark advanced to the BPA nationals with a second place finish in computerized accounting at the state contest, while Alyssa Post advances with third in digital media production and Chelsey Tiegiser with fifth in integrated office application.

Whitney Hu was elected the BPA president and will represent Texas as head voting delegate. Brandon Harry will represent Area I, Region 3 as president and will attend the Leadership Academy.

Hu, Harry and Sam Reed were selected as the national presentation management team alternate, while Phebe Rutledge was named alternate administrative research individual and Cole Cable alternate presentation management individual, according to BPA sponsor Brenda McKinzie.

Other SSHS BPA chapter members participating in the Business Professionals of America 2008 State Leadership Conference in Dallas March 5-8 were Justin Brown, Sarah Fox, Dakota Graham, Jimmy Helfferich, Colleen Lucky, Michelle Malone, Colton Newkirk, Melissa Ream, Sam Pierce and Dillon Smith.

"The conference emphasizes business workforce education and training, which members of the local chapter of Business Professionals of America at Sulphur Springs High School have received," said McKinzie, who teaches in the Career and Technology Business department.

Business Professionals of America is a national organization for students preparing for careers in business and office occupations. The organization's activities complement classroom instruction by giving students practical experience through application of the skills learned at school, McKinzie noted.

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