For Mount Pleasant High School seniors Jose Liera and Rebecca Yox, the UIL State Academic Meet on May 3 and 4 would mark the end of their participation in UIL academic events. Both students have participated in UIL academics since middle school.
Liera qualified for the State meet in Calculator Applications after placing first at District and second at Regionals just a few weeks before. This would be his fourth trip to state in Math events. In 2016, he earned a team bronze medal in Mathematics. In 2017 he claimed an individual State Championship and earned a team silver medal in Mathematics. In 2018, he earned an individual silver medal in Mathematics. And in 2019, he earned his fifth state medal with a sixth place finish in 5A Calculator Applications.
“Jose competed at the State meet all four years of high school,” said MPHS UIL Math coach, Osias Hernandez. “He won state his sophomore year in Mathematics and was the Runner-up champion his junior year. In his senior year, Jose placed 6th in Calculator Applications at State and beat all of his regional competitors. I am proud of the hard work and dedication Jose has put in to accomplish these feats at State.”
Yox was named the Regional Champion in Editorial Writing to earn her place at the state meet. She would be making her first trip to State as the very first MPHS student to qualify in Journalism. At the end of the day, Yox earned a sixth place state medal in 5A Editorial Writing.
“I am extremely proud of all the achievement awards Rebecca has earned the past couple of years in journalism,” said MPHS Journalism teacher and UIL Coach, John Whitten. “To cap off her career by placing sixth in the state in Editorial Writing is a testament to the hard work she has put in this year to better herself. She made history by becoming the first MPHS student to place at state in journalism. Journalism contests are, by nature, a subjective event. You could place first one meet and not even place the next depending on a number of factors such as judges’ taste of writing, the writing prompts and the ability to put your thoughts onto paper. That Rebecca was able to place second at district, first in regionals and finally sixth in the state is indicative of how strong a writer she was this year. As her journalism coach and teacher, I have been honored to have Rebecca as part of the program. She has been a true leader and has set the bar high for returning and future members of the UIL Journalism team. Students now know where that bar is and what it takes to reach there.”
MPHS will send two more competitors to State in Poetry and Extemporaneous Speaking at the end of May.