The UIL academic season will officially kick off with the first NEISD invitational meet at Madison on December 3.
“So it’s an array of different events that students compete in with other schools across the state of Texas,” UIL coordinator Ruthie Acosta said.
Johnson will be hosting an invitational meet on January 14. There are around 20 different events for UIL academics that Johnson offers, and students can either directly contact the coach or Acosta.
“Well, I would love for them to either contact me by email, or preferably, come to my room A210. And I can let them know which teacher has which event and send them to go meet them,” Acosta said.
Students can be on multiple UIL teams, but they should make sure that their events during meets aren’t at conflicting times. Nonetheless, being on an UIL academic team is advantageous.
“It looks great for colleges. So we definitely would love for kids to sign up,” Acosta said.
Two UIL academic teams that students can join are current events and social studies, which are both coached by social studies teacher Justin Felux.
“Well, for first of all I did it when I was in high school, so I already had an interest in it because I competed in UIL computer science when I was a high school student,” Felux said.
Many of the students on his teams were scouted by him, but like the other UIL academic teams they are open to anyone.
“I wanted to make sure we have a successful academic UIL program here at Johnson,” Felux said.
According to Felux, this is his second year coaching UIL Social Studies, but he has been coaching UIL Current Events for much longer.
“It depends on the competition because all of them are slightly different, but typically with social studies we just study the content we’re given as part of the contest guide,” Felux said. “So the students have to read books, they have to read articles, they have to read historical documents, and become experts on those topics.”
Last year his social studies team made it to regionals and won second place; previously his current events team got first place at a state competition.
“So in social studies our topic is the 1920s, so we’re learning about things like Prohibition, the Jazz Age, you know, the various political and social controversies of the 1920s,” Felux said. “In current events it’s really a catch all, so we’re learning about everything that’s in the news. All the big political topics.”
Felux has stated that he is very confident in his current UIL teams and believes that one of his teams could win state.
“For the students, I think it’s a really good opportunity to do several things,” Felux said. “Number one they get to compete and win awards and win accolades, which always feels good. And then secondly, participating in an academic extracurricular activity is something that looks very good on a college application.”