UIL students compete at regionals


Junior Jalea Brown has a quick celebration after finding out she made it to finals in LD Debate before she headed into Informative competition.

April Martinez, Reporter

Buffalo students traveled to Baytown for their UIL competition last Saturday. Typically the group would have travelled to Brenham to compete at Blinn for both OAP and academics, but the pandemic has caused multiple college campuses that usually host regional meets to keep their campuses closed. This meant that OAP was held the day before in Houston and everything else was at Barber’s Hill High School. While the schedule made for travel challenges, it did mean that the group had an afternoon to relax at a local park and at the hotel pool before competing the next day.

With a day full of contests, students were in for an early start. LD debate competitors Jalea Brown and Anthony Gonzalez had to be at roll call at 7:10, with junior Jazlynn Early and freshman Nicolette Arabie starting Ready Writing at 8:00. The Current Events team of sophomores Lane Freeman and Linsey Hardin and senior Asa Henson also competed at 8:00. Early placed sixth and Brown fifth in their events.

“I haven’t competed in Ready Writing since junior high, so I honestly forgot how to do it,” Early said. “I didn’t expect to place.”

Other speech events included junior Omar Almeida in both Prose and Persuasive, junior Ashley White in Poetry, along with Brown and freshman Emma Cocking in Informative. Those events had preliminary and final rounds and raked in a few more medals for the team; Almeida placed fifth in Prose and fourth in Persuasive, while White placed second in Poetry, advancing to state.

“This event was more competitive than previous years,” Almeida said. “There are some really tough competitors in our region, and even making it to finals was a challenge.”

The Journalism team, which included juniors Sherlynn Rodriguez and April Martinez and senior Kaline Martinez, competed in multiple events all day long. Rodriguez and April competed in Feature Writing and Copy Editing while Kaline participated in Copy Editing, News Writing, and Editorial Writing. April placed sixth in Feature and Kaline placed sixth in News.

“Competing was very nerve-racking,” Kaline said. “It was my first time competing in person at regionals, and it got kind of overwhelming.”

It was a long day of competition, with about half of the group traveling home on the bus at mid-day and the remainder leaving only after everything was done. A stop at Texas Roadhouse on the way home finished off the end of the flex week and gave everyone just one day to recover before heading back to school.

“I’m so proud of how everyone did,” coordinator Melonie Menefee said. “The OAP kids gave an amazing performance, even if we didn’t advance, and we brought home several hard-earned trophies. It has been a tough year, but the hard work we put in has paid off.”