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UIL Sponsor Excellence Award Winners

Media Contact: Chris Schmidt
Phone: 512-471-5883
Fax: 512-471-6589

Date: Jan 09, 2012
Category: General Information


AUSTIN, TX—The University Interscholastic League is proud to recognize 15 of the top UIL sponsors in Texas as the 2011 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners.
The winners were selected by a panel of judges in the areas of music, athletics and academics from nominations submitted by school principals and superintendents across the state.
The award, now in its 21st year, was created to identify and recognize outstanding sponsors who enable students to develop and refine their extracurricular talents to the highest degree possible within the educational system.
“The benefits of interscholastic competition and student performance are only possible through the hard work and dedication of sponsors, coaches and directors like these,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “On behalf of the UIL, I commend these outstanding educators.”
Each winner will receive $1,000 and a distinctive trophy from the UIL in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the pursuit of educational excellence through interscholastic competition. The University Interscholastic League continually strives to strengthen and promote the role of extracurricular activities in Texas through programs like the UIL Sponsor Excellence Award.
The UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winners for 2011 are as follows:

Jeannene Abney, Denton Ryan High School

Jeannene Abney has sponsored UIL one-act play, poetry and prose competitions for the past 30 years. Her students have advanced to the UIL State One-Act Play Contest four times and received many individual acting awards in addition to two state runner-up finishes. As a sponsor for UIL poetry and prose competitions, her students have been awarded six state championships including multiple district and regional victories.

“The UIL spirit of competition has given my students multiple opportunities to experience success and to gain confidence and pride in their work and training,” said Abney. “Teaching the value of healthy competition as a life skill provides our students with the opportunity to understand what lies in store for them beyond their school experiences.”


Vivian Bennett, Tulia High School

For the past 10 years, Vivian Bennett has sponsored the UIL one-act play competition at Tulia High School. Her students have gone on to have many different career paths, from actors and make-up artists to engineers and lawyers, but they all credit Bennett with preparing them for life after high school. 

“As an educator, my major goal is to give students the skills to succeed in the world,” said Bennett. “Classroom work is vital, but I also believe that competition has a part in their lifelong learning process. Competing prepares students for careers and often introduces them to talents they never knew they possessed.”


Mike Chapman, Waco University High School

Head boys and girls soccer coach Mike Chapman has strived to make an impact in the lives of students on and off the field during his 20 years of coaching. Through team-wide community service initiatives like mentoring and tutoring elementary school students and visiting with the elderly, he has taught his student-athletes what it means to give back to their community.

“Competition is the foundation of our basic educational mission,” said Chapman. “By being competitive on the field, in the classroom and in the community, we feel we are developing well-rounded individuals.”


Billy Dragoo, Austin High School

Billy Dragoo has directed UIL one-act play in each of his 22 years of teaching. In seven trips to the UIL State One-Act Play Contest, including a streak of five-consecutive appearances from 2007-11, his students have won two state championships, 29 best actor or actress awards and more than 100 all-star cast and honorable mention all-star cast awards.

“UIL one-act play is not a contest about winning, rather an opportunity to perform for an audience and a critic judge, and to return with experience and feedback that can help us hone our skills as theatre artists,” said Dragoo. “If we can exit the auditorium with the knowledge that we gave our best and with an understanding that we can always improve, then victory is ours.”


Brett Farr, Lubbock Coronado High School

The Lubbock Coronado High School choir has won ensemble sweepstakes awards in 22-consecutive years with Brett Farr as director. More than 400 of his students have received first division awards in UIL solo and ensemble contests and many of his students advance to the Texas State Solo-Ensemble Competition each year.

“The mission of competition is not to create winners and losers, but rather to inspire every individual to have high expectations for personal growth and achievement,” said Farr. “Through good competition that seeks to raise everyone’s level of understanding and achievement, we lay the groundwork for students to become musicians rather than just being in a music class.”


Eric Hindman, Seminole High School

In 19 years of sponsoring the Seminole High School choir, Eric Hindman and his students have earned 54 sweepstakes and 11 first division awards at the annual Concert and Sight-Reading Contest. In addition, Hindman had more than 60 students competing at the 2011 Texas State Solo-Ensemble Competition.

“Competition brings out the best in all of us,” said Hindman. “It provides us with a ‘discipline’ of sorts, improves our efficiency and self-discipline and moves us closer to perfection. The UIL has an incredible history of high standards for our music contests, and for that, I am truly thankful.”


John Martin, Stockdale High School

John Martin has served 10 years as UIL academic coordinator for his school in addition to sponsoring several academic events like computer science, number sense and computer applications. He has taken a student or team to the UIL Academic State Meet in 12 of the past 13 years, winning two state championships during that time span.

“My goal in UIL is not necessarily to win, but to prepare students to think logically and independently, to instill personal success and for them to continue using their abilities in the future,” said Martin. “I believe UIL competition has the means to accomplish all of these goals.”


Kelly Martin, Stamford High School

Stamford High School has made two appearances at the UIL State One-Act Play Contest in large part to Kelly Martin and her 13 years of directing experience. Since 2000, Martin has also sponsored UIL current issues and events and speech contests taking many of her students to the state meet.

“There is nothing as rewarding as starting from the ground level with a student and together creating something that moves the audience or informs or challenges them,” said Martin. “I am a better person because of my involvement in UIL – I believe with all of my heart that my students are as well.”


Miriam Patton, Vanderbilt Industrial High School

During her 28 years of sponsoring UIL computer applications and science contests, Miriam Patton has seen many of her students advance and earn medals at regional and state competitions. Also, she has coached individuals to regional competition in UIL social studies in seven of the eight years she has sponsored the event at Vanderbilt Industrial High School.

“UIL competition gives the students an opportunity to go beyond the classroom and stretch themselves beyond artificial limits they or others may have set for them,” said Patton. “And, on the occasion when they succeed at the highest levels, I am just grateful to have been along for the ride.”


Jerry Martinez, Houston Lamar High School

Jerry Martinez has been a coach and teacher for more than 50 years, but for the past 25 years he has served as the head track and field and cross country coach at Houston Lamar High School. He has coached numerous athletes to the state meets in Austin and has helped the football team advance to the playoffs in 24 of the 25 years he has assisted as the offensive line coach.

“I want my students to work their hardest with the ultimate goal of winning, but whether they win or not, they will become a better person through competition,” said Martinez. “My desire is for their hard work to lead them to be successful in life, achieving far more than the trophy or prize at hand.”


Cathy Self-Morgan, Duncanville High School

Cathy Self-Morgan has coached four UIL girls basketball state championship teams during her 33-year career. She has won multiple coach of the year honors including being named the National High School Girls Basketball Coach of the Year in 2000 by the National High School Coaches Association.

“I believe that a dynamic program of student activities is vital to the educational development of students,” said Self-Morgan. “Students learn teamwork and group responsibility through participation in athletics while also being challenged with how to deal with success and how to overcome adversity.”


Connie Stone, Granbury High School

Accounting teams from Granbury High School have won UIL state championships the past two years in large part to the efforts of Connie Stone and her 18 years of experience sponsoring accounting competitions. Stone has also sponsored UIL typing, headline writing and current issues and events throughout her career.

“UIL competition compliments a school’s educational mission by offering excellent opportunities for students to excel in various venues,” said Stone. “The UIL experience makes all aspects of education real and meaningful to students in their pursuit of excellence.”


Mikyela Tedder, Lindale High School

For the past 15 years, Mikyela Tedder has sponsored UIL journalism programs at Lindale High School. During that time, she has coached 11 individual journalism state champions and her students have earned 23 state medals overall. Since 2003, when UIL began presenting journalism team awards, her students have earned six state championships.

“Whether it’s a competition in my classroom to see which group can produce the most interesting feature story or a UIL practice meet where my students compete against other writers, I believe it’s important to teach students to do their best work at all times and be proud of what they do, regardless of any reward that comes with their efforts,” said Tedder. “Competition is about teaching students the knowledge they need to compete, giving them the confidence to believe in themselves and standing back and letting them do their best.”


Ronnie Touchstone, Vidor High School

During his 39 years of sponsoring UIL music contests, Ronnie Touchstone’s students have earned many state accolades including numerous first division awards. He said one of his primary goals is to instill in his students a desire to have a life-long love of music. Hundreds of his students have become professional musicians and directors, and many that don’t still participate in community musical activities.

“I believe that the spirit of UIL competition teaches students to drive themselves to be the best that they can be, both as individuals and as members of a team or group,” said Touchstone. “Success in global competition in the years ahead will require a student to be creative and innovative, and we must provide opportunities for all students to develop their creative talents though arts education.”


Irene Varga, Rocksprings High School

Since becoming the UIL academic coordinator at Rocksprings High School in 2005, Irene Varga has coached students to the UIL Academic State Meet every year. Nearly one-fourth of the student body at Rocksprings participates in UIL academic events because of the encouragement and teaching of Varga.

“It is my belief that rigorous academic competition serves to enhance and enrich the learning experience for learners of all ages,” said Varga. “Individual and team competition teaches students the value of hard work and preparation while fostering an intrinsic desire to acquire new information and skills.”

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