Students Compete at UIL Congress State


Photo by R. McKenzie

Juniors Zach Jones and Josh Smith poses for pictures after competing. Both students progressed to finals of UIL Congress State.

Brock Hines, Staff Writer

Juniors Joshua Smith and Zachary Jones competed at UIL state for Congress on January 14 and 15. The competition was held in the State Capitol building in Austin.

Congressional debate and specifically the state meet help me hone my ability to not only prepare to debate and have conversations about real-world issues,” Smith said. “[Congress] gives me the communication skills that are incredibly useful in settings that are a little more conventional than the other events would prepare me for. ” 

The debate models the real-life process that Congress goes through to pass legislation. The first speech involves an authorship speech over a piece of possible legislation, followed by an affirmative speech and a negative speech.

Getting to the state level competition was definitely the hardest part for me personally, because we participate in a quite good region,” Smith said. “After a pretty competitive region contest, I placed third and ended up qualifying.

Smith has been involved in debate since his freshman year, where he primarily focuses on policy debate. This will be his first year competing at the state level of congress, where he placed 8th.

“Competing at Congress state was very eye-opening to the scope of competition there was across the state,” Jones said. “I learned so much and it only inspires me to get even better and do better next year.”

Jones has been competing in debate since freshman year where he primarily focuses on policy debate. This is his second year competing in congress state, and this year he placed 12th.

Competition at the state level can be best described as intense. Given the nature of the event, there is a really intense social aspect to this event since it really is similar to a real-world congress chamber,” Smith said. “That involves an intense amount of side conversations and lobbying to get the desired outcome so that competition goes the way that you want within the round.”