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The Student News Site of Lindale High School

Eagle Eye News

The Student News Site of Lindale High School

Eagle Eye News

Students Compete at State in Essay Contests

Junior Carter Bowdin, junior Holden Evens, sophomore Diya Patel, and senior Aden Ramsey.

Students compete at state in the Barbara Jordan Historical Essay Contest and the Latino History Essay Contest. Three students advanced in the Barbara Jordan contest, and one student advanced in the Latino contest.

“I am very excited about the students who made it,” speech coach J. P. Fuglar said. “I feel like we have lots of essays that have the potential of making it.”

In the Barbara Jordan contest, students write an informative essay on an African American person who had influence over Texas or its history. The Latino contest is similar except the person is of Latino ethnicity.

“What I love about the contests is that it gets students to write academic research papers and those skills are going to come into play for them later in college most likely,” Fuglar said. “It familiarizes them with that and allows them to research someone who may be of particular interest to them.”

The essays are a part of UIL academics, and were turned in on February 14. Results for the essays were given throughout as judging went on, and final choices of the finalists, four of which were from Lindale, were released in early April.

“I am very excited to know we have four of those finalists, and It’s kind of a big deal because we had the second most qualifiers in the state,” Fuglar said.

These essays were judged at entry, and if passed on, once more before the final twelve of the state were chosen. The judging for essays is not separated by school size nor grade of individuals; they are all graded together.

“What the judges are probably looking for is to see that students have done true academic research, and that they have written an essay that really does make the argument that this person has had a significant contribution to Texas history,” Fuglar said. “All those things considered, they look at the full package of the essay to see if the writer did everything they possibly could to make this academic writing accessible to the reader.”

Lindale began participating in these contests in 2019, where Fuglar sponsored the contests and began assigning them in his classes. That year a Lindale student won 1st place, and every year since there has always been at least one state qualifier from Lindale.

“Seeing repeated success, and having state finalists every year so far shows that we must be doing something right,” Fuglar said.

Senior Aden Ramsey placed 2 at state in the Barbara Jordan essay contest. His essay, called Covering the Story: How Kathleen McElroy is Diversifying Texas Journalism, was about Kathleen McElroy, a journalist and professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Her articles prioritized telling the story of marginalized and underrepresented people across the country.

“I feel great about competing,” Ramsey said. “Having the opportunity to win state in a competition is something I’m really proud of being able to do.”

Sophomore Diya Patel placed 4 at state in the Barbara Jordan essay contest. Her essay called Gaining Grounds is about Matthew Gaines, the first African American senator who had to overcome the 1860 Texas politics to earn his seat. Gaines worked on education, prison reform, the protection of blacks at the polls, the election of blacks to public office, and tenant-farming reform during his four year term, two years shorter than normal due to his seat being challenged.

“I feel honored to be selected as a finalist in the Barbara Jordan contest,” Patel said. “I am very excited for the state award ceremony so I can see where I placed among the top twelve.”

Junior Holden Evans advanced to state in the Barbara Jordan essay contest. His essay called Jacob Fontaine: A Trailblazer For Christ and People of Color is about Jacob Fontaine. He played a role in the civil rights movement and began the first Baptist church for colored people in Austin, Texas.

“I am very excited to compete,” Evans said. “Hopefully I will be able to place.”

Junior Carter Bowdoin advanced to state in the Latino history essay contest. His essay called Henry Cisneros: The Man Who Brought Resurgence of Prosperity to San Antonio, was about Former Mayor of San Antonio Henry Cisneros, who later became Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the area. He had an impact on the economic development, infrastructure improvements, affordable housing, and bringing in Latino’s and African Americans to the inner parts of San Antonio.

“I feel phenomenal, to be honest,” Bowdoin said. “I believe it’ll also be a great learning experience for me to see if I strike an interest in the literature side of education.”

Students attended the state award ceremony Tuesday. There students read a portion of their essay to the assembled crowd before awards were announced.

“To see students rewarded for the amount of work they put into the essays is very exciting,” Fuglar said. “I am looking forward to next year.”

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About the Contributor
Madison Barnes
Madison Barnes, Staff Writer
Madison is a sophomore and a staff member of the Eagle Eye Newspaper. She enjoys reading and writing as her main hobbies, as well as listening to music. She also participates in speech and debate, where her main events are Lincoln-Douglas debate, poetry, and extemp. She also participates in theater as a stage hand. She hopes to attend TJC for two years then switch to SMU to study Law.

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