Fine Arts and Academic Students’ Anticipation For The UIL Competition Season Grows


Jessica Seaton’s 2022 UIL Tech Theater Design Submission

Fine arts and academic students are preparing for the UIL competition season, which rolls in during March.

UIL, the University Interscholastic League, is a program of academic competitions where students compete with other students in the state. UIL is divided into different levels beginning at divisionals and advancing to regionals, and finally, state.

In the fall, marching band UIL is one of the biggest non-athletics groups, Only one band per five entered will advance to state.

The marching band performed in the UIL 6A Area C marching contest last Oct. They were placed 20 out of 31 bands.

In the spring, several band UIL competitions occur, along with choir and orchestra.

Christopher Chun, senior, is slowly taking the necessary steps to guarantee that he and his group are ready to compete in the percussion competition. 

“We are many weeks away, so it doesn’t really bother us right now, but as the performance approaches, the nerves tend to build up exponentially,” Chun said.

Although the competition stakes are at an all-time high, Chun believes that the most important thing is to “trust in your skills” and to prioritize the need to “have fun while performing.”

Symphonic band typically prepares three to four pieces to perform. Each section in band, during their class period and outside of school, practices to ensure that they can perfect their skill in time for the competition.

“Most other sections, apart from us percussionists, also have weekly sectionals to clean small details that can’t usually be caught in a full group. Plano West’s fine arts programs are some of the best, and there is definitely some expectation to carry that forward, especially for the top group,” Chun said.

The theater department compete in two contests tfor UIL. These contests include the one-act play and the theatrical design contest. 

At the 2022 UIL, the theater advanced to regional competition for the one-act play “Unexpected Tenderness.” The 2023 selection is “All My Sons.”

Jessica Seaton, senior, was awarded the title of outstanding theater design technician at the one-act competition. Seaton has a lot of pressure going into this year’s competition as she hopes to retain her title.

Seaton plans to compete in the theatrical design contest this year. She is extremely nervous because she’s doing something different. The prompt for the contest is based on the play, “Frankenstein.”

“We just finished our final [checkpoint] before Ms. McQuiston decides who she’s sending to state,” Seaton said. “With the next of our two mainstage shows and trying hard to finish these designs, it’s been kinda hard but it came together in the end.” 

UIL gives students the opportunity to showcase their talent and hopefully acquire new skills through their constant preparation.

“I feel that UIL design is such an important thing to be a part of because it allows you to dissect scripts and come up with designs all by yourself. I think that’s such a cool experience to have in senior high,” Seaton said.

In addition to the fine arts contest, UIL academics also covers speech and debate, and a variety of other subject areas.

The academic contests include the following events: accounting, computer applications, essay writing, literary criticism, ready writing, spelling, vocabulary, current issues and events, social studies, calculator applications, computer science, mathematics, number sense, robotics, science, and journalism. Each academic contest allows three students and one alternate to represent their school. 

Journalism holds five events at UIL which include news writing, feature writing, editorial writing, headline writing, and copy editing. 

Hadia Khatri, editor-in-chief of the Blueprints newspaper, hopes to take part in the copy editing, news-writing and feature story events. Her first competition was last year, and she hopes to improve her performance this year.

“Last year was our first time participating in journalism UIL. We ended up placing in three events, even though we didn’t think we’d place at all. That was very empowering for our next year, where we hope to place again,” Khatri said.