Many eyes are turned upon the athletic portion of the University Interscholastic League state competition in Austin. Yet, at the academic meet, I did not encounter another news photographer. Hundreds of boys and girls engage in a rigorous battle of the minds, and it is not bereft of its dramatic moments.

Albany student Emily Raymond, right, shows her graded spelling & vocabulary test to her mother Roxanne, left, father Andre, center, brother Sam, right, and classmate Blake Perez, top, before the announcement of placements in the state UIL event. Emily won 1st place in the individual category, and both she and Blake were on the 2nd place team.
Last Nap Before Competing
Scott Bearden, left, and Wesley Wyatt, right, take a quick nap while Landon Nauert, front, rehearses his lines with other Stamford High School students before their performance of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest at the University Interscholastic League competition in Austin.


Larissa Davis, from Albany, summons a friend while waiting for the beginning of the spelling & vocabulary contest at state UIL in Austin.
Wylie High School teacher Karen Wood talks to students Kacey Williams, center, and Nikki Mathur, right, about their expectations for the spelling test at the UIL contest in Austin. The Wylie team won second place.


Members of the Wylie High School marching band get ready to perform in the first round of the UIL competition in Waco.


Samantha Baird, from Ballinger, applies makeup to Clay Kelley, right, in preparation for The Miser, a performance for the UIL academic state meet in Austin.


Jim Ned student Sawyer Ricard texts a friend while waiting for results to be announced in the state UIL academic meet in Austin.


Wylie High School teacher Renee Clark reviews Social Studies material with Josh Light, from, left, Kilian Regan, Lonny March and Austin Regan, who will be competing in the state UIL contest in Austin.


Haskell UIL state academic meet contestants play a game called “ninja” while waiting for their teammates after an award ceremony.


Jim Ned teacher Kay Whitton celebrates her students’ placements in the state UIL competition.


After placing the mathematics 2nd place state UIL medal on De Leon student Josh Kelly, right, UIL official Larry White, left, points out to the audience the writing on Kelly’s T-shirt, which says “I am bringing nerdy back.” Kelly and his brother both competed in this event.