At Pin Oak, UIL (which stands for University Interscholastic League), is an extracurricular group made up of students that 1) love a variety of subject areas in school and 2) love to compete. While athletes practice and show their abilities and skills on a court or playing field, and can win individual and team awards, Pin Oak UIL Squad members show their academic skills by competing in 4 performance tournaments – held at HISD schools – and also can win individual and team awards. Most importantly, you will be ambassadors for our school, showing the community how talented and skilled Pin Oak students are.
What are the academic events like?
UIL Squad members can compete in Academic and Speech events. Academic events include Science, Social Studies, Art (Appreciation), Music Memory (name that classical song), Calculator Applications (following steps to solve a problem), Ready Writing, Editorial Writing (persuasive writing about a hot topic), Maps, Graphs, and Charts (atlas skills) and Dictionary Skills (use a tabbed dictionary to answer questions about words and their etymology).
Speech events require that you sometimes prepare a piece to perform in front of a judge. It doesn’t need to be memorized. Events include Modern Oratory English (choose from several topics and speak supporting an opinion), Oral Reading English (of a prepared piece of prose – no poetry this year), Impromptu Speaking English (spontaneously presenting a verbal point of view on a topic).
For more specific information about the Academic and Speech Events, follow us on the UIL blog.
What are the tournaments like?
The tournaments are day-long events, with five sections (9am, 1015, 1130, 1245, and 2pm). The squad will meet at Pin Oak at 8am, board a bus to the tournament, and set up our “camp” around 845 in the host school’s cafeteria (with the throngs of other UIL students). You will report to your assigned competition room number, and either independently complete a timed test related to that subject area, or perform your speech event. Other students from other schools will be there too, so be pleasant and respectful. Remember, you represent Pin Oak. You might not be competing in each section. That’s ok. Bring a deck of cards, book, or a tablet to distract you while you wait, or hang with the other students and make friends. At around 5pm, the Awards Ceremony begins. Be gracious about your performance and supportive of all competitors. After the Awards Ceremony, we pack up our gear, board the bus, and return to Pin Oak around 7pm. It’s a long day. We ask that all squad members remain with the squad at the host campus during the entire tournament, especially for the Awards ceremony. Part of the expectation of being a team member is making the commitment to stay with the squad, helping clean up, and supporting the team. You can get a ride to and from the tournament, but absence from any portion of the tournament without prior expressed written consent of a parent is not acceptable. Your team needs you!
Individual winners get to keep their trophies and ribbons. All Team Awards remain with Pin Oak, but will be presented to key contributing members when those member prepare to retire at the end of 8th grade.