On a cold Saturday morning in January 2019, before the start of the spring semester, a cadre of school buses arrived at the TCC Northwest and unloaded 499 students. Most came from the surrounding area, but some came from as far away as San Angelo, Texas. The students came to TCC Northwest to participate in the annual UIL competition that the campus has hosted since 2012.
This year, the campus hosted 23 events throughout the eight hours of the tournament. The events are competitions that take the form of tests, speeches or debates. The subjects represented are varied and include English, social studies, math, biology, physics, chemistry, computer science and speech.
At the heart of the event were six dedicated and hard working faculty members who took on the work of planning and executing the event to make sure it went off without a hitch.
John James and Alan Cazares from the Math department booked the rooms. This was no small task, as there were almost 80 reservations that needed to be made for the day. Anita Biber from the Academic Foundations Department kept up with all of the awards requirements, which change every year, and made sure the proper medals were ordered for each competition.
Jo’el Madore from the English Department ordered the food for the event, and this year, she also took over streamlining the volunteer schedule to make it easier for volunteers to sign up for the day. June Relyea makes sure the Information Technology Lab was ready and available for the competition, and Lauren McClain from the Government Department helped in recruiting volunteers from TCC faculty and staff. Coordinating all of this work was Steve Smiley from the Information Technology Department, who has spearheaded this event since it began in 2012. He makes it a family affair by enlisting help from his wife and daughter, who also volunteer at the event.
“I like working with these kids who have dedicated themselves to excellence in one or more of these academic disciplines,” Smiley said. “A lot of these students don’t even know TCC is here. This gives them a shot to come onto campus and interact with faculty who teach in the discipline in which they are competing. The feedback we’ve gotten from students has been great. They love getting to meet college professors. And the professors enjoy working with the students!”